It is the night before...the night before Kenny and I leave for Chicago for yet another hard week ahead with another surgery to face. How I hate this! Over and over again, our kids have to deal with so much, and though I know it has formed each of them into the beautiful, strong human beings they are, no mom wants to see their children suffer.
Right now, though there is no pain, Angela is yet again dealing with dental issues as a prior root canal is infected and she needs to have it treated for a month with antibiotics then have the root canal redone. This poor kid has had 3 root canals and crowns, along with I've-stopped-counting cavities. Poor dental hygiene and malnutrition to a real number on children's teeth. She never complains, and I don't know too many kids who graciously thank their parents for root canals and crowns while also apologizing for the cost.
Kenny's surgery this week is a doozy, with a surgical palate expansion that will basically detach and split his upper jaw, and then just for fun they are throwing in the extraction of nine teeth, five of which are wisdom teeth, and four toward the front. The swelling and bruising are expected to be considerable, and yet he is SO happy he doesn't have to face having the extractions at the dental office. His early years still cause a great amount of anxiety around dental work, and this would be enough to cause anxiety in anyone! The expansion will be step one toward getting his top and bottom jaws to align, it will also lead to a temporary large gap between his two front teeth until braces close that gap again. Right now he has a very large, newly installed metal palate expander in the roof of his mouth, making his speech pretty difficult to understand.
Where the red lines are is where Kenny's jaw will be cut.
I am usually pretty steady during emergencies or experiences such as this, but for some reason, this time I am less so and I am not sure why. He will be fine, and he will be getting the best care possible. Sometimes I just wish we were on the other side of this, and we still have one more major jaw surgery after this one. Kenny has had such a challenging life, and has a better attitude than anyone I have ever met. Constantly he astounds me with how accepting he is of hard truths, of how grateful he is for the life he has, and how diligent he is under really terrible circumstances. He has spent the past 4 days or so working on school work every single hour until late at night, trying to get work done before he goes so he doesn't have to face as much when he returns. School is harder for him than for many kids, it takes a lot more effort, he makes a lot more mistakes, and he has to redo work often...and he does so without complaint. Honestly, I could never continue to have the attitude he has if I walked in his shoes.
The rest of the family will manage without us, each of the kids is taking a day to make dinner, and tons of school work has been assigned. They'll be fine, but I will really miss them all. Thankfully, my best friend Candi is flying out to be with us, as Kenny will need constant care and with his FASD and being on drugs I don't dare leave him alone!! I am incredibly grateful to have that kind of support, as being so far from home often makes these surgeries even harder on mom. Funny how it doesn't matter whether they are 8 or 18, they are still our babies, just in larger packages.
So, Thursday morning at 6:00 AM we take yet another step toward helping Kenny move toward wholeness. Every day for each one of our kids, we continue to strive to heal old wounds, both physical and emotional. Some steps are easier to take, others are painful and very, very hard. May this step be a little less difficult than we anticipate, and may Kenny heal quickly.