Thursday, November 19, 2015

Where Is the Third Monkey?

You know these three monkeys?
Two of them currently live at my house.

Yesterday was a day of doctors, diagnoses, and surgery.

Brad had a minimally invasive retina surgery that provided him with an awesome eye patch.

I call him the cyborg pirate. His recovery will be quick--didn't even need the patch today.

The second doctor's visit of the day was not quite as positive, and we have been told recovery will not be quick.

Lily has been experiencing some weird raspiness in her voice and unexplained loss of part of her vocal range. I've tried to get her into an ENT, but between all of her rehearsals/performances and the crazy that is normal life around here, it took me a while. Yesterday was the day. When the doctor entered, I explained to him that her vocal coach had noticed some unusual sounds in Lily's voice and that she suspected vocal nodules. He numbed Lily's nose with a few drops and dropped a scope to investigate.

Even my untrained eye could see what she was dreading. She has nodules.
Made infamous in the movie Pitch Perfect, vocal nodules (or nodes as the Bellas call them) are real and not as comic as the movie portrays. Nodules are basically callouses that develop on the vocal chords from improper singing/speaking and overuse.

We are still in the early diagnosis/treatment phase, but as of that moment yesterday morning, Lily is on complete vocal rest. She doesn't speak--at all. She carries a white board and her phone to communicate through text, and she's becoming better at the constant game of charades that will be her life for the foreseeable future. I spoke with a speech therapist last night, and after she sympathized with Lily's situation, she said, "This is fixable if she works hard, and she will be back singing and doing everything she wants." Depending on how long the nodules have been there (could be as long as six months, we don't know), they will eventually soften and shrink. Lily will need weeks of vocal speech therapy to teach her how to avoid developing them in the future. Six weeks or six months--we don't know right now. One thing I know about my Lily--when she sets her mind to something, she does it. I have no doubt that she will commit to her therapy and work hard to get her voice back.

There were a few tears shed yesterday. She can't audition for the spring musical at her school (her sassy personality would have been great in Little Women). When I was with her, I noticed a strange phenomenon--when people find out she can't speak, they kind of leave her out of the conversation, thinking for some inexplicable reason that she can no longer hear or participate in what's going on around her. That is isolating, and I think it will wear on her quickly. I hope that gets easier.

Plus, my spunky girl is . . . only word to use is noisy. She loves to talk. She loves to sing. She loves to yell and be loud. It's endemic to her personality. I know these few weeks will be extremely hard for her. I hope she learns great lessons while she's in this circumstance, but I hope she heals quickly. I already miss the funny talks we have in the car or around the dinner table or on the couch watching Survivor. As we walked into Target yesterday to buy her a white board and markers for school, she sent me a quick text: "At least it's not cancer." We both know there are much worse things happening in this world, and it's good to keep it all in perspective, even though it really does suck right now.

It was comical watching these two try to communicate yesterday afternoon. Lily was waving her arms and mouthing words and sending Brad text messages. Brad, still recovering from the twilight anesthesia, had to half blindly search for his reading glass to place over his cyborg pirate eye so he could even read what she was writing. I had to laugh, and so did they. They chose to drown their misery with cheese and crackers as they caught up with recorded Survivor episodes. Quite a pair, aren't they?
This morning Brad's eye was much better, and after his followup appointment today, he should be fine. Lily has an appointment with a speech therapist tomorrow morning, and we are hoping for some more answers and direction after that appointment.

And Eve's biggest concern lately? The cold. It's been AZ winter temperatures around here, and she dug this old coat of Lily's out of the closet and wears it whenever she can.
She fell asleep in the car, snug in her winter coat--which she sported over her dance leotard, no pants, and no shoes or socks. If it's one thing AZ kids don't understand, it's how to dress when it's cold. And our cold is . . . about 60*.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man! Poor Lily!! That is tough. Hopefully resting and relearning will solve the problem. Until then is another option...wink.