We are SO thankful for the doctor who checked out Joanna’s tumor. He did the initial biopsy, the tumor removal, and the surgery to handle the complications after the removal, and is sticking with her to follow-up on how it’s all healing.
Yesterday we were concerned about one of the small titanium clips inside her cheek that was poking through and felt like it was scratching her tooth. One of these fell out about a month ago, but she’d been feeling this one since the day or 2 before, so we were glad able to get an appointment with him to check it out.
After scheduling the appointment, it ended up falling out before our time to see him. (it felt a bit like the car that starts working perfectly once your’e on the way to the mechanic) But, we went ahead and kept the appointment so it could be checked.
While there they discovered that her ear drum had burst!
I wasn’t totally surprised to hear that -a week ago we went swimming and she was complaining about some water in an ear and it being a bit hard to hear as we walked to the car. Then, a little while after we were home she started scream/crying due to pain. It didn’t last super long, but it was really intense.
When she was much younger she several similar experiences. It seemed to always be intense ear pain late at night. Each time we followed up with her primary care doctor and discovered that she had an ear infection and the ear drum had burst. We’ve heard through the years that red heads experience pain differently and it seems that this may be true for her in this area. Our only indication of ear infection was when the consequences of the infection got bad enough that the ear drum burst.
So, last week since some things are so different with her chemo-induced compromised immune system, we called the after-hours number for the cancer clinic and talked to the on-call pediatric hem-onc doctor. They said that it’s not uncommon for kids to experience pain from pressure changes when swimming. Since there wasn’t any obvious fluid in her ear, or fever, and the pain had subsided we should just keep an eye on things and call or come in if things changed.
Fast forward to yesterday and we let the Resident we saw before seeing our doctor know about the pain Monday and asked him to look. It ends up her tumor location has her connected with an ENT, so they’re perfectly prepared to check out the ear. He saw the damage. Her doctor confirmed it. He had them check to see if there were any audiologists still available (it was late in the day). There was!
So, now we have another nice doctor to add to our list of people we’re thankful to have met. The audiologist did a great job helping find the right size ear plug for Joanna so that she could still go swimming last night. It was an event with the cancer support organization from the hospital that she was really looking forward to -I’m so glad they were able to help get her what she needed to be able to safely still participate. And, she’s looking forward to swimming at a friend’s Friday after getting her post-chemo shot. It would have been a big disappointment to her to have to skip those due to ear problems. I’m so thankful there was a solution.