The two faces of Hope

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

In eleven days, my daughter is supposed to have surgery to remove two small branchial cleft remnants on her face. Immediately afterward, before she wakes, she have a bone conduction hearing test to determine whether and to what extent her right ear works.

I am consumed with worry.

I am not, however, worried about her hearing. At least, not today. Today I am more-or-less at peace with her ear. Whatever will be, will be. And I have known many people who thrive with partial or total deafness, so even if her ear is completely nonfunctional, I know she will be fine.

I am worried about the general anesthesia she will undergo as part of the procedure. I am worried that she won’t wake up from the anesthesia–1 in 250,000 people don’t, and the risk is higher in infants. I am worried that we’re taking an enormous risk for a mostly cosmetic procedure, since the hearing test can be done with a much milder (but still general) sedation.

The doctors tell me that this isn’t just cosmetic, that there is a chance of infection or other problems with the remnants. And we should do it now, while she’s young, to minimize scarring. But I still can’t shake the feeling that the doctors are influenced by traditional ideas of beauty. Or, failing that, just expectations of how people “should” look.

My daughter is adorable. She has two little bumps on her face, but they are just bumps. Who cares if she has bumps on the edge of her face?

Here is where I admit that I am a hypocrite. I don’t want to care about physical beauty, but I do. Because I know that the wider world does, and I don’t want my daughter to feel inferior because she has bumps on her face. After surgery, her face will be different. No bumps.

I want to teach my girls that it is what is on the inside that counts. I want them to know that real beauty cannot be seen with the eyes. If I make a decision to alter Hope’s appearance, will they believe me?

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5 Responses to “The two faces of Hope”

  1. jocelyn Says:

    Hope is in my prayers.. I hope everything goes well!

  2. Emily Says:

    Best of luck to Hope in her surgery! I’ve never heard of branchial cleft remnants before, so I’ll look it up to see what’s going on. Did she have to have earlier surgeries for it?

    I’m so glad that Michelle linked your blog last week – Scott and I tried to find you and Michael on FB recently but you weren’t there.

    • fractone Says:

      Thanks. This is her first surgery, but eventually they want to build up her outer ear, since it’s small and not fully formed. Which would mean more surgery, but we don’t know how much, because we don’t yet know if her ear is fully formed on the inside. But, theoretically at least, we will know the answer to that mystery in a week and a half. So…baby steps.

  3. Dixie Says:

    Pressing in. I know Hope is going to be okay. We’ve got a lot of people praying for her AND she happens to be God’s favorite! 🙂 I know your worries and thoughts, but just remember that He is in control. (BTW, your girls probably won’t even remember how Hope looked before, or even about the surgery.) But, you’re right about one thing – she is sooo cute!

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