We will celebrate twenty-one months home this Saturday. We will celebrate the day in the hospital. Again. Our fifth tour of the OR in just twenty-one months with us. Far more than she should have to endure. Far more than I've endured in my full adult life and she's not yet even four. She proves to me time and again just why she is the fighter that she is. She has to be. She works hard for every word said, every syllable understood, every point made. It's work. Hard work. And yet she struggles on with tremendous amounts of joy and zest. She amazes and humbles me daily. While I can easily feel the weight of five trips for surgery, five periods of recovery, five rounds of pain I cannot fathom, she teaches me about hope. Yes, she's gone five times. Yes, it is difficult for all of us. But in it, she's walked it with us. Every step we've done together, in the safety and security of family and I believe family is what has allowed her to boldly endure each and every time.
We will place our sweet girl back into the hands of our surgeon hero, Dr. L, on Friday of this week. She will have a procedure called a pharyngeal flap (or P-flap). The goal of this surgery is to work on the soft palate, adding length. This should allow Hannah to better control air flow between her mouth and nasal cavity, thus allowing her to better control air and air pressure needed for correct speech sounds. She's generally a bit younger than a typical p-flap candidate, but it has been fairly obvious it would be needed for some time. She works so hard and tries to do all the speech therapists demand of her, yet she just doesn't have the anatomical structure to accomplish much of what is asked of her. It is our prayer this surgery will provide her with what she needs and allow her to continue to grow and blossom, especially allowing her to be better understood by those outside our home. We are told the results from this procedure can be quite dramatic. We pray this might be the case for our sweet girl.
So, here we are again. Soft foods purchased. Pain meds in stock. Arrangements made for the big kids. School adjustments complete. Bags packed. Off we go. Again. We know our girl better now. We know she's tough. She's resilient. She's way braver than I could ever be. We're ready to tackle this one and we know God will meet us in the ways we have asked and especially in the ways we didn't even know to ask. We ask you to cover us in prayer. While we know the drill, it never gets easier.