Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trusting Our Gut and Losing the Tonsils

Last year, when we were concerned about Reagan's speech, we visited Madison's old ENT to see if Reagan, like Madison had, would need tubes.

Reagan is a weird kid. Her ear infections always presented strangely, so we weren't quite sure how many she'd had. But her ENT knew us, knew Madison's situation, and thought that tubes were a good idea. So the week before Thanksgiving in 2013, Reagan had tubes placed.

Well, to be honest, the ENT thought there was something else going on. When we walked into the office, she greeted me and the family as old friends, and before opening the chart, looked at Reagan and said, "so, you're here for adenoids?"


As soon as she opened the file, she realized we were not, and focused on Reagan's ears. But once she confirmed our suspicions, she brought the conversation back to adenoids. She asked about Reagan's sleeping habits and vocal tone and how she typically breathed and how often she was congested. But to be honest, I hadn't thought much about it. She told us that Reagan appeared to be a case for an adenoidectomy.

Adam and I hemmed and hawed and hemmed and hawed. Finally, we opted to just do the tubes. We knew it was an easy surgery, and we knew that if it was going to impact her speech, we'd know quickly. Adenoid removal before two had to be done at the hospital - not the surgery center - and would need an overnight stay. After our experiences with Madison, we wanted to avoid that. So we put it off.

And once again, in mid-November, we found ourselves at the ENT's office. The ENT confirmed her tubes were still perfectly placed, and strongly recommended we talk about adenoids again. Throughout the year I'd been doing some research. My google search history proved that I was dwelling on the idea that many of Reagan's toddler trials might have something to do with her head - not just her age.

Adenoids and toddler eating habits
Adenoids and sleep apnea in toddlers
Adenoids and behavior in toddlers
Adenoids and sinus infection

Ok, were these people describing my kid?

The clincher for me was when another mom went through the surgery with her two year old a few months ago. The difference she saw, just by fixing this one little thing, was quick and impressive.

So when the ENT brought it up, I was sold.


She brought up the tonsils. Often, she told us, if there's even a question that tonsils may need to come out, and an adenoid surgery is scheduled, it's best to just go ahead and do both. Reagan hadn't had frequent strep or tonsillitis (she's more of a sinus infection afficiando), but her tonsils were definitely bigger than normal. Her ENT suspected that a year from now, we'd be scheduling surgery number three.

So do we do it?

She wasn't constantly sick.

But all those articles on Google did mention tonsils along with adenoids.

The surgery was more invasive with a longer recovery.

But she'd be done, with (hopefully) no long term memory, and we wouldn't have to revisit.

She'd definitely have to stay overnight.

But she might anyway.

As Adam and I started to hem and haw, we had an overwhelming sense of deja vu...and last time we'd had this conversation, we'd made the less invasive choice and regretted it. We could have been done a year ago - and now we feared we'd be going through yet another conversation a year from now.

So little Reagan, a few months shy of three, had her tonsils and adenoids out with her first hospital stay.

How did it go?

Well that's a story for another day...when I'm not so exhausted physically and emotionally.

Did we make the right call?

We'll find out in about a week when she's all healed up, but her ENT certainly thought so.

Are we glad we trusted our gut?


What would you have done? When the doctors leave it up to you, do you fall to one side or the other? Do you trust your research or trust your gut?

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