Before we know it, 2016 will be here! That means it’s time to nominate your “Little Victor” to be featured in our 2016 calendars!
When my daughter Adrian had to miss a week of third grade for a surgery related to her cleft lip and palate, she wanted to put together a slide show for her classmates so they knew her story.
“When I was growing in my mom’s belly, my lip did not grow together like yours did. Neither did the roof of my mouth,” it begins.
Her baby picture was included too, which shows the stitches and bandages around her mouth and nose after her first surgery as a baby when doctors fixed her lip so it was easier to eat.
Just like “old fashioned” school yard bullying, though, it can be difficult for parents to know just what to do to help prevent and manage cyberbullying.
It’s not new, this “news.” It’s actually the same story – hashed and rehashed, depending on which celebrity or politician or spokesperson is given the megaphone.
Who is in the news talking about vaccines may change from day to day, but one thing has not.
Children with craniofacial anomalies spend a great deal of time in their doctor’s office being evaluated and treated. Every visit involves having photographs taken. Not fun pictures. Not even school headshots. But pictures focused on their facial differences.
It’s what is sometimes called the “clinical gaze.” We are carefully examining their facial differences, focusing on them and working to help fix them. In a way, it can be depersonalizing even though my colleagues and I at the Craniofacial Anomalies Program work hard to connect with the children in ways other than their facial differences.
My colleagues and I wanted to do something to give the kids back the magic and fun that kids should feel with the idea of having their photos taken. I’d heard about a project where kids with craniofacial anomalies were paired with artists to have portraits painted, and was struck by how powerful it was for the children to have these immense portraits painted of them. We wanted to give our patients a taste of that experience, but also to give them the gift finding beauty – whatever that is to them – through their own lens.
From that idea, we created “Picture This!”
Last year as my daughter, Kailyn, was starting eighth grade, she decided she wanted to play volleyball. She needed a physical to try out, so I took her to a local urgent care center for a basic sport physical. Because she had been diagnosed with a heart murmur when she was much younger, the doctor at the urgent care center would not give her permission to play and referred us to our pediatrician.
Luckily, her pediatrician was able to see her on a Saturday so she could get that sport physical done in time for tryouts. The appointment turned serious when the doctor started pushing on Kailyn’s stomach. She felt something hard and thought it might be her bowels. He told me to give her Metamucil and follow up on Monday for an ultrasound. On Monday, Kailyn called me from school to say that her stomach hurt. I took her straight to the ER.