I'm not quite sure how to even write this because it's not a nicely packaged, concise, sensical story with a clear ending.
Here goes nothin'...
SEVERAL months ago, I thought I saw something in the back of James' mouth when he was laughing. I thought "What the heck was that??" I made several attempts to see it again, and wasn't able to see anything. Soooo I convinced myself nothing was there, because for sure if there WAS, I'd be able to see it again, right? Also, it was around the time of one of his routine pediatrician appointments (maybe his 9 month one?), and I figured the doctor would have mentioned it if she had seen anything.
In July, I saw it again. This time I could see it repeatedly when he would laugh big, with his mouth open wide. What did I see? A plain-m&m-size-and-shape, pink, fleshy bubble thingy at the very, very back of his tongue. No wonder I couldn't see it easily because depending on how his tongue is positioned, it's not visible at all. I would post a picture of it, if taking a picture was even remotely possible! At this point I knew it had been there since the last time I thought I saw something, months earlier. After consulting with some of my coworkers (nurse practitioners, neonatalogists...I love having easy access to these extremely helpful people!), I made an appointment for James with an ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor). While I waited a few days for that appointment, I googled all kinds of things on the interwebs. BAD IDEA, as you may have guessed. As a healthcare professional, I'm already envisioning crazy options for what this growth, for lack of a better term, might be. The interwebs only reinforced the wild and crazy and highly unlikely possibilities...
The (1st) ENT said "Hmmm....I'm not sure what that is..." This is the same response I'd received from any pediatric medical professional I'd told about this thus far. Nice. He definitely thought it looked benign (read: NON-cancerous), which was good news. He referred us to a specialist ENT at UNC. It would be six weeks before the first available appointment at the UNC clinic! Good grief! That brings us to today.
Today we drove to UNC to see what the specialist had to say about our quirky little James. We left really, really early for the 8:45am appointment because we anticipated sitting in RTP/40 West traffic on this workday-for-most-people morning. Wouldn't you know it, because we allotted adequate time for traffic, there was none. We arrived at the office at 8:05am. Perfect. If there's any recommendation I'd make to others: Arrive so early to a doctor's appointment that you get the joy of entertaining your non-walking 14 month old child in a waiting room for forty minutes. James did really well, actually. I give 100% credit to Scott for his baby-wrangling skills. We were seen right on time. (Not their fault we got there so freakin' early...) Dr. Drake (2nd ENT) said she wasn't entirely sure what that thing is either. <sigh> Her recommendation was to have it removed and then it can be sent to a lab to figure out what it is. She agreed with ENT #1 that it is very likely benign and non-worrisome, although odd and not easily classifiable. She suggested we do this procedure sometime before he's three years old and likely to remember such a thing. The (hopefully) outpatient procedure will involve putting James under general anesthesia for a shorter-than-a-tonsillectomy-surgery. Once he wakes up, he has to be able to drink something and then he could go home.
So here we are. Trying to decide when we want to do this.
Before the new baby?
- The new kid will never be easier to take care of than right now! She's fed. She sleeps whenever. She goes where I go.
- Will this procedure for James be so stressful for me it puts me in early labor??
- No risk of early labor.
- Could potentially do it while I'm out on maternity leave from my job.
- Caring for a newborn, though, and going to the hospital with James? I dunno about that...
*I completely understand there could be way, way worse medical stuff going on with my son. In the grand scheme of life, this is barely a blip on the radar. I'm grateful he is otherwise healthy, active and growing.*
Keeping our child safe in the car is VERY important to us. He always wears a seatbelt when he rides in the front seat...