The decision to put your child under general anesthesia is never an easy one. I was scared and nervous and kept replaying the same thoughts in my head, “Is this going to be worth the pain of recovery, what happens if something goes wrong, is this really necessary?”. All of these were valid questions and concerns. At the end of the day to have Luke’s tonsils removed was an “elected surgery”. Sure the doctors can point you in a certain direction and make recommendations, but ultimately you as parents have to choose.
It took me over a year to come to the decision that this was right for us. We discussed it with his pediatrician a number of times as well as his pediatric ENT specialist. It was very important to me to take my time with this decision, to watch Luke over the course of the year, through all the seasons, and understand if there were any other factors that could be causing his discomfort. Luke has never had strep throat and he has never had an ear infection, our reasons were considering this were different and I listed them below. The first time we went to the ENT and he looked in Luke’s mouth and said that his tonsils were a 4 out of 5 in terms of size. That coupled with his smaller sized throat brought him to recommend removal. That being said there was only so much he could see this way and what he realized after surgery was that it was much worse.
Fast forward 9 months. I was talking to a friend at a birthday party and she told me about a partial tonsilectimy which promised a much easier recovery and less risks. I brought Luke back to the ENT to discuss our options. He warned me that there was a risk the tonsils could grow back with a partial but the chances were very small. Additionally we would be removing his adenoids which could also provide significant relief.
The morning of the surgery I was terrified. The recovery scared me. I didn’t want to see him in pain and I was worried that it wouldn’t be worth it. The moment the doctor came to us in the waiting room that all changed. I’ll never forget it: He told us that the surgery went very well and that he had the biggest tonsils he had ever seen in a 4year old. As big as they could possibly be he said. THEN he told us about his adenoids (the forgotten part of the surgery that I always just considered an “extra”). This is graphic but he told us they were blocking his nasal passage so much so that he had to scrape them out of one of his nostrils! “This is going to be life-changing for him”, he said. I let out the biggest sigh of relief.
I decided to share our story because I know how scary making medical decisions for your child can be. I am so grateful for the way our journey turned out. Luke is doing amazing. He stopped snoring completely the night we came home. He can breathe through his nose with ease…I’m still in shock to be honest. The recovery wasn’t fun but it also wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I’m interested to see how his seasonal allergies effect him this Fall and will post another update in 6 months!
Congested almost 365 days a year: we tried everything, Zyrtec, nasonex, Flonase, clariton, we were convinced he just had very very bad allergies
He could never take a full normal breath in or out of his nose - after the surgery we discovered this was because of his adenoids
Always tired - he was still taking a 2-hr nap almost every day at 4 years old
Snoring is not even the word - the sounds that would come out of his nose and mouth as he struggled to breathe at night could be heard around the whole house. It was very scary at times
REM sleep - he tossed and turned all night long and we assumed was never able to sleep deeply
Growth - this is something to be debated and we’ll have to see if there is a change over the next few months but Luke is in the teens for growth
Eating - by the end of the day he couldn’t eat anymore. Every night was a struggle to get him to take bites as we watching him gag on food, chewing it, and not being able to breathe at the same time
Wheezing - overall you could almost always hear him breathing, always in and out through his mouth, and it was noticeably labored