by Missy Robertson
It has been six weeks since Mia’s last major surgery, and she is doing fantastic! With any major surgery, there are ups and downs, and this one was no exception. Her surgery lasted over six hours and multiple bones were broken, cut and reset in order to allow her to eat more easily, breathe better and greatly improve her speech. Her surgeons, Dr. David Genecov and Dr. Huay-Zong Law, are super pleased with the outcome and with her recovery process. While her swelling has diminished significantly, it will continue to decrease for up to a year from now. She may look quite different on the outside, but she is the same Mia, and we are so proud and grateful for the way she has taken on this latest challenge. She has become a giant of courage, optimism and perseverance in the cleft world and in life!
As a mom of a 17-year old cleft child, I can honestly share that it has been an emotional roller-coaster for me and Jase. Jase is more emotional than people think and just doesn’t handle watching his daughter go through the immediate post-op hours (days) very well! Maybe it’s because I know this or maybe it’s just the way I’m built, but I can push back my emotions as soon as she’s rolled out of surgery in order to prepare myself to take care of her immediate physical needs. We all have our roles when it comes to taking care of our children, and Jase has affectionately named his role as “water boy”. He is the runner and takes the responsibility of acquiring whatever it is that Mia needs, from the nurse down the hall to a Chick-Fil-A milkshake when she’s ready to start intake. Whatever our roles are, we need support and encouragement to get through it together with our child. Once Mia is well enough to go home and she is settled comfortably on our sofa, I begin to unwind and reflect on the gratefulness I feel for all of that support we have experienced. Intentionally handing your child over to other people, even though highly skilled in their field, knowing that she is about to undergo reconstruction, pain and risk of complications plus just being aware of the unknown is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do as a mother. When you’re the parent of a child with a chronic disability, illness or condition, this act happens multiple times. For us, it has been a total of 13 times, and each time is just as difficult as the last, no matter how old she is. But we know that, in the long run, it is the best decision for our child. Being confident in the surgical team lifts an abundant amount of anxiety over those next few hours. Knowing that people are praying to the Almighty Creator on behalf of your child lifts another significant amount of anxiety. Experiencing the kindness and hospitality offered to you and your child during your stay in the hospital provides hands-on support so you can be the parent you need to be during this time. What blessings these are!
At the Mia Moo Fund, our goal is to help provide all three of these blessings to our cleft families:
1) Lifting financial stress so that parents can make the best possible decisions when it comes to choosing their child’s doctor (it’s a journey that can last 18+ years!)
2) Providing emotional support to the families with the MIA MOO FUNDay (hoping to resume in 2021!) and by sending care backpacks for their child’s hospital stay and recovery
3) Spreading awareness through this newsletter and social media so the communities can pray, donate and share kindness to our Mia Moo family
Thank you for your support in our endeavor to help in all three of these areas. Jase, Mia and I truly believe that Every Kid Deserves A Smile!