Saturday, September 22, 2012


This little man was so brave yesterday.  It seems we've underestimated the amount his birth defect bothers him.  It is easy for us to overlook.  Nothing is visible on the outside.  But the place where there should be a hole- an opening between his nose and the back of his throat?  Is closed.  On the day the opening should have been made in utero, it didn't happen for whatever the reason.  Its called choanal atresia and its fairly rare.  

It made for a harrowing delivery, as he came out tinged blue and requiring oxygen and the NICU until they determined what was wrong.  As an infant it meant for many sleep deprived nights as I faithfully suctioned his nose, clearing the thick mucous so he could breathe and sustain his sleep.  We were told surgery would fix the problem, but it wasn't always successful at a young age- the hole had a tendency to go closed again because the aperture was so tiny to begin with.  

So we've waited.  And grown used to repositioning Colton when he snorts and snores tries to catch his breath at night.  We all sleep pretty lightly it seems.  But we've just always been used to it.

This year however, at his yearly physical Colton piped up to his doctor.  He told him foods don't taste good, and he feels tired all the time.  His weight puts him in the 25th percentile which means he is very thin and lean. So my heart skipped a beat or two as he calmly asked if could please have surgery and fix his nose.  

Yesterday, we took Colton to an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor), who specializes in pediatric cases.  I assumed he would want to do a scan of some kind.  I was unprepared for him to want to "scope" Colton's nose.  But Colton sat dwarfed in that big blue chair, his eyes wide, his feet dangling, and sat very still letting the doctor spray lidocaine up his nose to numb him, then inserting the scope up his nose to take a look.  *Shudder*  It looked so uncomfortable. What I wouldn't have done to climb in that chair and do it for him.  

We will do a CT scan on Tuesday to determine the best route to get into the nasal cavity- through the nose, or through the palate in the mouth.  The first route makes for a less invasive surgery, but not always a successful outcome.  The second route is more invasive, but the outcome is generally more successful.  Because of the rarity of the deformity, surgeons only encounter a handful of cases throughout their careers.  

We pray we are being guided into making the best possible decisions for our Colton.  He has such big hopes that he food will taste better, and that he will sleep deeper without waking as often.  He apparently even thinks his feet will become faster so he can improve his time in the mile run!  Ha- gosh we love that kid!  Will keep everyone posted as this new journey unfolds before us.  

We capped our big day with Moorhead High's Homecoming parade. We donned our orange and black and headed over, Colton rebounding fairly quickly and wanting to go. The weather was sunny at moments, but laced with gusts of winds and overcast clouds that made it instantly feel chilly and cold.  As former Spuds, Rick and I always delight in bringing our Mini- Spuds to Moorhead High activities.

Rick grabbed the camera from me and took all these photos while I sat chatting on the sidelines... I think the camera is a hit.  I'm excited to take some fall photos but I am going to have to hurry- it seems fall has descended rapidly upon us and the leaves are blowing off the trees before they've fully changed colors... brr...


  1. I hope whatever treatment option you choose for Colton, it is a success, and all goes well.

    Your new camera is awesome. The pictures are wonderful!

    I hope you all have a nice weekend!

  2. It looks like a beautiful day but the wind was chilly here, too.

    Prayers that all goes well for Colton.

  3. Love it! I am whipped after Homecoming week at MHS. It was a success. Who is Colton's ENT?

  4. The pictures are wonderful! Oh what a sweet boy he is - his feet may run faster. You know something - I bet they will too. I love the fact he knows its time to do something to try and fix this. What a mature little boy you have. All the best with it and I will say a prayer that whichever option the doctors choose it will be the perfect one for faster feet. Yes, those fall photos would be great if you get the time - my favourite time of year really.

  5. Hoping all goes well for your little guy and he can eat and sleep in comfort again!

    Great photos, good times shared with the boys.

  6. I will be praying that the correct procedure is chosen and he has a GREAT outcome.

  7. Hugs for Colton and hopes for successful procedures, and sleepful nights for all. :)

  8. Oh boy. I would also want to have it done.
    Poor little guy.

    The parade looks like a lot of fun.
    My sons soccer team had a community thing
    with little boys and girls trying to get them interested in soccer.
    He found it interesting. They grow up so fast.

  9. Oh, my...I hope everything will be fine with Colton and that he can start saviuring food and sleeping better.

    Congratulation on the new camera, Vicky. I can't wait to see your photographs xo

  10. Praying for sweet Colton and for you and Rick as you make these decisions...and for the doctors...

    Ummmm, that camera rocks! Your photos are stellar!

  11. I too will pray for THE best outcome for Colton - may his doctors be guided by Him and all of you surrounded by an angel sent from above!


  12. Praying for Colton and all of you, Vicky. I love the quality of the photos that your new camera takes! They are gorgeous!

    The clouds in the pictures definitely look like a chilly autumn sky!!!

  13. praying for colton and all that might be ahead of him.....and hugely praying that surgery makes everything better !!

    bless his heart regarding that scope in the office. i've had that done and it's awful. i've also had the scope where they spray lidocaine in your throat, go through your nose to see (finally) your esophagus and that was simply the worst thing ever. sweet boy, what a trooper he's being !!

  14. I will be praying for him, Vicky, and for you guys that all goes well and easily. It's amazing how they rebound at his age and the fact that he WANTS it done is such a great sign. Hunter had his tonsils out in May (age 17) after dealing with cryptic tonsils for so many years. It was super painful but because he WANTED it done, it seriously helped him get through a very rough two weeks. Now, the very opening you're talking about in the throat won't close for him and it may never close off again even though he wants it to. Makes fluid come out his nose sometimes but it's slowly getting better. Wish he could share that TOO ample space with Colton!

  15. Hi Vicky. I grew up with the Westra's as neighbors, and I periodically read your blog; thank you for sharing your journey. I just wanted to mention that our daughter also has choanal atresia, because it seems so rare to actually "know" someone else with it. We too are planning on doing a surgery for her, likely next spring when she's 18 months. I hope your son's surgery and recovery goes well and his quality of life is improved from it!


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