strawberry hunting season
ridiculously freakin' adorable, right? RIGHT? right. until, that is, it began to grow. here is the hemangioma as of sunday:
(jesus lord almighty tell me that's not the most perfect child you have ever seen ever. I DARE YOU!) you can see that not only has the purple splotch spread, but the child has the added bonus of its becoming all lumpy too. she looks like she's been nursing on whiskey for 60 years. you can see that the nose is no longer symmetrical and she looks like a clown. sometimes instead of rudolph, we call her bozo. i honestly don't even see it when i look at her. occasionally i'll take a picture and then be surprised by her super-schnoz, but mostly i don't even see it. strangers still stop us on the street to gawk at the baby because she is so obviously gorgeous, but increasingly they ask "what happened to her nose?" i usually reply "oh, she was crying so i beat her." mrs nice guy does not think this is funny.
so, our upstairs neighbors happen to both be pediatricians. not only do they happen to both be pediatricians, but they happen to both consistently appear on "best of" lists for new york pediatricians. not only do they happen to consistently appear on "best of" lists for new york pediatricians, they happen to be exceedingly nice people. they came by for a neighborly visit the other week to meet the newest nice guy. while they were in our place, we took the opportunity to cop a free consultation: they said that the strawberry is going to keep growing for up to eighteen months. there's not telling how huge it'll get. they also said that it will indeed go away on its own, but because there is some deep tissue growth, it could permanently damage some of the tissue in her nose, leaving it slightly malformed. they referred us to three doctors -- two vascular specialists and a laser guy -- and suggested we have it looked at just to get a specialist's opinion.
my resolve to let this hemangioma go away on its own has taken a beating lately. and mrs nice guy has desperately wanted to get it looked at for weeks now. i saw no harm in it, and besides if i don't do everything mrs nice guy wants, she goes to the bad place. (i should note here that she totally wears the penis around our house. she owns me and she is very violent. mostly in a good way.) so it was off to the doctor's office we went. this was yesterday.
the consultation was quick. (and we felt like total chumps for being in her waiting room with our little bozo daughter, sitting next to children who have real problems. like cancer.) the doctor said, basically, the baby is a good candidate for laser treatment. it's not purely a cosmetic problem: the hemangioma could potentially damage some of the cartilage in her honker, it will spread probably rapidly over the coming months, and it will probably still be on her face when she is ready to start school and be laughed at by her peers.
so she booked us an appointment with the laser guy. right there in the same building! five minutes later we were upstairs in mr laser man's office (he happens to be the exact same laser dude our upstairs neighbors recommended.). he told us that she would require five treatments over 15 weeks or so. the laser will not necessarily stop the tissue growth, so her nose may still be a little lumpy for a couple years, but the purple color will go away. we said fine, let's do it. he said "GERONIMO!!!!"
and just like that we were all wearing goggles, the wife and i literally pinning the baby to a table, holding down her tiny arms and legs like she was the world's littlest mental ward patient in need of restraining. a nurse put gauze on her eyes and the doctor zapped around her nose with a little pulsing laser light -- it looked like he was soldering her face. she did not enjoy the experience. apparently the laser stings a little; it feels like someone snapping your skin with a rubber band. when that skin is on your face and that face is six weeks old, i would imagine it hurts plenty. the baby, who was smiling when we first put her on the table, wailed. she actually said her first words: "WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM?!?!" and she cried.
the worst part of it? she has tears now. she didn't have tears until this week. her little face was streaked with tiny tears and i officially hated myself. anyway, we have to go back four more times, but there are apparently no downsides to this treatment (even if its success rate is a paltry 60 percent). other therapies involve steroid treatment, which made me relish the thought of my baby girl testifying before congress about her experiences on the juice. alas, we bypassed the steroids because she is "too young."
anyway. the hemangioma will gradually, hopefully, cease to be purple. the thing is, for the time being, the treatment has turned her nose black:
ah, yes. progress.