Jacob had an appointment at the surgery center again today. These appointments are always much tougher on me than him. He is a trooper. I don't know how many we have gone to. People ask often but I really don't remember and decided a long time ago to stop counting. I also don't know how many more we have to go. I know it will be a few and I also know the treatments are working so it is worth it.
Jacob recieves vascular laser therapy or in other words, laser treatments to the port wine stain on his face. A port wine stain is a birthmark that is caused by an overabundancy of blood capillaries under the skin. Without treatment, the birth mark will become darker over time and may even become raised and a dark purple color. When Jacob came home it ranged from a bright red color to a slightly purple color depending on how high his blood pressure was. If his blood pressure goes up, the birthmark gets darker. It also causes his eye to have a red tint that many people mistake for pink eye. Jacob has been receiving treatments about every 2 months (sometimes longer). The birthmark is now normally a light pink color but can almost completely disappear if he is very relaxed and not hot or get to be a darker red color if he is sick or running around a lot. People don't even always notice it right away when they meet him if it is on a day when it is a lighter pink color. It also appears to be slighly smaller in size.
The treatments consist of the doctor hitting Jacob's skin with a laser causing the blood capillaries to burst. They grow back slightly smaller each time causing the birth mark to fade. It is a long process but as long as there continues to be improvement, I will continue to take him. After the treatment is completed, the site where the laser hit has small red marks that look similar to cigarette burns. These burns eventually scab over and look like he fell and scraped his face. For a day or two, it feels like a very bad sunburn.
Jacob receives anesthesia for these appointments so they are completed at the surgery center. Jacob never complains about going and even pretends to be excited (he does get excited about the toy afterwards). When it is time for Jacob to leave me and go to the operating room, he walks down the hallway with the nurse. I usually have to remind him to give me a hug before he leaves. He picks out a small toy and sticker in the OR and then climbs on the table. He tells the doctor what flavor scent he wants on the mask and then holds the mask on himself until he falls asleep. No fuss or tears. He is amazing.
I personally hate to see him go through it. I know he does great but it breaks my heart to see him hurt afterwards or to cry as he wakes up. I do it because I believe it is in his best interest in the long run. Today I have the same emotional heaviness that I have every time we go. I am so proud of him but also sad that he has to endure the treatments. I can't imagine what it is like to have a child who is seriously ill. I am grateful I don't have to know that feeling and pray that I never will.