It has been just under 2 weeks since Judah left the hospital after the Surgery he had on May 1st to repair and reconstruct his trachea. In that time Judah has come a long way, especially the first few days of being back at home. While not back up to 100% just yet, every day at home was an opportunity to rest and be comfortable – which is much easier when you can sleep in your own bed, hang out outside in the yard, and play with your dog and cat.
While Judah needs plenty of time to heal, fight infections, and gain his strength back, this Spring and Summer will move quickly as there are many steps along the path ahead of us. The LTR surgery earlier this month was our first major step towards getting the trach removed (called “decannulation”). Today we had another big step. During the first surgery 3 weeks ago, the doctors reconstructed Judah’s airway by taking a piece of his rib cartilage and using it as a graft to help his trachea heal properly. They also placed a stent at the top of his airway to keep the shape and size correct, unfortunately this stent would completely close off his airway above the trach tube. Today after a long day at the hospital waiting for our turn in the operating room, Judah’s doctors removed that stent. In theory with the stent removed, Judah should finally be able to breathe out of his mouth and nose, allowing him to pass air over his vocal chords and make noise for the first time since he was 2 months old.
The process of learning to use and training his vocal chords again will take some time, and although we did not get to hear his voice today, we are seeing some evidence of Judah breathing from his new airway. Now that the stent has been removed, Judah will have frequent follow-ups with his ENT team, they will watch to make sure his airway is healing properly, and when they feel he is ready, we will begin to cap his trach for a few minutes at a time, forcing him to breath only through his mouth and nose. Once he can do this all day and all night, we will move towards the end goal of decannulation.
For now, he continues to rest and heal from all of the procedures we keep putting him through. Through all of the surgeries, doctors visits, therapies, blood draws, tests and more, Judah is an incredible trooper. He (and we) gain strength from all of your love and support.