Charlotte’s final major nose surgery was successfully completed today and she is excited to come home tomorrow. While she may have a few minor surgeries (“revisions” as Dr. Chaiyasate calls them) early next year, we don’t anticipate ear reconstruction until next spring/early summer.
Beaumont tweeted live updates this morning and many Twitter users offered support using the hashtag #healingcharlotte.
Tomorrow at 8:30 AM, Charlotte is scheduled to complete her final major nose surgery. The flap which connects her forehead to the transplanted nose skin will be removed and some minor modifications will be made to the nasal structure.
Despite slower than anticipated healing of Charlotte’s forehead, where the skin for her nose was grafted from, we no longer expect that additional skin grafts will be needed to correct this. The skin should eventually heal with minimal scarring and she will wear bandages until the open wounds will heal.
Charlotte, as ever, is just holding up super during this difficult time. She is eager to complete the process and despite what must be tremendous pain, she is optimistic and goofy as ever. We are so blessed that she has such a positive outlook despite such adverse situations.
I know we’ve thanked you before, but we can never thank enough the people who have followed Charlotte’s progress throughout this reconstruction and have showed their overwhelming support. We know that Charlotte is special, and the fact that so many that don’t know her personally have also developed an attachment and love for this brave little girl is so heartwarming and helps her and her family make it through it.
Charlotte is doing quite well since her last surgery, where the surgeon finished the majority of the work on her lips and slimmed down her nose. The two weeks between the last two surgeries was by far the most difficult for Charlotte. She had to abstain from solid foods, drinking protein drinks, applesauce and yogurt through a straw.
Her lips were swollen for a few days after the most recent surgery, making it difficult for her to eat for yet a few more days, but by Thanksgiving, she was able to enjoy the meal with her family. As we sat around the table and shared the things we were thankful for, Charlotte was thankful, “That the raccoon didn’t kill her and that she is still alive today.”
We are thankful for all of the love and support that Charlotte has received throughout this process. We aren’t sure how we would have made it happen without the generosity of friends, family and strangers. It was a very humbling Thanksgiving for the Ponce family.
Charlotte went back today to have a stint in her nostrils removed before her next surgery later this week, which is slotted to be the final major one on her nose. Because of slower than anticipated healing of her forehead (where they grafted skin to build her nose), she is likely to have significant scarring. So, in about three months, she should be back at Beaumont for a skin graft to help with her forehead. Additionally, she will have some fat injected into her right cheek, which lays flat since the attack compared to her left cheek, which was untouched. She still has some hairs on her nose from the graft on her forehead, and she may have to have electrolysis to remove them at a later date.
It is amazing to look at photos of Charlotte from before she started surgeries and to realize how quickly she has undergone this major transformation. We are looking forward to the day when all is done, but being thankful and making the most of each day from now until then.
Happy holidays to all of you, and may you be safe and joyful during this season!
Many of you may be following the posts that Sharon has been putting on Charlotte’s Facebook page. She is home, doing well, considering the frustration at being unable to eat or communicate very well.
Always a little defiant, Charlotte insists on drinking through a straw instead of being fed with a giant syringe. She has been drinking Carnation instant breakfast and liquid yogurt and applesauce through a straw.
She goes back on Friday for a surgery on her lips, and she’ll have a brand new smile. They’ll also do some work on her nose, she’s only expected to be in the hospital until Sunday after this. On the 30th, she’ll have her final nose surgery.
She still wants to get her ear next summer, and it’s completely her choice. She’s bold and brave and wants this all over with.
Charlotte studies at home with her tutor the day before her last surgery.