Our journey to Griffin’s NEW LEFT EAR began on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 with another (and hopefully last!) flight up to Palo Alto, CA and Dr. Roberson’s California Ear Institute office. Kristin, Griffin, and I made the trip this time and our little gal Jillian stayed home with Grandma Lois Ott. (Thanks Grandma!) The hopefully last and hopefully final surgery for Griffin was going to also be his (mostly our) longest and most stressful as he was scheduled for a 3-part combined surgery lasting 10-12 hours with both Dr. Reinisch and Dr. Roberson. Here is the breakdown on the last surgery…
1. Right middle ear implant allowing for normal hearing with Dr. Roberson.
2. Left ear canal rebuild with Dr. Roberson if needed.
3. Left ear medpor construct with Dr. Reinisch
Griffin loved the flight as usual and after renting our car at the San Jose, CA airport, we checked into our hotel. We found out, in booking our hotel, that there was a google/facebook/ebay/yahoo/internet-ish convention in town that week and nearly every hotel was sold out. We were actually fortunate to find one relatively close to our usual spot for the low, low, price of $299/night. (Insert chuckle here!) Our pre-op appointment was scheduled for 2pm and went off without a hitch. We were actually given some REALLY GREAT NEWS when Dr. Roberson said he was pleased with the shape and size of Griffin’s left ear canal and wouldn’t need to reconstruct it in the morning. Both docs agreed that it was simply an ear infection that caused the shrinking of the canal prior to Griffin’s last surgery which caused Dr. Reinisch to call an audible and construct his right ear instead…YES! YES! YES!
After an uneventful night for our champion sleeper Griffin and a sleepless night for mom and dad, we were on the road at 5:15am for our 6am check-in at the Waverly Surgery Center. Griffin was his usual brave, cool self in the waiting room (see pic of him hiding by the coffee) and we were greeted by Dr. Reinisch and Dr. Roberson at about 6:30am. Kristin and I felt a huge sense of calm come over us after seeing both Dr.’s together as they are both truly miracle workers to be able to give Griffin the gift of ears and hearing. Going through surgeries is never easy and it was a great comfort to us to know that Griffin was in such good hands. They are both so very, very awesome and we can never thank them enough! After some knucks 0()()()(), a squeeze hug and 4 kisses for our brave little dude, they took him back for his 8am surgery.
After about 3 hours, Dr. Roberson came out to the waiting room to tell us that the right middle ear implant was a success! The implant itself is shaped like a flat-head nail, roughly 5 mm in length, with the round flat part attached to the back of Griffin’s new eardrum and a tiny loop/hook on the other end that connected through to where Griffin’s stapes was supposed to be but wasn’t. Being that the stapes is the smallest and weakest bone in the human body, it doesn’t surprise us that Griffin didn’t have one as he is neither small nor weak:) The stapes itself is literally as big as the loop portion on this —–> p)
After a successful implant, it was Dr. Reinisch’s turn to work his magic. The medpor construct itself is typically an 8 hour surgery so we knew we were in for a long day. We were given updates every few hours and even managed to get out and walk around Stanford’s campus, one at a time, as one parent always has to be present. Kristin and I both felt a little nervous throughout the day but nothing as compared to the first few surgeries. It went as smoothly as it could have gone and we were given the GREAT NEWS that WE HAD A NEW LEFT EAR at around 6:30pm! We went back to see our little buddy who was already up and talking to the staff…such a cool kid! We found throughout the surgeries that Griffin bounces back to his normal self almost immediately. The doctors and nurses always tell us that Griffin is ONE TOUGH LITTLE DUDE with his great ability to recover so quickly with little or no pain or side effects from the medication. Griffin definitely gets his toughness from his mom:) As we were wheeling him out into the car about an hour after the surgery concluded, we asked him if he was feeling good enough for a drink of water (the nurses say it may take a few hours for him to get to that point) to which Griffin responded in typical fashion, “No, I want some french fries, orange tic tacs, green ice cream, and cartoons on the iPad. WE LOVE THAT DUDE! (See pic)
We’ll keep you posted on Griffin’s upcoming follow-up appointments and hearing tests. We’re hoping for another painless and smooth healing process and are already seeing great results with his overall hearing even after a short period of time! We are also happy to let you know that we have a few more FUN-draisers in the works for 2013 to help with some of the medical costs associated with these truly miraculous surgeries!
Thanks again for keeping Griffin in your thoughts and prayers. We love you all!
~Colin, Kristin, Griffin, and Jillian Oas
September 24, 2012 (4pm-8pm) | GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH | Munising, MI
Griffin’s got a brand spanking new LEFT EAR…no wait…RIGHT EAR! Wait…WHAT???
Our 3rd leg of “Griffin’s Journey to a New Set of Ears” ended up being a very nerve racking one for his mom and dad…and dad has the 27 new gray hairs to prove it. It began on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 with an early morning wake up and a 400 mile drive due west on I-10 from Phoenix, AZ to Beverly Hills, CA. (We decided at the beginning of our journey that to maximize our budget, we would fly to the ear canal surgeries up in Palo Alto, CA and drive to the Medpor ear construction surgeries in the much closer Beverly Hills, CA.) After a smooth ride into town, we checked in to our hotel roughly 3 miles from Dr. John Reinisch‘s office and Cedars Sinai Outpatient Medical center where Griffin’s LEFT EAR MEDPOR CONSTRUCTION surgery was to take place the following morning at 8am. We unpacked, relaxed for a bit and then drove to Griffin’s Pre-Op Appointment at Dr. Reinisch’s office…which is where things got a little scary for mom and dad.
At the Pre-Op appointment, Dr. Reinisch pointed out that he thought Griffin’s left ear canal looked a little small and he was worried that he might not have enough room to fold the skin graft into the opening. He also thought that he saw some fluid in the canal and was worried about an infection which would have jeopardized the entire surgery/trip. After a few VERY TENSE MOMENTS, Dr. Reinisch simply said that he would take a look at the left canal again in the morning once Griffin went under, and if it didn’t feel right to him, he would simply “do the right ear instead.” We let out a huge sigh of relief and went back to the hotel and met up with Aunt Kym for dinner. It was a long sleepless night for mom dad but Griffin slept like a log as usual. He is definitely a champion sleeper and had no trouble getting a good nights rest!
The morning of the surgery, we woke up early and headed to Cedars Sinai Outpatient Medical center for the surgery. We checked in and waited to be called into the back. Griffin played on his iPad and didn’t have a care in the world…WE LOVE THAT DUDE! After a short while, we were called back and Griffin hopped straight up onto the bed and drank the “sleepy medicine” and did awesome. (see left pic above) Dr. Reinisch walked us through the upcoming 8 hour surgery and mentioned he would call us in a bit to let us know which ear he would be doing. He also pointed out a few places that we could walk too if we wanted to get out and have some food and mentioned that his surgical staff would call us with updates on the hour. We kissed Griffin and headed into the waiting room and awaited word from Dr. Reinisch. Doc called us shortly thereafter to inform us that he was “calling an audible” and “doing the right side”. It is truly amazing to us how gifted Griffin’s doctors have both been. They really are the best in the world and it is actually very calming to us that Griffin is in such great hands.
As promised, Dr. Reinisch called every hour and gave us updates along the way. We sat in the waiting room with Griffin’s Aunt Kym, Grandma and Papa Ott, and our little gal Jillian. We passed the time by checking emails and Facebook on the iPad and also went for a few strolls outside. We grabbed lunch at a mall across the street and got updated on the hour as promised. Everything actually went very smoothly but it was still a VERY NERVE RACKING 8 hours. At the end of the surgery (around 4pm) Dr. Reinisch and his team came out to the waiting room and filled us in on the surgery and told us that everything went great. He also showed us a picture of the new right ear he took prior to putting the bandages on Griffin’s head and WOW WE BOTH ALMOST FAINTED. WE HAD BOTH NEVER BEFORE SAW SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT! We hugged Dr. Reinisch and his staff and then waited for the big man to wake up which took about an hour. It is again amazing to us that Dr. Reinisch’s Medpor surgery is an outpatient surgery! Griffin was actually back in the hotel with us about 10 hours after his surgery, eating ice cream and watching cartoons on his iPad…WITH A NEW RIGHT EAR!
We went in for a follow up appointment the next day and Dr. Reinisch told us that we would need to keep an eye on any drainage and to keep the bandages on for another week so we scheduled our 3rd follow up appointment and drove 30 miles south on the dreaded I-405 to Anaheim (which only took 1.5 hrs) to check into the Marriott at Disneyland! Doc said that Griffin could go on rides as long as his head wasn’t exposed to long periods of sun and heat. Griffin loves all things Disney and is especially fond of Cars and Lightning McQueen so we planned a trip TO PUT A BIG SMILE ON HIS FACE after this latest surgery. We woke up early on Sunday and headed out to Disney and had a blast! Griffin rode all the rides at the new Cars Land Disney California Adventure and we also purchased the park hopper and were able to go see Mickey Mouse and ride more rides in Disneyland that afternoon. Griffin loved every minute of it! (see pic above middle)
The final follow up appointment before heading back to Phoenix was on Tuesday, July 17. Dr. Reinisch took the bandages off and we got our first peek at the new right ear. We almost fell over with amazement and couldn’t believe how good it looked. (see pic above right) Dr. Reinisch cleaned up the ear and gave us cleaning instructions, sleeping instructions, and an overview of what to expect. He said it would take 3-4 months for all the swelling to go down and for the coloring to become “normal-looking.” We said our goodbyes and headed home! It was a great trip and we want to thank Dr. Reinisch for our miracle RIGHT EAR! We also want to send out a special thanks to our friend Mr. Jim Rose from Marriott who was kind enough to give us a complimentary room at Disneyland during our trip.
Thanks for keeping Griffin in your thoughts and prayers! We really appreciate your support and will keep you posted on his upcoming Left Ear Medpor Construction and Right Middle-Ear Implant surgeries. We also have a few more FUN-draisers planned for the fall to help with our medical expenses and will get you the details when we finalize everything. Griffin wanted to send you all a big hug and some knucks o()()()(). We love that guy!
Colin, Kristin, Griffin, and Jillian Oas
p.s. Sorry for the long blog. This trip was a roller-coaster in more ways than one:)
We are very excited to announce that Griffin has a new RIGHT EAR CANAL! Our journey to Griffin’s right ear canal construction with Dr. Joseph Roberson began on Wednesday, May 16, 2012…on the bench at Phoenix International Airport (PHX) eating Cheetos. Destination Palo Alto, CA! (See above pic left)
The flight was uneventful and Griffin loved every minute of it as always! We arrived at our hotel and unpacked for our two night stay and we were off to Griffin’s pre-op appointment at the California Ear Institute. The appointment went smoothly and they filled us in on the timeframe of the surgery in the morning. We also found out that Griffin’s new left ear canal was already hearing at just below the normal range and will only get better over time with healing. Dr. Roberson is hoping for normal hearing levels from the left ear over the next few months…REALLY GOOD STUFF!
Thursday morning we woke up early and checked Griffin in for his surgery at the Waverly Surgery Center at 6am. Mom and dad were again very nervous but Griffin was once again his very cool self. He was given the “sleepy” medicine again and we left him in the hands of Dr. Roberson. The canal surgery itself took about 4 hours and we were informed by Dr. Roberson that it was a success! Everything went great but Dr. Roberson discovered that Griffin is missing a tiny part of his stapes which is needed for hearing. Doc said that Griffin will need to have another surgery in about 6 months in order to achieve optimal hearing on his right side and he has done the procedure many times with great success. We couldn’t have been more relieved as our goal has always been for Griffin to hear normally without the use of a hearing aid. And on a brighter note, Dr. Roberson mentioned that we may be able to combine that surgery with Griffin’s right ear construction in November! You know what they say…when life hands you lemons, make margaritas:) We will keep you all posted on that surgery when we learn more on the process and schedule.
It’s truly amazing to us that a procedure of this magnitude is an outpatient surgery and that Griffin has bounced back so quickly following both surgeries…we definitely have one tough little dude on our hands! Above middle is a pic of Griffin and Kristin shortly after he woke up from the surgery.
Following our two night stay in the hotel (nearer the hospital), we were once again blessed to stay with the Malone family (cousin Shane, Ali, Josie, Peter, and Audrey) in Los Gatos, CA through our follow up appointment on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. Griffin and Jillian both had a blast playing with their cousins and it once again made for the best part of the trip. We love spending time with the Malone family and will hopefully see them again when we return for the implant procedure in the fall if all goes well. Above right is a pic of Griffin at the Malone house cutting off his bandage from the surgery…love that smile:)
We want to THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR GENEROSITY & LOVE SHOWN TO GRIFFIN during these first two surgeries. We couldn’t have gotten here without you and it really means the world to us! We still have a long road ahead of us with at least 3 more surgeries this summer to complete our journey to a new set of ears for Griffin so please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. We are also planning a few more FUN-draisers in the near future to help offset some of the medical expenses and will keep you posted on the dates and details of our upcoming events. Please call, email, text, facebook, or tweet us anytime.
Griffin sends you all a big hug and some knucks o()()()()
Colin, Kristin, Griffin and Jillian Oas
We wanted to let everyone know that Griffin’s first surgery (left ear canal construction) with Dr. Joseph Roberson WAS A SUCCESS!!! We have one surgery down and hopefully only 3 more to go (right ear canal, left medpor ear construction, right medpor ear construction) if all goes well to complete Griffin’s journey to a new set of ears.
Our left ear canal journey began with a plane ride for Griffin and myself (dad Colin) on Wednesday, March 21 from Phoenix, AZ to San Jose, CA. Griffin and dad flew up early that day for the Pre-Op appointment at the California Ear Institute with Dr. Roberson. They did a basic hearing test and gave us the timeline and information needed for the surgery scheduled at 7:30am the following morning. Kristin (mom) and Jillian (little sister) flew in later that evening with Aunt Kym Ott. For dinner that evening, Griffin requested Spaghetti, Tomato Sauce, Marshmallows, Garlic Bread, and Mint Ice Cream…WE LOVE THAT GUY!
We woke up early on Thursday, March 22 and got Griffin checked in at 6:30am. We walked into the Pre-Op area and Griffin was given some “sleepy” medicine to help his nerves (mom and dad’s too) prior to going in for surgery. Aunt Kym and Jillian arrived later in the morning and we were all anxious on word from Dr. Roberson. The surgery itself began around 8:30am and was completed around 10:30am and we were allowed to go back and see Griffin in the recovery room about 11:00am. He was still “sleeping” but looked great and had a big purple bandage wrapping his head. (See pic above) After about an hour in recovery, we were allowed to bring Griffin home! Simply amazing stuff!
We got back to the hotel and immediately had a bit of a scare as Griffin, in his groggy state, actually pushed up his bandage and managed to pull out his ear plug that was holding up the new canal and skin graft. We rushed back to Dr. Roberson’s office and he told us that if anything came loose, he may have to put Griffin back under to repair any damage. Those were a few VERY TENSE MOMENTS for mom and dad. After a few minutes of examining Griffin, Dr. Roberson smiled and informed us that he didn’t know how Griffin did it, but there was no damage and all he had to do was replace the ear plug! I am sure everyone in the waiting room heard our sigh of relief with the great news:)
Griffin had a follow up appointment on Tuesday, March 27 which went great! Dr. Roberson did a trim of the ear plug and skin graft bandage, gave us some words of encouragement that everything looked great and told us to call or email if we ever had any questions. He also said that it may take a few months for Griffin’s hearing to develop as the healing process is key to good hearing.
During our trip, we were very fortunate to have Aunt Kym fly up to help with any and everything. We were also able to stay with relatives Shane (Colin’s cousin) and Ali Malone who live in Los Gatos, CA, about 15 minutes from Palo Alto, CA. Griffin and Jillian had a REALLY GREAT TIME playing with their second-cousins Josie, Peter, and Audrey and it couldn’t have been a better weekend. We are looking forward to staying with them again on our next trip up to Silicon Valley in a few months!
We have scheduled Griffin’s right ear canal construction with Dr. Roberson for Thursday, May 17, 2012. We really appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and support and will keep you posted on Griffin’s progress. He is really doing great and wanted to send you all a BIG HUG and some KNUCKS! o()()()()
Colin, Kristin, Griffin and Jillian Oas
Welcome to GriffinHears.com and thanks for visiting! This site is set up to provide you with an insight into Bilateral Microtia and Atresia and to give you a little glimpse into the life of a cool little dude named Griffin. Thanks again for joining us on Griffin’s journey to a new set of ears.
We really appreciate it!
Colin, Kristin, Griffin, Jillian, and Maximus (the puggle)