When I first learned of Rotaplast, my thoughts were of all the children that needed their services to repair cleft lips and palates. I knew there were some adults but was not prepared for the number of adults that have come into our clinic seeking help. Of the 8 surgeries today, 6 of them are adults. They come for a variety of reasons:
- They had a cleft lip repaired as a child but were told they couldn’t fix their cleft palate.
- They had a cleft lip or palate surgery when younger but it was not done well and they still have issues with breathing, eating, and/or speaking clearly.
- They had a cleft lip or palate repaired when younger that was not done well and they have a large scar or deformity that affects their quality of life.
Diana is 32 years old. She moved to this area of Columbia 14 years ago. Her mother travelled by bus for 12 hours to be here with her today. She was born with a cleft lip and palate. As a child, the teacher said she was not allowed to go to school because of her condition. No one could understand her speech so Diana just didn’t talk. The other children bullied her as well. When she was 16, she got the surgery to correct her lip & palate. She said that she likes who she is now. She will talk, even if people don’t understand her completely. Diana says that no one will hire her for a job because of her condition. She babysits 2 boys at her house. She has no children of her own. She is hoping to be able to get a job outside of her house after her surgery. She is very emotional about her surgery. She is nervous, anxious, and happy all at once. Diana is so grateful to Rotaplast that she made the card pictured below while waiting for surgery. Surgery- ABBE flap with nasal revision. Photos: intake picture; Thank you card to Rotaplast; Dr. DeLaney doing a pre-op exam
Brayan is 23 years old. He was born with a cleft palate that has never been repaired because the family couldn’t afford it. When Brayan was born, is father left his mom with four children to raise by herself. He didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of Brayan. His mom tried to get assistance with a surgery for him before but no one would help her. Though he has a large cleft palate, he is able to eat O.K. but only his mother can understand his speech. Mom says he cannot get a job because his brain is like a child. She recently found out that she has cancer. Mom was supposed to meet with her doctor today to discuss chemotherapy but she said that Brayan comes first so she brought him here for his surgery. Brayan’s older sister is going to stay with him at the hospital tomorrow so Mom can go to the doctor. She cried as she told us in Spanish, “God bless Rotaplast for all the help you have given my son.” Surgery- primary palate repair. Photos: intake picture; pre-op excitement
Ruben is 14 years old. When he was born, his mother didn’t want him and left him at the hospital with the nurses. The grandmother then took him and has been raising him. At about 5 months old, his mother started coming occasionally to visit. When he was younger, Ruben had a surgery to fix his cleft lip. However, they didn’t close the hole into his nose from his mouth and food goes into his nose. A friend of Ruben’s grandmother saw the sign for this event at a hospital where they live and told them about it. They travelled 8 hours by bus hoping Rotaplast would accept him for surgery. They are grateful that he was chosen. While waiting for surgery, Ruben was playing a combat game on his phone. He said that he is good at it and wants to join the army one day. Grandma wants him to go into the medical field. No matter what he ultimately decides to do for work, they first thank God then Rotaplast for this opportunity. Grandma cried with gratitude as she thanked Rotaplast for everything they are doing for everyone. Surgery- nasolabial fistula with dental extraction. Photos: intake picture; Craig and Ruben bonding over motorcycles; Ruben and his grandmother
Marcela, age 18- tip rhinoplasty and revision of lip. Photos: intake picture; David Rowen, CRNA giving nurses post-op information; Mom giving her water in the recovery room; going home with Mom
Blanca, age 44- redo lip repair. Photos: intake picture; pre-op with nurse Margoth; post-op picture
Nelson, age 27- palate and lip revision. Photos: intake picture; recovery room with mom; posing with Mom and Craig before transferring to a room.
Marta, age 36- primary palate repair. Photos: intake picture; Mom with Marta in recovery room
Sara, age 15- palate revision with pharyngeal flap. Photos: intake picture; Bonita holding her hand while she got the IV (she was nervous); holding her new teddy bear waiting for surgery.
Rotaplast changes lives of both children and adults . . . and their families.