The short version (all I have energy for) is as follows:
- Dr. Waner doesn't believe her hemangioma will ever go away completely. Ever. And it will likely be a slow involution at any rate, meaning yes, it'll still be obvious when she's 8, 9, 10...
- Our laser doctor probably should have referred us to a surgeon (or at least discussed the idea) once her hemangioma got so puffy, as in beyond the scope of what a laser can really do. That irks me a bit. The initial laser doctor we saw (who ended up not taking our insurance) often refers patients to Dr. Waner. We looked into surgery all on our own. Not that it changes any outcome, just that it was a pain in the ass driving into NYC that much.
- If we elect surgery, it would be an hour-long, outpatient procedure and after 24 hours Andra would not know the difference (as in, the recovery is minimal).
- The best time to do the surgery is now up to 18 months (June) because the tumors (and/or the babies, I was confused) have more stem cells then and that will minimize any scarring (which would be minimal anyway).
- We have to wait about 30 days to hear from our insurance company whether or not they will pre-authorize the procedure. Even if they do, that doesn't actually mean they will end up paying. But, supposedly the hospital is in network and they would pay the hosiptal costs, just not the doctor's fee, which is $8500. So presumably $8500 would be the maximum we would have to pay, 20%of that would be the minumum. Cheaper than we'd expected, not so expensive that money will factor into our decision.
- Our decision is likely to go ahead and do the surgery. As early as late September, they said. We could have gone ahead and scheduled it...I needed time to just process for a few days. As much as I don't want Andra teased, etc., it's part of her and I will miss it, it will be gone so suddenly.
- We liked the doctor. He has done a lot for kids disfigured by vascular birthmarks and doesn't turn anyone away if they can't pay.
- Andra will be the same smiley kid with or without the hemangioma.
"If you came to me with a big juicy red thing in the middle of your face and I slapped you on the back and said, 'Don't worry, come back in five years,' how would you feel?" asked Dr. Milton Waner, co-director of the Vascular Birthmarks Institute of New York, at Beth Israel, which this month was host of a meeting of physicians on treatment and research. "How can you talk to a child that way?"