Bump? What bump?Remember how I posted about the bump on Hudson's head back in September? Well, a lot has changed since then...
As it continued to grow daily, I became more and more concerned about the proximity to his eye structures. I decided to use the "just in case we wanted to" referral from our pediatrician to take Hudson to a pediatric dermatologist who specializes in vascular birthmarks.
We felt even more at ease about the situation after visiting with Dr. H. While she couldn't predict how large it would grow or how long it would take to get to the point where it would start to shrink on it's own, she was 100% certain that it was in fact a hemangioma. She even said that the fact that the more significant growth was happening under the skin (rather than the red part growing on top of the skin) was a good thing because typically what remains after the hemangioma goes away is much less noticeable in that scenario. Apparently the skin on the head/face can stretch quite a bit without causing any damage, but if the red part of his mark grew larger and puffed out more, that could cause some permanent loose skin after it shrinks in size.
I couldn't help but feel a little silly for wanting to have him checked out by a specialist. After all, we have had our fair share of specialist appointments for more complicated things than a growing birth mark. And it was funny because almost every nurse that we saw prior to our appointments with Dr. H must have assumed I was a scared new mom blowing things out of proportion. "Is this your first baby?" they'd politely yet semi-patronizingly ask as if they already knew the answer. Each time, they seemed surprised when I said it was actually my 3rd.
I don't know, maybe we are MORE cautious and cognizant of the small things with all of the big things we've been accustomed to dealing with. Either way, we left our initial visit with Dr. H with some reassurance, but another "wait and see" plan in place.
A month later we revisited Dr. H for our follow up. She was surprised to see how much the bump had grown. She agreed at this visit that with it encroaching more and more on the eye area, perhaps we should consider a a course of treatment rather than just letting it continue to grow and go away on its own. We had mixed emotions about this -- sure, we wanted to see this getting-larger-by-the-minute bump go away, especially if it was beginning to make his eyelid droop a bit, but the medication that Dr. H proposed seemed kind of risky. Propranolol is a prescription used in adults to lower blood pressure. During the usage of this medication, medical professionals noticed that when given to patients who happened to have hemangiomas as well, the size of their marks decreased dramatically. While it is currently not an FDA approved use of the medication, propranolol is given to dermatological patients with hemangiomas requiring treatment.
We considered the risks and the benefits and decided to move forward with giving Hudson the medicine. In order to do so, he had to have an EKG to check for any heart issues and will need blood pressure and blood sugar monitoring monthly during his course of treatment. Because the medicine is designed to lower blood pressure, infants and children are given a minimal dose to start with and have their pressure and sugar checked 2 weeks after the first dose. Once it is seen to be normal, the doses gradually increase.
As you can imagine we were paranoid about side effects so Ricky and I watched Hudson like a hawk. Every little wince or cry or if he had cold hands immediately made us question if it was the medicine. We did have a scare which sent us to the hospital, but luckily(?) it turned out to be RSV and not related to the propronolol.
Fast forward 6 weeks. Hudson has been taking the med twice daily since the end of October with amazing results. In the first 48 hours(!) the size of the hemangioma shrunk significantly. We could hardly believe it. Now, what was once the size of a golf ball is barely noticeable at all. Not only has the bump decreased to next to nothing, but the red mark that had gotten to be a very dark shade of maroon is now the same dusty pink we saw in his newborn photos.
We are so happy with the results and glad we made the decision to go forward with treatment!