The eleven-year-old Jessica goes through a magical transformation… Scroll down to see the result…

But it also has a beautiful side, as it tells the true story of a young girl who, after years of coping with a deformed face, is finally beginning to step into the opening lines of a fairy tale, with the assistance of her pediatric plastic surgeon prince, John Polley, MD. This story is based on a true event.

Jessica Jaskowiak was born with Crouzon syndrome, a disorder that causes facial bone development to be stunted. As a result of this illness, she suffered from protruding eyes, poor hearing and speech, as well as difficulty in breathing and chewing.

Recently, the Illinois resident, who is 11 years old, went to the Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for an operation that lasted for six hours. This caused a significant alteration in the situation.

What exactly is the purpose of Dr. Polley? In order to bring Jessica’s face and forehead forward, a stiff external distraction device, also known as a RED device, will need to be installed.

The family has been anticipating this day for the last 11 years, all the while wondering how their daughter’s life would be altered as a result of the operation.

Spectrum Health Beat was invited by Jessica’s parents, Lynn and Paul, to document the remarkable progress their daughter made from the time before her operation till after it.

Lynn said that “We don’t mind sharing this story because there are so many people out there who have similar experiences.” “We don’t mind sharing this story because there are so many people out there who have similar experiences,” “Families of all shapes and sizes are experiencing hardships, and you want to assist in some way. You are making the people around you more understanding of children who are dealing with certain sorts of difficulties, and you are helping to generate a little bit more awareness.

Pre-op prep
On a warm Monday in the month of August, Jessica, Lynn, and Paul show up at the office of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Plastic Surgery at 426 Michigan Street for their appointment with Dr. Polley at 2:00 p.m.

Jessica jumps into the office and makes a beeline for the receptionist’s desk, despite the fact that she is nervous about the operation scheduled for the following day.

She brings with her a box full of books, puzzles, and games that she intends to donate to the waiting area of Dr. Polley’s office via the charitable organization that her mother founded, Project Angel Eyes.

Lynn has observed that “she is just so compassionate and caring, and she worries so much about other kids.” “She simply naturally exudes an air of maternal concern. I believe this is because she has had such a large number of people looking out for her, including her instructors, therapists, and other individuals who have been a part of her life. She is always looking for ways to be of assistance.”

Lynn and Paul had some idea that Jessica might reach this point in her life at some point in the not-too-distant future.

“We’ve known pretty much since the day she was born that this was pretty much the course,” Lynn says as she thinks back on their experience. When Jess was between the ages of two and three, we began seeing Dr. Polley. We were aware that we need a surgeon who specialized in this particular procedure and who performed more than a few of these procedures annually.

Dr. Polley is a trailblazer in the area of pediatric plastic surgery. He is responsible for the development of both the method and the distraction device that are necessary to carry out this life-altering operation.

According to this notion, Dr. Polley will cut or shatter bone in the problematic location, which would then cause the body to respond by growing new bone. He then fastens metal plates and a halo-like device to the region, both of which gradually stretch it and finally cause the body to produce additional bone.

Dr. Polley states that in the case of Jessica, “we are going to advance her entire face as well as her forehead.” “Everything from the top of the head to the lower jaw is going to come forward,” the doctor said. Jessica is scheduled to undergo the treatment that is considered to be the most significant and extensive one that we do in the field of pediatric plastic surgery. Should everything go according to plan, the payoffs will be substantial. We will be able to completely alter her appearance.”

After the pre-op appointment, in which he discusses the procedures that will take place the following day with Lynn and Paul, Dr. Polley gives Jessica a hug. They were willing to be photographed.

“She’s Hollywood all the way,” Dr. Polley adds while chuckling. “She’s got it all.”

Jessica asks him to have a peek inside the box of treats that she brought with her.

Dr. Polley sneaks behind the receptionist’s desk, pulls books and puzzles from the box, and compliments Jessica on her kindness. This is in direct opposition to Lynn and Paul’s attempts to let him depart on the pretext that he has a “busy schedule.”

She smiles as she leaves the workplace and heads out to get the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich in the city before the fasting period starts at midnight. In the latter hours, Jessica goes to sleep in the Renucci Hospitality House with the rest of her family.

Lynn doesn’t sleep well. Her excitement for what the following day may bring makes her head race. There are many parents whose children are having intricate operations who find that the emotional toll of these treatments is worse on themselves than it is on their children.

Dawn comes to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital early in the morning on the day of surgery. Together with it, Jessica, her stuffed lamb, Lynn, and Paul make their way to the registration area for the Level A surgery.

It has been suggested that Jessica goes to Room 3. She dons a Garfield medical gown when she arrives at the facility. A nurse demonstrates the available socks. Yellow is her go-to hue, so that’s what she chooses. The nurse then offers her a selection of cuddly animals to choose from. Lambie’s puppy friend “Spunky” ends up being her constant companion.

As Paul cradles his daughter in his arms, he tells her, “Your major assignment for the day is to take it easy.”

The nursing staff member goes through the process with the patient’s relatives. The anesthesiologist and Dr. Polley come into the operating room.

Following the administration of the initial sedative by the anesthesiologist, Jessica begins to feel woozy.

After giving her daughter a peck on the cheek and a kiss on the forehead, Lynn quickly puts on a surgical gown and a mask so that she would be prepared to accompany her daughter into the operating room.

Jessica observes to her friend when her eyes are partially covered, “You look like a doctor girl now.”

The soundtrack to “Frozen” from Disney may be heard playing on the television in each room. It seems as if the words capture the sentiment perfectly: “For the first time in forever, why am I so ready for this change?”

In the hospital’s operating room, Lynn walks alongside Jessica’s bed as it is wheeled into the room. Jessica is having surgery. During the time that her daughter is being sedated by the anesthesiologist, she is seated on a stool and holding Jessica’s hand.

Lynn responds, “I’ll just be glad when it’s over,” which shows her level of relief.

As she gives Jessica’s face a kiss, she is aware that Jessica’s face is about to undergo a change that has been in the works for a very long time.

She says to Dr. Polley and the rest of the surgical team, “Take good care of my girl,” as she walks out of the operating room with a prayer in her heart.

Lambie and Spunky are the ones that are the very last to go. Jessica’s surgeries have all been completed with Lambie at her side. This time, Lambie waits on a gurney in the corridor outside of the operating room.

Dr. John Girotto, MD, a fellow pediatric plastic surgeon at Spectrum Health Medical Group, is one of the members of the surgical team. Dr. Polley, who is sporting large vintage spectacles, is in command of the surgical team.

It takes over an hour and a half to prepare, which includes sectioning and braiding Jessica’s hair, meticulously washing every inch of the child’s head, marking, and sewing her eyes shut.

Dr. Girotto examines a three-dimensional model that is shown on the screen of the computer and examines the locations where crucial incisions will be performed.

He tells what will go on in the subsequent events.

On the crown of Jessica’s skull, Dr. Polley creates a cut in the skin with his scalpel. In order to soak up the blood, he positions surgical sponges all around the wound.

On Jessica’s forehead, he performs a time-consuming process in which he cuts under the incision and under the skin. After attaching clips to the scalp, Drs. Polley and Girotto peeled back the patient’s skin and moved it away from the bone.

Dr. Girotto provides some insight into the upcoming events. A neurosurgeon at Spectrum Health named Lawrence Foody, MD, is going to make an incision through Jessica’s skull bone, but he is going to be very cautious to avoid her brain.

This particular group of pediatric surgeons does not take pauses for meals. There are also no restroom breaks allowed. They proceed with a purpose, which includes carrying out an elaborate sequence of calculated actions in accordance with the overall strategy for this operation.

A metal plate is placed by Dr. Polley over the opening that was made in Jessica’s skull. The majority of the bone development will take place in this region. He then screws the plate into the skull bone furthermore firmly so that it won’t move.

After that, he places a screw in each of the eyebrows. After roughly a week of the patient’s wounds healing, Dr. Polley will place the metal halo, and here is where the wires will connect to it.

Robert Mann, MD, a pediatric plastic surgeon who also works for Spectrum Health Medical Group, comes over to check on how things are doing.

Dr. Mann notes that before Dr. Polley developed his approach, this kind of surgery was risky because of the possibility of contracting an infection during the procedure.

The method performed by Dr. Polley moves the tissues gently, giving them enough opportunity to adapt.

After the halo has been attached to the patient’s head, Lynn and Paul will turn screws to gradually adjust the halo over the course of several weeks so that it stimulates bone growth at a rate of approximately one millimeter per day.

Dr. Mann said that “this would not have been possible without Dr. Polley’s innovative thinking.” When you have a youngster that stands out from the crowd, he is the person you should consult.

Wrapping up
It’s been well over five hours since Jessica was rolled into the surgery room on the wheeled hospital bed.

After what seems like an eternity, Dr. Polley gives himself a break and sits down.

He adds, “I’m already going over the surgery in my mind,” and that’s exactly what he’s doing. “This is a very meticulous procedure. The team performed a wonderful job overall. This turned out well, even if we won’t be able to rejoice until the task is completed. Jessica performed really well.”

Dr. Polley compliments the crew soon after 2:00 p.m. while they are washing Jessica’s hair and cleaning her face in the operating room. “Great job, you guys,” he says.

He exits the operating room, removes his mask and robe, and then gets ready to meet with Lynn and Paul.

As they sat in the conference room, the parents give off the appearance of being exhausted. On one of the longest days of their life, they were exhausted, but also relieved and apprehensively delighted.

The door is opened, and Dr. Polley walks in and sits down. His larger surgical spectacles have been swapped out for a pair of street glasses.

He reassures the pair by saying, “She’s doing great,” at which point they heave a collective sigh. “There is no way that it could have gone any better. I’m not going to pop the champagne cork just yet, but this was a significant obstacle that we needed to overcome, and we succeeded.”

He elucidates the following measures to be taken. After the halo has been attached to the patient’s head, Lynn and Paul will have to turn the screws twice daily in order to stretch the skull and stimulate bone growth.

They are both feeling a bit worried, but they are both also fully aware of the path that lies ahead of them, and they know that they are in this together.

Dr. Polley assures them that one month from now, they will have completed their transformation.

Paul takes a little break as his thoughts wander to both the recent past and the years to come.

He predicts that it will be gone in a flash. These last 11 years have flown by in a flash.

They are grateful to the excellent physician. During the time when Jessica is in recovery, they go back to the waiting area for surgical procedures.

Their dreams and their prayers have been answered, and the happy conclusion to their story has finally begun to take shape.

Jessica Jaskowiak was born with Crouzon syndrome, a condition that stunts facial bone growth. She has always suffered from bulging eyes, impaired hearing and speech, as well as breathing and chewing difficulties. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Jessica and her mom Lynn hug at their pre-op appointment with pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. John Polley. “We don’t mind sharing this story because there are so many people out there who have similar experiences,” Lynn said. “All kinds of families are going through things and you want to help somehow.” (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

“Jessica is going to have the biggest procedure we do in pediatric plastic surgery in terms of magnitude and extent of surgery,” says Dr. Polley. “If things go well, the rewards will be great. We’ll be able to really transform her.” (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Dr. Polley and Jessica hug after the pre-op appointment. They pose for photos. “She’s Hollywood all the way,” Dr. Polley says. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

“Your big job today is to relax,” Paul tells Jessica as he cradles her in his arms while they wait in the pre-op room. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

“We’ve known since the day she was born that this was pretty much the course,” Lynn recalls. “We connected with Dr. Polley when Jess was 2 or 3. We knew we needed somebody who lived and breathed this surgery, someone who didn’t just do a couple of these a year.” (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Lynn holds her daughter’s face, a face she will never see again. After surgery, she will see the beginning of a new, transformed face. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Jessica poses for a photo taken by her mom moments before she is wheeled to the operating room. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Lynn sits on a stool holding Jessica’s hand as the anesthesiologist sedates her daughter. “I’ll just be glad when it’s over,” Lynn says. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

ÒTake good care of my girl,” Lynn says to Dr. Polley and the surgical team as she leaves the room. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Dr. Lawrence Foody, left, and pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. John Girotto study a 3-D model on the computer screen. Foody, a Spectrum Health neurosurgeon, will cut through the bone of Jessica’s skull, being careful to avoid the brain. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

The theory is, Dr. Polley breaks or cuts bone in the affected area, which signals the body to grow more bone. He attaches metal plates and a halo device, which slowly stretch the area, ultimately making the body create more bone. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Surgery begins after 90 minutes of prep that includes separating and braiding Jessica’s hair, cleaning every inch of the child’s skull, marking, and sewing her eyelids shut. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

An overhead camera captures video as Dr. Polley cuts through the skin on top of Jessica’s head. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

In a tedious procedure, Dr. Polley cuts under the incision and under the skin on Jessica’s forehead.He and Dr. Girotto put clips in place, then peel the skin down and away from the skull. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Dr. Polley, wearing oversized retro glasses, and Dr. John Girotto, left, work together as a team. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Dr. Polley places the halo device over Jessica’s forehead. Wires will be attached to the screws that have been put in metal plates under the skin. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Over the course of several weeks, after wires are attached, Lynn and Paul will turn screws that will slowly adjust the halo to promote bone growth of about 1 millimeter per day. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

“She’s doing great,” Dr. Polley tells Lynn and Paul. “It couldn’t have gone any better.” (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Lynn offers a comforting touch as Jessica rests the day after surgery. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

On the second day following surgery, Jessica is able to sit up and take medication orally. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Jessica asks her dad Paul to hold her as she tries to sleep two days following the 5-hour surgery. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

“I love you mommy.” says Jessica. “I love you Jess,” says Lynn with a kiss. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

Wires have been attached to the halo device by Jessica’s Chicago area doctor. The transformation has begun. (Photo courtesy of Paul and Lynn Jaskowiak)

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *