North Texas Daily

Whispers of hope: Dax’s procedure shows promise

Whispers of hope: Dax’s procedure shows promise

January 21
03:00 2016

Matt Payne | Copy Editor

@MattePaper

As the Thakkers awaited the arrival of their family’s ear, nose and throat doctor, mother Lisa enthusiastically tapped a thumb and her index fingers together next to her son Dax’s ear.

Dax had a faint quirk in his eye. His mother wore an eager smile.

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“A few months ago, he couldn’t hear a thing,” Lisa said. “Now he can hear it when I come up really close. I think we’re in a really good spot.”

In the same building where the first of a series of surgeries took place on a rainy Halloween evening, parents Lisa and Anooj Thakker found themselves anticipating the follow-up appointment for their 7-year-old son Dax, who is currently undergoing treatment for an ear condition that affects only a handful of people: congenital cholesteatoma.

The Thakkers have a reason to hope for favorable circumstances since the family’s status this past fall. Things before Dax’s operation in October were precarious and uncertain, but Dax’s parents now have reason to start hoping for the best in the reparation of his hearing.

Lisa and Anooj Thakker hope for good news while Dr. Paul Bauer removes the cloth packing from Dax’s ear. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Lisa and Anooj Thakker hope for good news while Dr. Paul Bauer removes the cloth packing from Dax’s ear. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Lisa and Anooj began to deliberate on the possible results of their appointment as they waited for Dr. Paul Bauer, Dax’s practitioner, who has 20 years of experience in the ENT field. During the past three months of living with cloth packing protecting Dax’s ear as it recovered, the child and his parents were warned to stay away from strenuous activity. The prosthetic pieces in Dax’s left ear would risk the chance of damage.

Despite these precautions, Dax’s father Anooj doesn’t think Dax’s daily routine has been hurt.

Since Christmas day over the past winter break, the 7-year-old’s latest vice has been a “super-rad” bicycle, complete with a metal rod on the rear tire that makes sparks fly upon forcible contact to pavement. Between soccer, elaborate Minecraft mods and persistent couch gymnastics with his younger sister Olive, Dax is known to many as “quite the daredevil.”

“I wouldn’t say he’s missed out on anything,” Anooj said. “Sometimes we hardly ever think about his condition. And you can’t even tell he has it.”

Dr. Paul Bauer carefully pulls out the cloth packing from Dax Thakker’s ear. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Dr. Paul Bauer carefully pulls out the cloth packing from Dax Thakker’s ear. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Now, Bauer had arrived to perform the removal of the packing and led him and his parents to the procedure room. Lisa was close to her son’s side throughout the entire 15-minute procedure, through every one of Dax’s moans of pain.

Following the meticulous removal of the pad, Dax’s ear completely exposed, Bauer announced he was impressed by the progress.

“It’s notable how well his ear has started to return to a state of normalcy,” Bauer said.

Bauer then led Lisa, Anooj and Dax to the X-ray room, which afforded a closer look into the structural integrity of Dax’s left eardrum. Bewildered, the practitioner performing the scan on his ear had to exchange a few words with Bauer. The ear’s condition seemed too normal.

“What am I supposed to be looking for again?” the practitioner said.

From the minor cues of subtle tapping next to his left ear and the follow-up appointment just completed, it can safely be said that Dax’s left ear, recovering from the presence of a malignant tumor deteriorating his eardrum, is showing startling signs of promise in recovery.

Dax and his mother Lisa Thakker smile at each other after receiving the good news that his eardrum looks great after looking at the x­ray results. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Dax and his mother Lisa Thakker smile at each other after receiving the good news that his eardrum looks great after looking at the x­ray results. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

So much so that Bauer has started to question the possibility of actually needing to perform a traditional surgery. Dax will have a checkup prior to the planned surgery in April to determine whether operation is necessary.

Nevertheless, Bauer remains cautiously skeptical. Although the success rate for Dax’s full recovery remains notably high, no standard procedure has been ruled out.

“I’m the eternal pessimist,” Bauer said. ”I’m not happy until we’re good years down the road.”

Featured Image: After the packing has been removed from Dax Thakker’s ear, an x­ray is done to make sure his ear drum has not been damaged. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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