Eight-year-old among 11 kids to undergo facial surgery in PE
After enduring seven surgeries in his short life, Deano Ahgoo was expected to be in tears yesterday morning, but when his mother Sally woke him up, the little boy was unable to contain his excitement – by the end of the week, he will have a new nose.
Deano, 8, was born with a cleft lip and palate as well as an underdeveloped nose and lips.
He is one of the 11 young patients being given facial reconstruction surgery during the Smile Foundation’s Smile Week at Provincial Hospital this week.
Smile Foundation chief executive Moira Gertz, Port Elizabeth coordinator Tanya Jackson and nurses were completely taken with the brave little boy’s antics in the hospital passage yesterday as he ran and jumped, trying to catch the red balloons decorating the ward.
He was booking in for his surgery later this week.
It seemed that very little could stop the vibrant child from “running his neighbourhood” in Arcadia where the Ahgoos live, his dad Fernando said.
“When he was born his mom was very shocked,” Fernando said.
“She didn’t want anybody else to look at him. I said for me all that counted was that he was healthy and that he was ours.”
Since his birth doctors have fixed his cleft palate and cleft lip, created bigger lips for him and started building up his nose.
Tomorrow, the head of plastic surgery at Port Elizabeth’s Provincial Hospital, Dr Chris van der Walt, will perform surgery to build up the tip of his nose.
The resilient child had constantly surprised his parents, they said. “Once he had to come in for an operation where his mouth was literally sewn shut except for a little hole for food,” Fernando said. “Half an hour after that surgery, he was eating viennas and laughing.
Even the doctor came to see what he was doing – he was just stuffing viennas into his mouth.” Sally said: “Whatever the children are playing, whether it is marbles or flying a kite, Fernando is the best. He is a real boys’ boy.
“The children come to fetch him in the house to play with him.”
She said she was very thankful to live in a community where Deano was not teased about his appearance, and Deano was very protected in their neighbourhood.
“Sometimes when he has stitches in his face, strangers will look at me as if I have hurt him,” she said.
While she was worried about the surgery, where doctors will extract a piece of rib to build up his nose, Deano was very excited.
“This is the first time he actually asked to come to the hospital. He is very excited . . . Deano was insistent that he wanted the surgery done,” she said.
Fernando said: “It has been a hard journey for us. However, Deano was the one who kept the family going. He has two brothers and a sister. I must give 100% credit to the hospital and Dr Van der Walt for looking after him so well.”