Kristi Kristi L. Martindale
Born April 22, 1989
Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate
April 22nd, 1989, Kristi Lynn Martindale was born at 6:17 am at Portsmouth General Hospital. "It's a girl!" is what they told me . . . but the doctors and nurses whisked my baby to the other side of the room.

"I want to see her!" I said.

Then I was told, "She has cleft lip. Some people refer to her condition as hair lip. There are special physicians to perform plastic surgery to repair her problem. " Kristi was diagnosed with Unilateral Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate.

A woman from the Tidewater Cleft Guild came to visit me in the hospital. She brought pictures of her son. before and after his surgeries, and, yes he did look better. I spent the next week in a state of despair, wondering what my daughter's future would be like.

Then I met Dr. William Magee in Norfolk. He examined Kristi and told me that when she weighed ten pounds and was ten weeks old, he would do the first surgery. This would repair her cleft lip. He continued to explain that when she became ten months old, he would schedule her for the cleft palate repair. He gave me a blue card with office, home and pager telephone numbers, which I still carry in my purse. He told me not to worry because he had helped a lot of other children locally and around the world with Operation Smile. He reassured me that I was not alone with this problem, and the future was not as bleak as I imagined. His words of comfort contained this phrase, "You can call me any tune, day or night, if you have any concerns about Kristi."

Now it's 1997 and almost eight years later. Several surgeries have come and gone, and there are more surgeries in the future. My daughter has been through a lot more than the average child. A strong soul, she is, indeed! Bette Midler sings it best in her song, " You Are My Hero".

Terri Lynn Martindale
Tel: (757)465-3926

 
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