I have had several questions lately as to how this all happened and what I have been through thus far. This started when I was eight months old and the only area affected was my subglottic airway (my supraglottic airway didn't collapse until February/March 2013). I had at a very young age (around 13 months) a resection and reconstruction using cartilage and bone from my ribs. I had a tracheostomy at this time up until the age of four years old. In the interim there were other procedures performed but I believe that they weren't resections or reconstructions. When I was decannulated at the age of four I did really well. My voice was ruined but oh well, I could breathe. At the age of 12 my airway collapsed again and I underwent emergency surgery and got a tracheostomy again on December 7, 1997. From that time up until my trach was removed six years later (on August 7, 2003) I underwent numerous surgeries and actually spent more time in the hospital then I did in Junior High and High School during that time. Those surgeries included five, that I know of, resections/reconstructions. I had everything from removing small, incremental portions (but not full rings) and grafting in more bone/cartilage from my ribs, to having full segments removed and rebuilt from my ribs and even cartilage from my ear at one point. Three times these resections/reconstructions included me being medically paralyzed and in a coma, with my chin stitched to my chest, to avoid me moving in the slightest that could have possibly torn all of the repairs. Each time I woke up still paralyzed and had to go through intense physical therapy to gain back all muscle movements. Through all of these reconstructions I was able to become trach free again when I was 18. At that point I had had a trach for a total of almost ten years of my life. At the age of 22 I underwent a semi voluntary reconstruction/resection as I was at the age where my lifelong Pediatric ENT was no longer able to see me. I remained trach free through this surgery. I was then healthy (and even went through a twin pregnancy and a singleton pregnancy and now have my three beautiful children) up until the end of 2012/beginning of 2013 when I began to feel like things were changing in my airway. I kept telling myself that I was just sick as it felt different then all of the other times my airway had collapsed. Turns out it felt different because it was now my supraglottic airway (which I had never had a single problem with outside of scarred and nonmoving vocal cords). In April/May of 2013 I underwent a form of a resection called an arytenoidectomy where they removed a large portion of (I think) my left arytenoid (however, it could be my right one, my memory is really bad from all of the medicines). I actually recovered quite well and was feeling relatively well when in August we discovered that my supraglottic airway was the size of a coffee stirring straw. Through several, close together, surgeries I ultimately ended up with a tracheostomy for safety and to remove the risk of my airway suddenly totally collapsing and me dying. As my scopes and CT scan show now it is a good thing that I had it because I did suffer that collapse and it could have been really bad had I not had my tracheostomy.
This brings us to today where I have another surgery, my 74th, scheduled for January 21, 2014. This surgery will give us insight as to what exactly is collapsed, what structures are involved and how we may possibly treat this. I'm hoping for the best but am finally at a point where I can get through a day without severe pain, bleeding or crying (most days). While I can't function like I used to (I can't really talk, I get really bad headaches from lack of oxygen, can't walk far, work and several "normal" daily activities are really difficult) I'm thankful that at this point that I had/have the trach as it literally means I am alive.