Why My Two Year Old Needed a Tonsillectomy

beau ENT appt

My son’s ENT doctor first mentioned the possibility of a tonsillectomy right after she removed his adenoids this past spring. It was not exactly what a mother wanted to hear as her 20-month-old son was waking up from anesthesia. But I filed that information into the back of my mind, along with an overwhelming amount of other mothering advice, and focused on getting him through the adenoidectomy recovery period, which was rocky because he came down with a cold the day before surgery that intensified post surgery, resulting in double eardrum ruptures and wheezing.

This past summer, I hoped that he’d get a break from sickness the same way he did the previous summer. But unfortunately, he was sick as much as he was well this past summer. His tonsils were a size three at his two-year wellness visit, and I tried every naturopath remedy I could find to help combat the constant colds and infections and wheezing, because it seemed that it all had to tie in to his enlarged tonsils and his little body as a whole. Every day for a couple months, I gave him elderberry syrup, bovine colostrum (for low IgG levels), whole food vitamins and probiotics chewables. We also cut out all dairy and took him for weekly chiropractic adjustments to help clear his ears and avoid more infections. I was determined to do anything in my power to heal him naturally without more antibiotics and steroids and surgeries.


Unfortunately, my efforts did little to stop more infections of the ears and sinuses or the growth of his tonsils. By mid-fall, they had enlarged to a size four and I knew surgery was eminent, especially after I referenced the tonsils size chart and realized just how obstructed his breathing was from his tonsils. The ENT doctor said they prefer to wait until children are four years old to perform tonsillectomies, but given the state of our newly two-year-old’s tonsils, we were advised to move forward with surgery by the end of this year. I had done enough research and naturopathic trials to agree that this was now our final option. I’ve read that the tonsils often shrink with age, especially as kids reach the preteen years, but we couldn’t afford to wait that long for his little body to figure things out.

We scheduled a tonsillectomy (and the replacement of one ear tube that had fallen out) for early December. Then around the end of October, he was hit with a round of antibiotics for strep throat, breathing treatments for wheezing and a dose of steroids for restricted airways. Five days into this regime, persistent congestion and cough led me to take him back to the pediatrician, where I learned he had developed an ear infection while on antibiotics. It’s a scary feeling when you realize your child is becoming resistant to antibiotics. Apart from the resistance, he has also developed a rash to two oral antibiotics and hives to an antibiotic injection. So given his antibiotic sensitivities as well as ineffectiveness, I knew I had to bump his surgery up to avoid the use of more antibiotics. I could also tell the size of his tonsils alarmed the pediatrician who saw him that day, as she urged me to push to move up his tonsillectomy to that same week, citing urgency with our ENT.

One week later, nurses at our local children’s hospital carried him away toward the operating room kicking and screaming with every bit of energy he could muster.

For other moms who are interested in a breakdown of two-year-old life after a tonsillectomy, read this post.

beau walking hospital gown