(DALLAS) -- Three-year-old Emily Thomas will no longer be able to communicate vocally for as long as she lives after undergoing a life-saving surgery, a permanent tracheotomy.
For the child's mother, Amber Thomas, it was the only choice. But it also meant silencing one of the only sounds her daughter could make.
Emily's communication has been limited ever since she had a stroke at 10 days old, but her mother said they always found a way to talk. But two weeks ago, the vivacious 3-year-old from Tyler, Texas caught a common cold and nearly suffocated.
She was airlifted to the Children's Medical Center in Dallas where Thomas and doctors watched over the toddler, trying to help her regain her health before she underwent a permanent tracheotomy.
On Tuesday, Emily had her last laugh. Doctors created a hole in Emily's throat and inserted a tube leading directly to her trachea.
Although she has had a few setbacks in recovery, Emily began to breathe on her own Thursday and was taken off a ventilator.
Recovery will continue to be an uphill battle, as will adjusting to life without that sweet laugh, but Thomas knows her daughter will continue to bring joy to the family.
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