Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vancouver, Take 2

Ellie and I went on a little adventure last week! Or, at least, I tried to make it SEEM like a fun and exciting adventure….because not everyone would consider 6 doctor and therapist appointments in 2 days something to cheer about. But, if MOMMY makes it sound thrilling, then it MUST be, right? Yup. Uh huh.

Little Miss Jelly B’Ellie and I flew our way to Vancouver for a few days because we had 2 jam-packed days of SDR follow-up appointments. Again, can you believe it’s already been (over!) a year since her surgery? Crazy.

I was a bit nervous, travelling as a single parent, but thanks to all your prayers and love, it worked out fine. I have come to the conclusion that there are many, many good people in this world. Without their help, this trip would have been much tougher. So, the next time you see a frazzled mom trying to carry a 48-pound 5-year-old while attempting to unfold a stroller AND a walker, help her out. Just like so many strangers did for me!

On Day 1, we had 4 appointments:

*Radiology. Ellie needed x-rays of her hips. Thankfully, she does really well with x-rays. Because she has ‘em quite often. In fact, she thinks it’s pretty funny when mommy has to wear the “weird coat”.
WALKING her way over to the radiology department...
My life was made so much easier by BC Children's Hospital and all their waiting-room toys!

*Occupational Therapy.  A few days before Ellie’s surgery last year, the OT conducted a test of Ellie’s fine motor skills.  She then administered the same test last week, to see if there was any improvement.  Ellie had a great time with this test because it involved her favorite things: markers, stickers and finger puppets!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the results back from the OT.  However, I know that Ellie’s has improved greatly in this area, which is especially encouraging for school.  There is LOTS of fine motor work required at school!
I think her head is going to explode: An ELMO finger puppet?!  Too much happiness!

Ellie could color all day...

*Physical Therapy.  Again, last year, before the surgery, the PT conducted a test to see where Ellie was at with her gross motor skills (walking, sitting, standing, etc).  This test is a bit more laborious (ie: not nearly as fun) and LONG.  It was one-and-a-half hours of intense testing, and Ellie was SPENT by the end of it!  BUT, the PT compared some notes from last year and there was marked improvement across the board!  He was especially impressed with her adductor muscles (thighs).  Those were the tightest pre-SDR, and now they’re so much looser.  That, of course, results in easier walking.   
Waiting not-as-patiently-as-it-may-appear-in-this-picture for the therapist...

*Dr. Steinbok.  It warmed my hear to see Dr. Steinbok again.  He is SUCH a good and caring doctor.  He was very impressed with Ellie’s progress.  I asked him if Ellie was “where he thought she would be at this point post-op” and he said, “yes!” and added that she was probably doing BETTER than what he had hoped for.  It was all very encouraging!

Emailing the Grandmas to tell them about her day...

And then emailing Daddy....that's my girl!

On Day 2, we had “only” 2 appointments:

*Dr. Beauchamp. He is the orthopedic surgeon. This was the appointment I was dreading and anticipating most. When we were researching Ellie’s candidacy for SDR, several doctors and therapists suggested that we do hip surgery BEFORE the rhizotomy. Ellie’s hips did not look good. In fact, the right hip was 60% out of the socket. The tight muscles in Ellie’s adductors were pulling her hips out of place. Dr. Beauchamp thought we should go ahead with the SDR first, and then see if that would make a difference in her hips. He thought that her hip might possibly move back into the socket a LITTLE bit, but our real hope was that it didn’t pull out further. At 60%, we could probably hold off on hip surgery for a few more years.

Well….when Dr. Beauchamp saw Ellie’s new hip x-ray, his jaw about dropped. Ellie’s right hip is now less than 40% out of the socket!! This is miraculous improvement! I cried. I was so nervous that he’d recommend hip surgery, and the thought alone made me want to puke. But, no! Dr. Beauchamp said that he’d never seen such marked improvement and suggested there was possibility for further alignment. Thank You Jesus! And thank you to everyone who prayed so hard with us! Of course, Ellie and her team of therapists and conductors have worked SO HARD this year, and it’s amazing to see the results. Thank you to each and everyone of you!

*Gait Lab. I was almost walking on air when we got down to the gait lab, after our appointment with Dr. Beauchamp. Last year, the therapists at the gait lab videoed Ellie walking and through that footage, they were able to measure how each muscle was working. So, they wanted a NEW tape of the Ellie’s NEW gait. They, too, were very impressed with the changes. It was wonderful to see!

Sooo happy to be done with all the appointments and on her way HOME!

And, then, it was time for Ellie and I to jet back home. We were VERY happy to see Richard and his strong arms at the airport!

So, in a nutshell, all the news was VERY GOOD! We will continue to work hard, of course. The doctors and therapists expect to see continued improvement for the next few years…and beyond!