Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fibular Hemimelia -Post Surgery -Week Six --Half Way Finished Turning

For those of you who don't speak fixator language, Ethan is half way through the "turning" phrase of the lengthening process.  Basically, we will turn the struts on the fixator for approximately 12 weeks and then stop.  The fixator will stay on for another 12 weeks so that the bone can consolidate (harden).

The first picture is Ethan's leg at 4 weeks and the second is at 6 weeks.

At this point, his leg growth was about 2 centimeters.
 Today, the growth has reached around 3.2 centimeters --which is over 1 inch!  

We are trying to achieve between 5-6 cm, so Ethan is right on track!

At the six week point, Freddie and I feel like we can breathe a bit.  Ethan has regained the ability to bend his knee --thank you Lord, and this makes life for him and for all of us so much easier.  Now, we are able to detect a pin site infection and have become much better "nurses."  Here is a bit of his progress.
Week One:  Hospital -wheelchair confined.  Pain medicine every 4 hours.  Physical therapy evaluation.
Week Two:  Able to use the walker for a few steps only.  Cannot bend his knee at all without great pain.  Wheelchair is necessary for all trips.  Therapy is focused on bending --to regain range of motion.  Pain meds are given every 4 hours.
Week Three:  Able to use the walker for a short duration --a trip down the hall for instance.  Still unable to bend.  Therapy is VERY difficult because of the pain trying to bend --especially therapy in which he is on his belly and his leg "pushed" toward his body.  Dr. Standard actually changed the therapy exercises to omit this --because it was such a source of anxiety for Ethan, and the therapists concentrated on other bending exercises --such as wall bends or step-ups with a step.  Pain medicine is given about 3 times a day.
Week Four:  Able to use the walker for longer duration and bending is MUCH improved.  This week Ethan can actually sit at a table with his knee slightly bent long enough to eat a meal.  The wheelchair is still necessary for trips --or for long periods of time --like doctor's appointments.  He cannot sit with the knee bent for more than 20 minutes or so.  From a therapy standpoint, he can bend 75 degrees.  Pain medicine only before physical therapy.  Pin site infection --required 2 antibiotics to clear completely.
Week Five:  Focus shifts from the ability to bend to the ability to straighten.  Children in fixators are most comfortable neither bending nor straightening; thus, they tend to keep their legs a bit cocked which is a terrible position as far as healing and progress is concerned.  Ethan uses the walker the majority of the time and can actually walk without the walker and maintain his balance -inside.  The wheelchair is still necessary for trips to the mall, for instance -or to see a movie.  Pain meds before therapy only.
Week Six:  After a lot of stretching exercises, Ethan has achieved 95 degrees with knee bending and 0 degrees with leg extension (which means he can fully straighten).  Again, the wheelchair use is limited to long period of time.  Pain meds before therapy only. Second pin site infection --same top pins.  Since week two, Ethan has had land therapy 3 days per week and pool therapy 2 days per week.

Today makes seven weeks since the surgery, and it has been a long road, but looking back and seeing how far he has come is quite amazing.  God has been so good to us and has provided the strength and endurance that we all have needed.  He has also given us time to be a family and to explore Maryland.  To mimic a commercial:  The Washington Zoo:  free; the Washington Museums:  free; Fort McHenry:  free; Touring the Naval Academy:  free; the National Aquarium:  free (thanks Granny Carol);  Chuck E. Cheese: free (thanks Granny Wanda); first Major League Baseball Game:  free (thanks Papaw Fred); Ocean City:  free (thank you Lord);  smiles like the ones to follow:  priceless!

The ground of the Naval Academy are quite beautiful!

 It's not every day that you run into Spider Man!

Fishing from the peer!

 Beautiful Sand Art at Ocean City!

Now, what is my favorite of these latest snap shots?  Check out the one below from the Naval Academy Museum!

Maybe this will become my new motto.  Isn't it yet another message of Hope?  What is the greatest of lessons that the Lord has taught me these last seven weeks:  perseverance.  When you feel like giving up, don't.  It's that simple.  As Christians we have surrendered our rights, especially our right to hopelessness.
Psalm 71:5 ~ For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth