Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Last brace!

Sometimes it can hard to put a positive spin on things. But often that's the best option.
Evelyne will have her first spinal surgery on the 7th January. It is a major surgery in which they will implant growing rods, attaching them to her spine. I'll write a longer post on this process soon.  
Although we are a bit apprehensive, we know that the time is right. Evie's last x-ray showed that her curves have reached 68 degrees and 49 degrees IN the brace. As a result of this progression she has been experiencing more discomfort and pain, and is finding more tasks and positions difficult. 
It is time.

We have so much to thank God for.

- It's been 4 years since I first thought surgery was imminent as I wrote about in this post
- She is now eligible for Magec rods which I first wrote about here in 2011 and hoped would be an option 
- This is the last brace! And what 7 year old Taylor Swift fan can resist heart and rose tattoo print

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

New Wheels Arrive!

Thanks to the amazing generosity of so many people, the 'Wheels for Evie' wheelchair arrived last week. There was a lot of excitement (from all the family).
We are so excited about this chair in so many ways. It is a manual (Zippy) chair base, but has a power attachment (ZX1). As a result we have two chairs in one. This means we can still use the lightweight manual chair and fold it up in the car, but that she can also independently attach it to a power base. 

This amazing chair gives her independence and control over her own mobility. Yet we don't have to have a modified car like with most power wheelchairs. The school has paths and ramps so she can access all areas. The main issue we have to deal with is stopping her from increasing the speed and basic driver training! She wouldn't let me put 'L' plates on, but there have been a few moments I felt they were needed. She's perfecting wheelies and donuts.

We are still astounded of the generosity from friends, family, church, school, community, anonymous donations, Lions, as well as complete strangers. We are very thankful to God for the amazing supports he has given us.

First trial                         -                         Off- road                         -                       Watch out Sam!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Welcome to Holland

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.
Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must
stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.
And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Friday, 9 January 2015

The time is drawing near

Evelyne had a spinal appointment this week. We have been plodding along since last winter with the current brace, but can tell she is growing more uncomfortable. Evie has had a few issues with redness and pressure on the point of her kyphosis, and occasionally issues with pain, but it's been pretty non-eventful. Every time we see the specialist we get asked "...and how old is she now?"... with the underlying question being "is she old enough for growing rods yet?". This time was no different, however, I think I knew that now Evie is aged 6 we are getting closer. 

They first mentioned surgery when she was 3, and we have persisted in casts and braces for the past 3 years to try to hold off until she is bigger. Basically, the older/bigger they are, the less complications and the more successful the surgery.

The specialist is wanting to try another brace design first, to see if we can hold off slightly longer, however it looks like surgery will be in the near future rather than the distant future. In his words "I'd rather put growing rods in an 8 yr old than a 6 yr old, however we have done well to be putting them in a 6 yr old rather than a 4 yr old". We have a brace review at the end of January to discuss options for a new design which might help, however it is clear surgery is not too far away.

Evie, brace free, with her cousin Lydia
One positive is that it looks like she is eligible for Magec rods - magnetic growing rods. This means she will not have to have surgery every 6 months, but the rods can be lengthened via magnets. I wrote about it here over 3 years ago when I heard of it, hoping it may be an option for Evie. 

I am nervous for what the future holds, but I trust our specialist and his experience, and I am happy with how long we have managed to delay surgery so far.