Friday, January 16, 2015

Surgery Decision, Mostly Made

After three different doctor visits, a lot of time thinking and gathering information, I think a decision has been made (pending a few phone calls).

We are going with a different orthopaedic doctor.  She recommends  a distal femoral osteotomy, in both legs.  If this is the only procedure, Elena won't have to wear casts--just braces that we can remove if needed (bathing, etc.).  She may have something done with her patellar tendons; I'm not sure yet.  If she does, she'll need to be in casts for 6-8 weeks.  

That's the short version, anyway.  Her hips are fine (shallow, but fine).  The distal (femur end near the knee instead of the hip) osteotomy makes sense to me, given her femoral ante version and how badly her knees are angled toward her center line.  If this helps her posture/gait, which is the intent and which the doctor believes it will, less pressure should be on her knees/ankles/big toes, which should help alleviate (or at minimum, not worsen) her issues related to her crouch.  

The majority of stories I read related to surgery regret seem to focus on procedures involving the hips.  Has anyone had a distal femoral osteotomy (not involving hips) out there?  What was your experience? Are you glad you did it? How was recovery?

The procedure, as far as I understand it, is relatively simple and the cut site gets some sort of "cap" on the bone, which is supposed to make the overall process (including recovery) quick.  This doctor believes that changing the bony structure is a better way to help crouch gait than lengthening tendons.  I'm not sure I believe this, but regardless--I do think that in Elena's case, the osteotomies should yield good results.

I look forward to any and all comments.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! Goals 2015

We talked about our goals as a family, and we have a few.  We try to think of these goals by season, as to work on them throughout the year.

Goals for E (* denotes a goal made on her own):
1.  Swim forward and back longways across the warm water pool.*  My guess is the pool is about 15m across.  E can swim across the short-side, but she isn't always successful. Sometimes she looks fantastic, other times she sinks. I think she just needs more time to figure it out.

2.  Try to get out of her crouch.  I know this is a lifelong issue.  We'll try something new this year.

3.  Use the walk path around the neighborhood.  There is a nice path around the houses here, but it's gravel and hilly.  We've never taken a walk on it.  I'd like to see how far we can go.

4.  Bike the river trail without help.  Trike or upright bike, I want her to be able to use the brake appropriately and pedal up the small hills.

5.  Start voice lessons.  E has asked for voice and piano a while back; she enjoys piano, but as we've learned from the psychologist, it accentuates almost everything that is difficult for her.  

6.  Help me cook more often.  E is enjoying being my helper, and can now use a sharp knife (thanks after-school class!).  It also opens up a lot of great opportunities to talk about real life math.

7.  Try yoga again.

Goals for Vivian:
1.  Go down a water slide.*  Vivian is almost an independent swimmer now.  If she passes the swim test, she can slide this summer.  

2.  Have after school activities.  Viv typically gets dragged around to Elena's appointments, but doesn't have her own. She joined a girl scout troop (once a month), and I enrolled her in a tap dancing class.  She also wants to take ballet, but we'll have to fit that in later in the year.

Goals for me:
1.  Finish the 40 for 40.  (Forty preferably-athletic events in the calendar year between my 39th and 40th birthday).  I'm halfway there.

2.  Try every class at the gym.

3.  Declutter.  Specifically the storage room and the garage.  

4.  Drink more water. I get headaches, mostly from dehydration.  

5.  Sleep better.  I am a horribly light sleeper and hardly ever rest well.  This got infinitely worse after I became a parent, accentuated by the fact that I had a child that could not get in/out of her bed on her own and every obstacle was a serious fall hazard.  Elena can do almost everything on her own (wearing her leg brace at night makes it very very slow) but I am constantly aware of every sound.  

6.  Try the garden again.  I constructed a compost bin last summer, and we've been adding to it since then.  I plan on trying raised beds of sorts, so E can garden without squatting so much.  We'll see.  

Goals for all of us:
1.  Be loud cheerleaders when Jason runs his 10-miler!

2.  Look at our world a different way.  E has been interested in astronomy (before they started studying it in school), and we had a special meeting with a hobby astronomer last year.  We'll have another stargazing party (we take out a mattress on the driveway and kids come over) or two.  And Vivian is really into amoebas (I think she liked the word) so we'll take water samples from the lake and see the small stuff.  I'm looking for a secondhand microscope, as well as making one of my own (my first attempt wasn't successful).  

3.  Everyone walk to the beach on their own.  Grown-ups will carry chairs, but not kids.

4.  Welcome our new baby cousin!  I am very excited about the impending arrival of my nephew!  Vivian has never seen a newborn.

5.  Send a card with family updates.  We used to send one out at Christmas, but we're two years behind.  

6.  Craft more at home.  I'm not into crafting unless it has a specific use (knitting blankets, decorating cookies, making Halloween costumes) but E and Viv could use the fine-motor practice.

7.  Find a game the entire family enjoys playing.  Right now Viv doesn't like to play our current favorites.  

Happy New Year! Recap of 2014's goals

A few days late, but Happy New Year!  We had a great Christmas holiday and a nice break from school.  The weather was nice, so both girls had fun with friends and family!

I don't have many holiday pictures…there were also a lot of doctor's appointments over the break.  But that's for another post.  I have been thinking of our goals from last year, our goals for this year, and how we can best achieve them (given the hit to E's mobility/upcoming surgical options).

First, I'll recap last year.

1.  INITIATIVE.  Check.  Elena has been more responsible in getting her homework done, getting ready for school, etc.  It's been a gradual process, but it's definitely improved.  Her homework nook and a few changes around the house has made it easier.

2.  Summer of Independence.  Check. And it helped a lot with goal 1.  Sure, with her crouch issues/pain, we've had some setbacks, but overall she knows we expect her to be as independent as possible.

3.  Have another stretching trial.  Check.  We use her stander regularly at home, and she uses one in school.  I can't say it's helped much, but we tried.


5.  Have a playdate twice a month.  Half-check.  Drama club helps with her social development, and takes a lot of time.  Twice a month is a bit much, but E has had more playdates than ever (still not tons, but some!).

6.  Take a trip to visit a friend.  Nope. 

7.  Go camping in our new tent!  CHECK!

8.  Run a race.  Nope.  Viv did one with me but we didn't think it was a good idea with E's intermittent knee pain.

9.  Go to an aquarium.  CHECK!

10.  Go kayaking.  CHECK!

11.  Go up and down the stairs, with one hand on the railing, the other free, regardless of footwear, on a regular basis.  Nope.  She can do it, but not on a regular basis--only when she's feeling really good.  With her knee/tightness, she's already fallen down the steps twice this year--so the pressure is off of this goal.

12.  Do the cha-cha slide (or other dance) without crutches.  Nope.  This was a little ambitious.

13.  Write a story/poem/comic and submit it to a contest (there are a few we like, either in the paper or on radio).  Nope.

14.  Ride her bike (with training wheels) independently.  Meaning, if she has to brake, she does.  If she has to get on/off, she does.  If she falls, she gets back up and on the bike.  Right now, she's done everything but the fall independently, but with very close supervision.  Nope.  We did get toe clip pedals, which help riding and make it difficult for her to get on/off.  We've taken a break from her regular bike and concentrated on her trike.

15.  Hunt for shells at the beach--standing up, carrying a bucket.  Nope.  We did try, but it wasn't successful.

16.  Try to FaceTime (or other video chat) with a friend.  Half-check--we did a lot of this with family.

New Years Goals for Vivian:

1.  Make her own breakfast (cereal, toast, or some other low-maintenance option).  CHECK!  She's a whiz with the toaster and frozen homemade waffles.

2.  Put her laundry in a clothes hamper.  Check!

3.  Ride a bike without training wheels.  Check!

4.  Roller Skate with her new skates.  Check!

New Years Goals for Me:

1.  Have a regular exercise regimen.  It doesn't have to be the same thing every week, but the frequency of activity should be more than once a week.  Check.

2.  Do two large races.  I've already signed up for a bike race (ride, for me--I'm not racing).  I hope to enter a short triathlon as one of them (but we'll see).  Mostly check.  I decided not to do long races, but shorter ones.  So far I have logged nearly twenty of them.  My plan is to do forty, before I'm forty (in one calendar year).  I am about halfway, right on target.

3.  Reduce clutter in the house/clean the house.  I'm doing a good job on this, but I'm not finished.  Check.

4.  Make some sort of beach shoe for Elena to wear with her KiddieGaits.  I have some ideas we'll be testing out before our summer beach trip.  Nope.  I spent too much time on crutches and tried to find a good shoe.  A good try, but a failure on both counts.

5.  Grow a garden for food and flowers.  We didn't get much to grow last year.  Half-check.  I grew a lot of leaves, not much actual fruit/veg.

6.  Volunteer at school.  Check.

7.  Add enough fiber to our diets (specifically, Elena's) to try to eventually discontinue use of her laxative.  Still a work in progress.

8.  Read five books (or more) this year.  Check! I've read over 14. I lost count.

9.  Visit a new city, with the kids, on a school break.  Check!  We took the kids to Boston!

10.  Go out for a family movie.  Check!

Overall I'd say we did very well on our 2014 goals!