a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Friday, June 24, 2011

3 Weeks Post Surgery

If there is one thing to be said about Oia, it's that she is so accepting of this life, and more resilient than her parents. She doesn't always know how life is supposed to be, but rather trusts that we as her parents do, and that in turn works to her favor and I guess, essentially to ours too. During the postoperative 3 week period, she quickly found ways to maneuver and resume her usual activities, ie. walking, crawling, stepping up or down steps, and even climbing (all of course with very close supervision at all times). That even includes powering herself all the way up to the back of the couch, which she straddled and bounced on as if to be riding a horse. Would I normally let her do this? Probably not. But how in the world do I pull this proud face off the back of our couch when she worked so darn hard to get up there?

Three weeks have passed since the surgery. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say she breezed through these last 3 weeks without one complaint. Really. I, on the other hand, couldn't wait for this morning's cast removal appointment with her ortho doctor. Felt a little like Christmas morning to me. How would her incisions look? What would her range of motion be now? Would any gains be immediately noticeable? Would stretching her be easy? Would she be able to stand and walk right away? Or would she even want to?

So, the cast came off and incision sites were hard to notice. There was some slight bruising around her foot and ankle but it's all very normal. Her ankle seems a little puffy, but again, this is normal too. Doctor said it's important to keep her KiddieGAIT (AFO) on as much as possible while she is up and on her feet since 3 weeks is still not enough time to be completely healed (still another 2-3 weeks for complete healing) but at this point it is safe to be out of the cast. At doctor's request, I put on her brace and shoes after the cast was removed and we put her to her feet with a room full of staff watching. Oia didn't hesitate - she slowly walked about 15 feet across the room. Her leg is overall weak and her knee is very stiff but with continued use and PT, she'll learn the feel and control of her new range and hopefully be walking more symmetrical and taller than ever before. In fact, she already is. If today is any indication of what she'll be walking like in the future, then I know for certain we made the best decision to have this procedure done. Results were immediate and obvious to all who were watching. I felt a little teary as this was my view leaving our appointment...

Perhaps some before and afters may paint a better picture.
Oia's typical stance morning of surgery, sans brace: high on right toes, bent knee, left side bearing most (if not all) of her body weight.

Today's stance, 3 weeks post surgery, day of cast removal: flat right foot, straight(er) knee, taller stance (no crouch) and more level at hips (although this picture just shows legs). You'll note in this picture the difference in size of Oia's calves. This is typical for kiddos who have a weaker extremity though the difference is fairly mild.

Below video shows walking at PT session with SMO insert only, 1 hour after cast removal. Note the weak dorsiflexion (toe-lift) in right foot. Her KiddieGAIT provides assistance in that movement. She does have more doriflexion post surgery which is promising - it's one of the first things doctor checked and commented on as soon as her cast was off. Naturally, right knee is stiff and she's a little unsteady but overall, looking good.

We're are pleased and love what we see. Flat feet are beautiful. I think Rob and I both feel a sense of relief that the hard part is over. Now, it's all a matter of learning to walk with new range and flexibility, regaining strength, and increasing right side dorsiflexion. It's nothing our little Miss can't handle.


  1. Yay!! Great heel strike in the AFO!



  3. That is amazing!!! Wow!! So excited for your guys and happy that surgery went so well! Phyllis

  4. Oh my goodness! Those before and after pictures are so telling! So happy to hear she bounced back so well!

  5. Go Oia! I'm so happy for you guys!

  6. I felt teary too watching the videos and the pic of her sitting on the couch made my night. She just brightens up the room!

  7. I stumbled upon your blog looking for a little insight into what is going on with my daughter, turn to find out we had more in common then I expected. My daughter how is on the verge of 14 months stands just as your daughter does in the above picture, from Schizencephaly as well. we are looking into a brace as of now... but is there anything you can possibly tell me about the whole process? and if you wouldn't mind I'd love to know how it has affected your daughter as well.