Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ligaments and Tendons and Bones, Oh My!!!

Sometimes when dealing with yet another Laura issue I find myself wandering down the same path once again and peering into the darkness to see just where it will come out in the end this time. We're wandering down the path of 'relapsed club feet' once again. So far this path has led us to more casting, longer shoe wear, surgery followed by six weeks of casting, SMO's and my absolute all time favorite advice from one very kind but misguided Dr. to just relax. I wanted to ask him if he'd relax if it were his daughter but then I realized he is a trained surgeon. He wouldn't think twice about cutting her bone because that's what he's trained to do. But I'm not willing to go there if we can avoid it. So far while traveling down this path we've been to the Cleveland Clinic and out to the University of Iowa more times than I can count. I can see in my minds eye with intimate detail the waiting room of the pediatric surgical department at the Clinic as well as the patient rooms where we've spent far too much time for such a short life. Now, we're staring down the path again. But this time the path might just lead to St. Louis. Who knew?

When we put Laura back in her night-night shoes, I really felt like we needed to have a consult with someone willing to take another chance at helping us avoid surgery. I've sent several additional emails to Iowa and have not heard a response and assumed that they are quite busy there after the Symposium. But I needed answers. And I wondered if the silence meant that they just didn't know what to do or perhaps that there was nothing more they could do. The thought made my stomach churn.

Then another issue dawned its mighty head. Sleep. Don and I desperately needed uninterrupted sleep. After a week of waking up throughout the night as Laura cries because the shoes are uncomfortable, I had a gut feeling we needed more than just uninterrupted sleep. We really needed her feet corrected before the shoes would be comfortable. As I put a call in to the wonderful shoemakers office, I hoped beyond hope that they could do something for us. Something, anything to help. The girls suggested we contact Dr. Dobbs in St. Louis if we hadn't heard from Iowa soon. My stomach churned even more as I sat down to write Dr. Dobbs a letter. As I attached pictures of her feet and sent it off by email, the pit of my stomach seemed to drop even further into oblivion. What if he, too, just said to relax until she was old enough for painful surgery. What if there really was nothing that could be done?

All night last night I tossed and turned. My dreams ranged from the weird to even weirder. I imagined all sorts of things involving feet. Big feet, little feet, fat feet, skinny feet. All in clunky, ugly shoes because they couldn't wear normal ones. All on legs sitting in wheelchairs because they hurt too much to walk. *sigh* Once again an opportunity to turn my stress over to the Lord took me hours to figure out. By then morning was already peeking out from behind the darkness, willing us to get up and face another day of uncertainty.

As I approached the computer to check my mail, my stomach sunk deeper still. What if there was no answer. What if the answer wasn't good. Before I wiggled the mouse I decided that I'd have enough. I very quietly prayed and told the Lord I would be willing to accept whatever answer he provided. I half expected for Dr. Ponseti's email to be there after that one. But no. Dr. Dobbs was up bright and early, and he answered my questions. He offered to see her and concurred with our thoughts that recasting was the way to go.

Part of me is relieved. My 'Mommy Intuition' isn't faulty. But part of me is still a bit nervous. There are still several unknowns for Laura and those wonderful feet. Can Dr. Dobbs figure out how to help her? Will we be able to avoid bone surgery in a few years? Will Laura get used to the shoes once again and sleep through the night undisturbed? I don't know the answers to all of that but I am willing to let it go for now. Laura slept four hours today for a nap without her shoes on. Four hours. From a child who barely sleeps one these days. *sigh*

So we will continue to pray for her healing and the Lord's provision as we plan for a trip to St. Louis. Since our family is there, our trip will be filled with more than just Dr visits. And that's all good. However, please pray for wisdom for Dr. Dobbs as he evaluates and prepares to treat her feet to help us prevent surgery in the coming years. I'll keep you updated as I can. Meanwhile, I'll work very hard to just relax and enjoy it every time I hear "Mommy. I need you" coming from her room every hour on the hour through the night. Really I will. :)

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