Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dr. Dobbs Revisited

In the past few years I have discovered that there are few things more difficult than planning, and then giving the okay to proceed with surgery for your children. In your gut you know that it is necessary, and yet you wonder if you are really doing the right thing. You wonder whether the surgery will cause other problems in its wake or perhaps make things worse rather than better. And you wonder whether you've got the right surgeon sticking their surgical tools in places that will have a permanent impact on your child's life.

Way back almost five years ago now we gave permission for the first time to a surgeon who promised to make life better for Laura. At that time she had a g-tube put in to help her survive, and a nissen to keep her reflux from hurting her even more. Over the years she's had a large handful of additional surgeries, been put under anesthesia for a variety of tests, scans, and such, and had so many other tests while awake that I can't remember them all unless I review her medical records. Through it all Laura has been a trooper, shown her extreme patience, and has developed a very high tolerance for pain. On the other hand, Don and I have gotten more anxious and a bit more nauseous with each and every approval for surgery.

As we met with Dr. Dobbs to review her latest tests and reassess her feet he delivered news that we were dreading. We're down to just three options for straight feet: a posterior tendon transfer, an osteotomy on her heel bone, or a miracle from the Lord. Well, he didn't mention the last option but it is always on my mind. After reviewing the long term effects and the chances for success, we opted to try the posterior tendon transfer before resorting to the worst cast scenario of an osteotomy. Laura will be in Dr. Dobbs capable hands on December 8th. And I'll be sitting next to my Mom wishing I could cuddle up in her lap once again. After we are released from Shriners, we'll head home by December 9th for a week or two and then head back for a cast change. We understand she'll be in that cast for a month or so before finally being cast free - hopefully for good. She'll still have to use the FAB at night so we'll be ordering another pair of Mitchell shoes to go on our Dobbs bar.

While we are hauling her 34 lb plus cast laden body, I'll be reminded over and over again that she's thriving despite predictions to the contrary when she was born. I'll remember that she was God's long before she was mine and that He loves her even more than I do. I'll remember that he has a plan in all of this, a plan for good. And you can guarantee that I'll be wondering what it is even though I know I probably won't know for a long time, if ever. In the middle of all of it will be patient, precious Laura, hobbling around on her cast, laughing and playing as if nothing has changed. I learn so much from her. Perhaps this time I'll learn to be wait patiently, too.


Sue said...

Oh, Chris, I didn't realize what options you faced with Laura ... my heart goes out to you! I loved your "third option" -- never mentioned by docs, but always on the list. :) I'm familiar with the ANTERIOR transfer, but posterior? How is this affecting her walk? You'll be in my thoughts and prayers, especially on the 8th and following.

I loved your last paragraph -- SOOO hard to get that from your head into your heart sometimes. I struggle with this almost daily, and not only with Grace. We are so limited in our understanding, which makes trusting so difficult. Sometimes just writing it out -- like you did -- is a helpful boost in and of itself. Keep revisiting your own words -- may you all have an abundance of strength and perseverance during this next phase. Keep me posted.

(from clubfoot board)

Yolanda said...

Great and inspiring Blog. I also have a baby, 6 months old born with Club Feet. I, as well was born with Club Feet only on my left foot. I had to wear braces as well, but I believe it was the Traditional braces. I also started a Blog myself about my Miracle baby. Here is my Url: http://miraclechildbornwithclubfeet.blogspot.com