We had a great summer with a nice long cast break. It was great to see Nora be able to do all the things toddlers should do. Go swimming, play in the sprinkler and sand box, eat ice cream cones and popsicles without a big waterproof bib, and just be able to get dirty. But that all came to a halt yesterday when we went back to the hospital for cast number six.
I was very nervous about this casting as I knew her curve had progressed. I could see it and feel it with every hug and cuddle. And with every hug and cuddle my mind wandered to what all this progression would mean. I seriously thought about it multiple times a day, every day. This next casting we would be doing x-rays as well, something we hadn’t done since February.
We were also worried about how she would do with this casting since she had a nice long summer break but also because she was older now and understood more. We tried to prepare her a couple weeks beforehand that she was going to get a new cast. We read books, put a cast on her doll Scully and tried to prep her as best we could. One day I told her she was getting a new cast in a few days and she looked at me and said, “why momma? No cast”. I didn’t know what to say to my two year old but my heart was crushed.
The day had arrived; all things considered she did really well at the hospital pre-op. Post-op was another story. We speak frankly and work closely with our anesthesiologist at each casting and they have tried new things and adjusted things here and there to try and make it easier for Nora coming out of anesthesia but it seems as though she is just one of those kids who has a much harder time than most. It’s a really tough hour or so in recovery where she’s angry, crying, screaming and impossible to console.
But we made it through with the help of Curious George DVDs, the soundtrack to Disney’s Frozen and Popsicles. On the car ride home she was insisting all of us sing Let it Go over and over with the song blasting on repeat. Loking over and seeing her and Matt belting was the lyrics was the highlight of the day.
She had an x-ray out of her cast and one in her cast. It was clear from the x-ray her curve had progressed some like we thought and she developed a compensatory curve in the lumbar or lower section of her spine. A compensatory curve is a curve that is a result of the original curve essentially causing stress or pressure on the rest of the spine pushing it to also curve. The good news is that her spine is still pretty flexible and isn’t rigid yet. As children get older their spines become less flexible. When that happens varies by individual.
Her surgeon was able to get good correction in the cast, really almost eliminating the compensatory curve and also straightening up her congenital curve quite a bit. This is good and based on that our surgeon thinks we will continue to have success with casting for another six months or so. The bad news is her curve has progressed and we will probably be heading to her first surgery next spring. The big question is what that surgery will be. We just don’t know yet and we basically will have to just “pick one” by weighing out all the risks and benefits of each option and guessing what we think will be best. There is no perfect option and there isn’t going to be either. But we will face that in time.
Her first day in the cast was rough, the summer break had been a double edged sword. Wonderful to be able to do all the things she was able to but too long to be out that she was really unhappy going back into one. She had a tough time getting comfortable sitting or laying down and repeatedly asked “cast off”. Thankfully by day two things got better.
Nora was born into a family of devote Notre Dame fans and with football season around the corner not to mention special duck tape sent to her from her aunt and God mother, Nora’s sixth cast bears the ND logoed duck tape. She’s our little fighting Irish lassie so it seemed fitting. Of course the tape needed just a little more pizzazz, so I dressed it up with some rhinestones and bling. Go Irish Go! Go Nora Go!