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Friday, June 14, 2013

An Unexpected Casting Visit

We made an unexpected trip to Shriner's hospital today. Yesterday we noticed Rebekah's casts were so loose in the thighs that we could fit our entire hand into into and down to her knee! Her left foot had actually shifted quite a bit and the right foot was in danger of the same thing. 

The doctor decided to remove the old casts and recast her in the long leg casts for the last 2 1/2 weeks until she is scheduled for the pin removal. Rebekah managed like a champ and wasn't in any pain or discomfort. Her new casts should stay secure the last few weeks. Best thing - her feet looked really good! Although we have 2 1/2 more weeks in long casts then a few weeks in short casts, Rebekah should be able to wear shoes and have then stay on her feet! Can't wait until the casts are completely off and we can bathe her poor dry, scalely legs and wear some cute shoes!

Pre-surgery feet. I don't have a very good photo of her rocker bottom heels, but you can see them to some extent here. Shoes always would fall off her feet and the right one turns off to the right also. 

Getting the casts cut off.

You can see how far back Rebekah's toes are. The cast was beginning to slide off. 

Here are the 2 pins still in Rebekah's right foot. You can see the much better alignment of the heel.

Another view from the outside of the right foot.

Left foot looks great!

New casts for 2 1/2 weeks, then we take them off again to remove the pins. 



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Team Budd Zoo

Please consider supporting 
Team Budd Zoo in our efforts to raise money for SOFT (Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders) through their Stroll for Hope event. 
We will be "strolling" in the 3rd Annual Stroll for Hope on Thu, July 18th at this year's SOFT conference in Providence, RI.  Funds raised go towards helping SOFT provide its resources and services to many families.  You can view some of those resources on their website: SOFT is a 501(c)(3) that has been supporting the trisomy community since 1980! No donation is too small!
==> DONATE HERE <==  
Donating through the website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.

Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

THANK YOU from Team Budd Zoo!
Team Budd Zoo - 2011 Stroll for Hope - Chicago, IL
Team Budd Zoo - 2012 Stroll for Hope - St. Louis, IL
Some of the 2012 trisomy stroll participants

Monday, June 10, 2013

Foot Surgery - Finally!

Some of you may recall that we have been trying to pursue foot surgery for Rebekah for some time. In fact, we were all set to travel back and forth to St. Louis last fall to have her feet casted and corrected for rocker bottom feet/vertical talus. However. Rebekah got a bowel obstruction last September and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. Although it resolved itself, we have been leery to travel so far for orthopedic services since she is likely to have another repeat bowel obstruction at some point.
Rebekah's right foot bends outwards to the right. The toe bones all bend to the right. Her toes on both feet look small because they are all webbed from the first joint. Her feet are more than "flat", they are actually convex from an anomaly related to Trisomy 18 called Rocker Bottom feet
Another look at her feet from the bottom. you can see the outward curve of the right foot and the bony protrusion on the inside of that right foot. This is due to her talus bone in the foot appearing vertical and diagonal.
Given Rebekah's genetic diagnosis, we have met many obstacles (doctors and support from others) in seeking to fix Rebekah's feet. In fact, there are many people who believe we would just be subjecting our child to unnecessary and senseless surgery and "pain and suffering" because we cannot "fix" trisomy and "everyone knows" she cannot (and will not ever) walk.
You can see the prominence of the heel bone being pulled up. This is the sign of "rocker bottom feet" and results in her heel sticking way out. Shoes do not fit this girl! You can also see the convex action of the foot where it should be concave into an arch. This foot defect causes her weight to be distributed on the inside front right of her foot during weight bearing - a balancing act at best to maintain a standing position, let alone walk.
A shot of Rebekah's bones from the top of her foot. you can see how her right toe bones all curve outwards to the right. This anomaly will NOT be corrected with her surgery as this is bone work. If and when we address this, Rebekah will be much older.
Well, Rebekah didn't read those textbooks and we claim victory over the effects of trisomy in her life. We believe she WILL walk one day, but her feet need to be fixed in order to help her reach this goal. And, while surgery of this nature would be "elective" in that it is not necessary for her health, her foot anomalies create feet that cannot be properly balanced on for walking. Anyone WITHOUT TRISOMY would not be able to walk independently on them. So we choose HOPE and FAITH and will give her every chance to overcome the effects of Trisomy on her body.
Rebekah bright and early at Shriner's waiting for check in.
On Tuesday, May 14, at 6am, Rebekah checked into the Shriner's Children's Hospital in Greenville, SC for surgery on both of her feet. Rebekah was born with "rocker bottom" feet and has some bone anomalies caused by tight tendons and mis-angled bone. This is how the procedure was described: The surgery consists of releasing the heel cord tendon to drop the back of the foot bone down, allowing the foot to be more flat. He right foot will also have the outside tendon released so that it will not pull the foot outwards. A pin will be placed through soft tissue to try to hold some of the mis-angled bones into better alignment. Both feet will be casted up to her thigh for 6 weeks. Then the casts will be removed, the pin taken out, and her foot molded for AFOs (ankle-foot orthodics). Then lower leg casts will be put on for another 3-4 weeks while the AFOs are being made. This is all soft tissue work and no bone work will be done (directly).

Once the surgery began, the doctor discovered that Rebekah's calf muscles on both legs actually extended all the way down to her feet as well, and they were released in addition to the Achilles tendon. On her right foot, two tendons on the outside had to be released (instead of just one) and two pins were placed into her foot (versus one) - one from the back and one from the front - through soft tissue to help hold the foot in proper position.  Her bones in the front of her foot all curve to the right and, unfortunately, none of this soft tissue surgery will correct that. But hopefully the more neutral position of her foot will correct the growth pattern.
The surgery was successful. Rebekah spent the night in the hospital and it took a few days to get her back to eating. I have to admit, watching her those few days I was really concerned that maybe we had made the wrong decision. She vomited and would not tolerate anything until we gave up on narcotic pain meds and went with just motrin or tylenol. As soon as we dropped the narcotics, she perked up and started acting like her old self!
Rebekah's pain response causes her whole body to go into a flushing mode. Look at how red her cheeks and arm is.  It was also on her chest and upper legs. 
A closer look at her vasodilation reaction to pain.

Her white casts were overwrapped post-surgery in the color of our choosing. I went with the bright tie-dye/camo colors to match the bright colors that were in all the stores for girl's clothes. :-)  Sitting on Rebekah's lap is a new Build-a-Bear (well, dog). Shriner's has a room with all kinds of build-a-bears and each child after a surgery is allowed to pick out a bear and outfit/accessories. Ours has a princess crown and wand and silver shoes. She has a princess t-shirt on. There weren't any really cute princess dressed that didn't clash with the pink on the poodle.
The casts add a LOT of weight and we are supposed to maintain her feet in an elevated position where the heels do not touch anything in order to minimize pressure sores. Well, let's just say after about a week in the casts, Rebekah got tired of lying in the same position and unable to move. So three weeks into the 6 week full leg cast, she is easily lifting those heavy casts and flinging them all around. She has figured out how to finagle her body back and forth and move across the floor. She is delighting in brutal leg whacks against her family's extremities, and all of us have at least one black and blue mark to show for it!  This girl has to have abs of steel by now!

Please continue to pray with us that her surgery will make a difference on her balance and potential for walking, for the overall success of the surgery once the casts all come off, and for what the future holds for our baby girl.
Rebekah rockin' her multi-colored tie dye/camo casts as she leans into Daddy for some snuggling time.