Too bad...I couldn't come with with an "M" word for update.
Yes, I still call Drew my little monster. And, there is almost nothing sweeter than our mornings when I saw, "Hello, Monster." And, his sweet little voice whispers softly with a Chinese accent, "Hall-o Ma-ma."
He did visit with the doctor and staff at Shriner's last week along with Ellie. We were quite the sight, all four Chinese children with their parents, when another staff member would open the door. Pretty soon, I think, everyone had heard about us. We would be sent to another department, and someone would say, "Oh, it's the Mattox family," or "Well, here come the Mattox children." One even said, "I heard there's a party going on in here."
Back to Monster's medical update:
First, a spina bifida explanation.
There are different forms of spina bifida. I won't go into all of that now, but just explain that each of our three youngest children were born with a lypomeningocele. They each had fatty tissue (lypoma) formed along the spinal column. Each of them had surgery in China to remove the lypoma and release the spinal cord, which is usually tethered in children with spina bifida.
As with each other forms of spina bifida, each case of spina bifida presents itself differently. They are various effects, depending on the location of the meningocele and the amount of nerve involvement.
Ellie's lypoma was very large and covered parts of her back from her buttocks to the middle of the spine. There was significant nerve involvement and damage.
Drew's lypoma was smaller. It was also much lower on his back. We were SURPRISED to see the x-ray of his spine-especially after having seen Ellie's.
His spine looks as straight as mine.
We knew he had some difficulty walking, as well as weakness of his left leg in particular. His left foot will turn inward and over when he walks, and he sometimes walks on the top of his foot. His right foot also turns a little when he walks; however, most of his weight bears down on the ball of his foot. He has developed a sore on to top of his right foot where the bone is pressed up....for lack of better words. We really thought he might need surgery on that foot.
We were pleasantly surprised and pleased to learn...while we watched the doctor...that his feet can be helped with bracing. The doctor showed how he was able to manipulate the right foot into the right position, that muscles are causing the bone to stick up. So...bracing alone is all our Little Monster needs to improve his walking. He will have weakness, but, if you've met him, you know it doesn't stop him from running anywhere he wants to run. (He just acts like a 4-year-old and sits down if we need him to walk longer distances.)
See why we call him Little Monster....