Saturday, October 22, 2011

For Grandpa and Levi

Here is a short video I made of Matthew playing football this season. Matthew Grandpa to see it and also his little foot friend Levi.

For those who are not Grandpa or Levi, this is yet another installment of 'what can you do with a neuromuscular clubfoot'.

Football 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

He's Got Rider Pride

We are back from St. Louis. These 36 hour visits are tough on us both.

So some answers. First, yes. He is again in a cast. This time, green and black (there is no white) for his favorite CFL team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. As you can see, he is a very proud Rider fan.

It is a full leg cast. The last time we did a half leg cast and honestly, everyone involved from myself to Dr Dobbs to Steve who we saw today, feels it was of no benefit. Sadly, it will be the last half leg cast.

Now for the answers.

The callous that has been developing on his heel is purely skin. YAY!!! Did you hear me scream YAY at about 8 am yesterday? It was that much of a relief.
This is what the callous looks like. You can see by the shape why I thought that it could be bone being laid down.



And his leg length discrepancy seems to be holding steady for two years now. Again, another big YAY!!!

We had to wait a long time to see Dr. Dobbs. The man has become increasingly busy. We don't mind waiting, honestly. We travel a long way to see him, and he knows what he speaks of and he knows how to deal with this. We waited for about 4 hours for him. And this time we did NOT leave the room! Last time, we made the mistake of going to the bathroom and getting a coffee and missed him! Had to wait again!

So this time, we waited. And when he did get to us, he apologized, and Kristina apologized and everyone else apologized. What a breath of fresh air. They didn't need to apologize. We know how busy he is. We know how fortunate we are to be able to see him. We know how amazing that whole team is. And how humble they are. What a wonderful group to work with. And how wonderful for them to recognize us in our wait. So many times you see a doctor and you feel like a number. NEVER with Dr. Dobbs and his team.

And the update.

His foot is tight, but that is just what is going to happen when he grows. And if you remember, he just grew out of all his shoes in March. So we are definitely dealing with yet another growth spurt.

Dr. Dobbs is pleased with Matthew's lateral motion. If you didn't see it before, in April we saw this which I was thrilled with. And it has gotten even better. Will have to video tape when the cast is off. Amazing when a year ago it was barely a flicker.

He said with this getting stronger, that one day it would take over and work with us, keeping his foot in place.

Wow. It is like seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how small or dull. There it is. Finally.

I asked about physio. Dr. Dobbs wants him back at weekly physio. We had dropped it to every two weeks. Will step it up again. Dr. Dobbs also said, "If I remember correctly, his p/t willing to tape?" Yes. (In fact Steve had said that he would tape rather then cast so I could go to my reunion) Dr. Dobbs would like Matthew's foot to be taped after every physio appointment and leave it on for a few days. Just to get that extra stretch. Will do.

And to keep up with the E-stim. Yes, most definitely. Dr. Dobbs asked what Matthew had it turned on to at home. I said '3', almost cringing, expecting him to say that wasn't enough. But never from him. He said that was fine. In fact, I told Dr. Dobbs that Steve was talking about using a stronger E-stim machine while at physio. I said that Steve told me that he pushes on Matthew like he does an adult and that Matthew never complains. He smiled and nodded. Like he knows, because I think he just does know.

And just before he was casted, I shared with the team a poem Matthew had written in school. They wrote many poems, subjects always up to them.

This was the frame work for Matthew's Cinquain.

Cinquain Pattern #2

Line1: A noun

Line2: Two adjectives

Line 3: Three -ing words

Line 4: A phrase

Line 5: Another word for the noun.

And this was his poem.

St. Louis
helpful, kind
helping, casting, caring
helping people when they have a broken leg
casting

All of the people seemed touched. But Dr. Dobbs especially. I said that St, Louis and casting was a big part of his life. Dr. Dobbs said 'Definitely.'

Yes. Definitely. That city, those casts, and more importantly, those people involved have become a huge part of that little 8 year old's life. Slowly, slowly, bit by bit (sorry, can't help but quote the Digging-ist Dog) we are assembling an amazing team for Matthew.

One day, we will emerge from this tunnel. I know it now. I can see the light.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Safe and Sound in St Louis

After a long day of travel, we are here at Haven House in St. Louis. Matthew doesn't want a cast, but doesn't seem to upset when I tell him there is a good possibility. We brought the crutches just in case.

Tomorrow will be another long day. At the hospital by 7:30 until 2:00. Then back to the airport. We arrive home at 10:00 pm, so by the time we clear customs and cab home it could be close to midnight.

Will update Tuesday if I can.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back To That Foot

Again, not posting. So much going on. If I find some time, I will share.

Back to that foot. Matthew's next appointment in St. Louis with Dr. Dobbs is Monday. Four days from now. I am now convinced he will be in a cast. So much so that I have cancelled our plans for that week.

See, I was supposed to go to my 25th high school reunion. Yes...you read that right ...25th. But if Matthew is in a hip to toe cast, I can't ask him to ride in the back of a vehicle for 6+ hours. Only to arrive in a place where he can't do any water activities, quading, or anything that doesn't include sitting.

Yes, it is true that I haven't seen some of these people for 25 years. Yes, it is true that I was actually looking forward to catching up. Seeing some of these people, hearing about their adventures. Seeing pictures of their kids.

But that's ok. In the long run, Matthew is what matters. We waited 11 weeks for this appointment. And it is needed. He is on the outside of that foot so bad now that even his teacher today noticed. Not good.

Matthew had physio yesterday. First Steve told me that he could not believe how hard he pushed on his foot. As hard as he does on an adult... and Matthew NEVER complains. In fact, he said that some times he thinks to himself, 'I shouldn't do this, he's only 8'. Wow. Then he told me that I may have something there about that 'callous'. He said that I may be right that there is more to that callous then meets the eye. He was happy to hear that I emailed Kristina and that Matthew will be X-rayed for leg length AND his heal. He also agreed with me that a cast is most likely needed.

Wow.

Did I actually hear that right? Did my always positive 'I don't think he needs a cast' Steve say that? Yes. Bless his heart, when he found out I was cancelling my 25th reunion, he told me to tell Dr Dobbs that he would be willing to tape again, and to teach me to tape.

Wonderful idea. But not the answer. He needs a cast. And even Steve knows that this time.

Matthew knows this too. I have to tell him my suspicions. He is ok with it. Kind of.

Enough negative. Here is today's positive.

I was at the school today volunteering. They had an old fashioned sports day at school. Great fun! Matthew's teacher knows of his upcoming trip because he is going to miss the last two days of school. She told me that both her and the phys ed teacher are both in awe of him. That despite his foot problems, he is one of the fastest runners, strongest athletes, never give up kind of kids they have ever seen.

Yes. That is Matthew.Go hard in everything. Always.

Love that.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Elephant In The Room

I haven't been posting. Many reasons. Some easy, some not.

But I need to post about the elephant.

Funny, everyone I know keeps telling me how great his foot looks.

I've told Steve my thoughts. I am sure he thinks I am nuts. That's ok. Isn't the first time. Won't be the last.

I see bad things in Matthew's foot.

He is getting a huge callous on the inside of his left heel. Very odd place to get a callous.

I mentioned this weeks ago to Steve. Being the wonderful ever half full kind of guy he is, said 'maybe he is walking and placing pressure on the inside of his foot.'

Not so odd a statement. E-stim has been doing some amazing things as seen by some previous posts. And, honestly, his mobility in that foot has been really good. Why would I question things?

There are some things that can't lie. The shoe is one. A few months ago, I had to buy all new shoes. They are now worn on the outside. And looking inside, they are torn up on the outside.

What does that mean? In my mind, all bad things.

Today I told Steve (out of ear shot of Matthew) that I was concerned that because of his osteotomy, that bone was being laid down, and causing issues. He said he would take a look and let me know.

His thoughts after were good. (Did I mention that I love Steve?) He doesn't feel any rough boney spots. No tenderness. Felt that his foot felt good mobility wise. Thought that his outward movement was the best ever.

Yay!

But here comes that elephant. If everything is wonderful, why the callous, why the walking on the outside of his foot? I mean, it is not an occasional thing. He is ALWAYS on the outside of that foot. I know, I am the MOM. I will see things there, not there, and almost there. I am concerned. And I am seeing things that shouldn't be.

Matthew's next appointment with Dr Dobbs is June 27. He is due for x-rays to check for leg length discrepancy. I will be asking for an x-ray of his heel.

Looking for that elephant.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Day, Another Throat Swab

Poor Matthew. Back to the doctor's office because his last throat swab came back positive for strep. That makes 2 positives in 2 weeks with a week of antibiotics in between. He finished his second round of antibiotics (and by second round I mean second round in as many weeks) yesterday. We find out Friday if this latest swab comes back with strep yet again.

Good news, all other blood work came back normal.

Other good news, we finally have a referral to see an ENT (ear, nose throat) specialist.

Bad news is it could take 2-3 months for an appointment.

This is progress...right?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

E-Stim Update (7 months in)

Since buying the E-Stim machine in the fall, Matthew gets E-Stim about 4-5 days a week. I may be biased, but I think we are seeing results. Let me know what you think.

A year ago, before E-stim, this was the flicker that we saw.

This is what we are seeing now.

video

Did you see him move his foot outwards? Did you see his little toe move independently of the other toes?

And Matthew even surprised himself when he saw his big toe moving independently!

video

I think the best part is near the end (when Ryan is pointing out toe jam) you can see Matthew's left hand doing what his foot is doing. It takes a lot of concentration for that small movement.

They may seem like small steps, but in this journey, they are big leaps!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Here We Go...Again

Matthew finished his antibiotics on Friday morning.

Saturday morning his throat was sore. By Saturday afternoon, he was fading fast, begging for a nap, then later, begging to go to bed.

Took him to the doctor's this morning, looks very much like strep again, or is that still? His ears are good, but his throat and tonsils are terrible. He is now on yet another round of antibiotics, this time for 10 days.

And finally, he is getting blood work. Testing him for mono, liver function and your regular CBC. Why liver function you ask? Well, for the first time, a doctor checked his abdomen and he is tender, especially around the liver. After reading, Mono can cause a swollen liver...but best to check it out and make sure.

And then there is the nodule on the back of his neck...she wants it watched and looked at again if this round of antibiotics doesn't make it go away.

I hope there is no more blogging on this topic, but I suspect there will be more to come.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Need A Laugh?

Maybe you have seen this already, but I just found this you tube video and had to share it. Cracks me up!

Twin Baby Boys Have A Conversation

Spring Time In Calgary

Here, in Calgary, we ALWAYS get snow in spring. Always.
Don't believe me? Check here for last year May 1.

This is what we woke to this morning.


Yes, that is my ruler measuring the snow.


Yes, that says 19 cm (7 1/2 inches) of snow.


Check out my candle holder!


Should be some great skiing conditions for the weekend. Can't wait to hit the slopes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feeling Melancholy Tonight

I logged on tonight to blog about skiing. Instead, the music in the background is sending me other places. Sara McLachlan has a beautiful and haunting voice. And takes me places where I may not want to go.

I wanted to blog about Matthew's skiing. To give those others following a few years behind Matthew's journey some inspiration. That even with the cards he was dealt, that yes, skiing is something he can do. He can ski the green runs and even the blues after only two short seasons. Amazes me that even though he skis without his AFO that he can still make turns both left and right with equality. That even though he favors that right leg, the left at times seems just for balance, that doesn't seem to favor one direction for turning. He can turn just as quickly both left and right.

But Sara has taken me from those wonderful thoughts, back to the doubts, the what ifs. It is not a place I go willingly. Not a place I want to be. I truly believe in making informed choices based on what we know, and no regrets. But sometimes, I sneak back there...begrudgingly.

Maybe it was the email I got from a clubfoot group that had a video of kids being treated from birth by Dr. Ponseti having wonderful outcomes.

Wishing that 8 years ago I had been smarter, more diligent. Less trusting. That I had sought the answers then like I do now. But, then I wonder. Would it had made a difference? Or would we still be sitting here, tonight, at the same point?

Those who know me well, know that one of my mottos in life is no regrets, no second guesses. It is a motto I chose many years ago, but sometimes, in the wee hours, it is hard to live up too.

Sometimes I feel we are breaking new ground. Making trail for those others who are finding themselves on this unique road. Some days it is exciting and wonderful. Others, it is long and laborious. Some days I wish for that easy road.

I know that tomorrow, I will be strong again. I will be ready to face Matthew when he challenges me about wearing his AFO. When he tells me that some one called him 'robot leg', ready to give him the strength he is going to need.

But right now, I don't feel like I have what it takes. But he can't know that. He needs to know that I am strong. That he is strong.

In the words of Sara Mclachlan

'There is always some reason
To not feel good enough,
And it's hard, at the end of the day.'

'And everywhere you turn,
There's vultures and thieves at your back'

And most importantly

'You're in the arms of the angel,
May you find some comfort here.'

Tonight, I am looking for comfort.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sick Kids...Again...wait a minute, didn't I post that already?

Yup, sick kids again.

Two weeks ago, Ryan had a fever of 40 C (104 F), then his ear started to hurt. Took him to the doctor who said no infection, just fluid. A day later, all pain gone.

I thought good.

Not good. Then his ear began to drain icky stuff. Yup, perforated ear drum.

Then, Matthew got sick, again.

Took them both in to the doctor.

Matthew has an ear infection and strep throat.

Ryan has no hole in the ear drum (most likely already healed over) but lots of lovely pus behind his ear drum.

Both on antibiotics. Again.

The difficult part is, Ryan is allergic to penicillin. So he is on Biaxin.

Matthew gets upset tummy and terrible diarrhea with Biaxin so he is on penicillin.

The doses are different, and one gets it twice a day, the other gets it three times a day.

Crossing my fingers I don't screw it up. So far I only once tried to give the wrong dose. Lucky for me the kids stopped me. Whew!

They are now on the mend, back at school. I am trying to play catch up with housework. Hopefully will get a chance to post about skiing in the next few days.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frustrated and Thankful

I am trying to set up Matthew's next appointment in St. Louis with Dr. Dobbs. He has become so busy now that it is really hard to get in to see him at Shriner's.

I sent an email to Kristina to see what days from April 18 - June 27 we could come in. Seems that of those 11 weeks, he is only available for 2 dates, and one of those is the only date that doesn't work for us because Craig can't take that day off of work.

I am so frustrated not because of the heavy workload Dr. Dobbs and his staff have taken at the Shriner's recently, but because of Matthew's old surgeon here.

For those who don't know the whole story, you can read it here. The short version is, when I asked Matthew's pediatric surgeon of 6 years if we could possibly go to the US for a second opinion, he was very rude and condescending to me, telling me that the doctor I had found was a nobody, that I had been internet shopping and that he refused to sign the paperwork that would allow me to obtain out of country insurance to see Dr. Dobbs. He happens to be the head of pediatric orthopedics in the city and works with all the other surgeons here. So, with him refusing the sign the paper work, my only other option was to go through Shriner's. Which we did and were so fortunate to have them immediately start the paper work for Matthew to see Dr. Dobbs.

And now, with Dr Dobbs so busy, he is now seeing older children at the Children's hospital to try and relieve some of the workload at the Shriner's. If it were not for the arrogance of the surgeon here, we would be able to see Dr Dobbs at the Children's. So frustrating.

And, I think I recall a clause in the paperwork for out of country insurance stating that if you start going out of country before obtaining the insurance, that you can not go back and request it after the fact. So, even if the surgeon here had a change of heart, my hands are still tied.

Frustrated. In fact, beyond frustrated right now.

And yet, so thankful.

Kristina (Dr. Dobbs' care coordinator) has spent the better part of the morning emailing me back all kinds of information to try and get Matthew in to see Dr. Dobbs at the end of June. Dr. Dobbs, Kristina and the team are beyond busy at the Shriner's and yet, I still get emails back immediately and they are bending over backwards to make it work for us.

And so thankful to the Shriner's, who took one look at Matthew's file and Dr. Dobbs' credentials and knew right away that this was the doctor for Matthew. AND had the paperwork and funding for him with in a week.

So, today, I am frustrated and yet thankful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just For Me

For a few weeks now, on Tuesday's I have been taking a Latin Cardio class followed by a Yoga Fusion class. I am pleasantly surprised to say I am LOVING it.

I need to be doing more for me. That should be the mantra for all mommies out there. So, I am trying. Once a week, I drop the kids off at school and head to a small fitness studio.

We spend an hour sweating and dancing salsa, bachata, with a little african and belly dancing thrown in. It is great fun.

Then, we spend an hour doing yoga mixed with pilates. The emphasis is on core strength. Right up my alley.

And the best part, it is all taught by a physiotherapist, who knows that most of us are moms desperately wanting our old bodies back, many with joints that no longer resemble that of our former selves.

A perfect mix, just for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Today, My Baby Is 7

I can't believe my baby is 7 yrs old today. I don't know about everyone else, but kid birthdays always bring me back to that moment/day when they were born.

Today, Ryan is on my mind. A few weeks before Ryan was born, we found out that I had IUGR, that Ryan was not growing, and that he would have to be delivered early. We were told all the possible problems and what a stay in the NICU could entail.

7 yrs ago, I was sitting beside Ryan's isolate in the NICU just watching him. I wasn't even allowed to open the little door and hold his hand.



I remember being worried for him, but knowing that he was doing better then everyone thought. I remember wondering how Matthew, only 15 months old, was going to deal with Mommy rooming in at the hospital to be close to the new baby so I could pump and feed him when the time came. I remember wondering how long before all of this would be behind us.

Ryan did very well and 5 days later, came home weighing 4 lbs 3 oz. I remember thinking 'am I even allowed to take such a little baby home?'

He was small (first day home)


But he grew quickly. (1 month and the last day he wore that preemie outfit!)

And today, I can look back and know that all of that is behind us. My boy is 7 today.

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Lucky Day

It must have been my lucky day or maybe even week.

I took the shoes with the blue sole to see my guy Tony. Wanted to know if he had that color.

**small world, while I was there, Steve (Matthew's p/t) was there too. Chatted for a few minutes. Seems he now has another clubfoot boy (5 yrs) and was asking me some names, numbers for AFO's and such. Small world, or perhaps the way the world works...

Tony was out for a bit but the guy at the counter told me they could NOT do that shoe. They did NOT have blue.

Crap.

As I was walking out, in walked Tony. I showed him the shoe and told him what I wanted. Not even through the front door yet, he took the shoe and started walking to his work area.

And my man Tony said, "Of course we can do this shoe. I will cut the black part of the bottom off, and put a black lift on. It will look great."

Yay Tony!

Thankfully I chatted with Steve long enough for Tony to get back. Like I said, is it a small world, or just the mysterious way the world works? Had Steve not been there, I would have taken the other man's opinion and returned those shoes...

So, off to school to get the boys. Then down to the shoe store to measure his feet. Yup, I had the right size. Yay me!

I dropped the two left shoes off at Tony's to have the 1/2 inch lift put in. And the other great news? He thinks they will be done by tomorrow!

Talk about luck! But no, I am not going to buy a lottery ticket. I think I have just used up all my luck for the next week...maybe month!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shoe Shopping

I love shopping for shoes... for me.

Matthew said to me last week, "Mommy, my shoes hurt."

Sure enough, he has grown out of all of his shoes.

For those of you who have been around this blog for awhile, you know that shopping for shoes for Matthew is never fun. There are so many criteria to meet for his shoes...

So, yesterday, off I went to the shoe store, AFO in hand, child in school, searching for the next size up. (Did I mention he is out of his AFO yet again with another blister? Will need to address that once this blister heals.)

Why do I go without said child to the shoe store? Honestly, it is easier. Because there are so many criteria, the number of shoes to try is limited. And it breaks my heart to watch him find a pair that he loves only to tell him, no, they will never work for you. So, I go to the store, try the brace in as many shoes that work, then buy what I can. Then, he can try that selection on at home. Less disappointment that way.

The criteria while at the store?

1. Must be non-marking.

2. Must have a sole made from a material that can be split and have a lift inserted. That means the sole has to be wide enough, and can't go up in the arch like so many shoes do these days. Oh and color... if there are multiple colors, then the lift will be very noticeable. And that is not cool.

3. His AFO must fit in it.

4. I try to keep the shoe under $40 seeing the lift that is added is $50. That makes each pair of shoes $90 or less.

Yesterday, I walked into a sale and I had a coupon! Woohooo!

This is what I walked out with.


That was a good shopping day!

Once the boys were home, I had Matthew try on all the shoes. Of course, he has his own criteria.

1. Must look cool.

2. Must fit his right foot.

Out of five pairs, two fit...kind of. It seems one size up may not be enough. I will have to get two sizes bigger and see if that is better.

Oh, and of those two pair that kind of fit, one has a sole that is a funky blue color. Matthew loves that. Tony (my shoe guy) may not be able to match it.

At least one pair may work.

Today, back to the shoe store to return 3 pair and buy 2 other pair. And stop by Tony to see if he can match the sole color. Then back home to see if those shoes work. Then return what doesn't, and have a lift put in to hopefully two (indoor and outdoor) pair.

I hate shoe shopping.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First Communion

On Sunday, Matthew took part in his First Holy Communion.

My little man all dressed up.


He was nervous, which we expected. What we didn't expect, was how excited he was.



Photos were not allowed during Mass. I am not sure I would have been able to take a photo of him receiving his first communion host, honestly, my eyes were brimmed with tears. It was a beautiful moment that will forever be in my heart. No photo could be more precious than that memory.

After Mass.

With Father Avi


We had a celebration at our house after with family and friends. Matthew got some wonderful gifts. I am still surprised that his favorite was ours. A leather book/case that holds a prayer book, rosary and a first communion pin. He has been reading it daily and working on praying the rosary.



Ryan is almost counting the days til his First Communion next year.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Through A Muddled Mind

This week has been a write off. It started Sunday night with Ryan, and is ending today with all three of us sick.

All week I have had one or both boys home from school. Ryan made it to school for 1/2 a day, Matthew 2 1/2 days. Up every night coughing and asthma attacks. That meant I was up every night dosing with ventolin, vicks vapor rub, tylenol and anything else I could find.

And my reward for nursing these poor sick boys, a head, muddled with the terrible cold they have. You know the feeling, where your brain thinks it knows what it's doing, but when you see what you do, you think that your head must really be attached to a different body. Yesterday it took me three tries to make my fingers, which felt like over stuffed sausages, to dial the right number for the school to tell them who was away for the day.

When the boys woke this morning coughing and wheezing, begging for ventolin, I thought things were going to get ugly...fast. I was pleasantly surprised when a few hours later only Ryan is coughing.

Maybe they are finally on the mend. I know my head has cleared slightly.

I would love to say we have the weekend to recover, but that isn't the case. Matthew has his first Holy Communion this weekend. Saturday is a retreat at the church and Sunday is the big day to be followed with a crowd over at the house after to celebrate.

I know I must be feeling better because I am both excited and panicked at the weekend ahead.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back In The Saddle

Or AFO I should say.

Yesterday Matthew wore his AFO all day. Yay! Guess the cut on his ankle was the culprit.

He also had physio yesterday. Steve is still pleased with his dorsiflextion, mainly focusing on his forefront drift (Metatarsus adductus).

So, for the time being, things are back to normal...what ever that means.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Curses

On Monday, while skating, Matthew got a rub mark that turned into a bloody mess on his ankle from skating.

On Tuesday, he came home from school with his AFO in his backpack rather then on his foot. It hurt.

Understandable.

Now, he has been out of his AFO for two more days.

Will try again tomorrow to see if he can wear it again. Hoping his cut on his ankle is the reason he is out of the AFO. If not, then it is back to the orthotist we go.

Curses.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Family Day Skate

Yesterday was Family Day, a holiday for many Albertans including Craig for once. Actually, he had Presidents day off, not Family Day. But it doesn't matter, we were all home together.

All four of us have been sick but yesterday we thought we felt good enough to do something. Why not a family skate? So off to an indoor rink we went.

Everyone had a great time, the boys laughing at me for my slow skating. Hey, I have my first pair of skates in about 20 years, and that ice is much harder at 42 then it ever was at 12. Speed is not my goal at the moment.

The boys are improving. They played tag with Daddy while I practiced not falling.

At one point, I skated up to Matthew, who had fallen again. His pants were soaked from falling. I asked him if he was having a fun time.

"This is GREAT Mommy!" he said as he hopped up and skated away.

I watched him skate. It isn't the prettiest sight. His left foot is not strong and wobbles terribly without his AFO. He tried to skate with mostly his right. And he spends a lot of time on his butt. But that doesn't matter to him. What matters is he can go faster then Mommy and it is a lot of fun.

And you know what? That is all that matters to me too. I know he will never be a Gretzky. That's not what I want. His name isn't Wayne, his name is Matthew.

And he is a great one.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Over a year ago, Matthew came to me and said

"Mommy, I want to play football."

Maybe to many families of boys that doesn't come as a complete surprise. They see their dads watching football, maybe the superbowl, they play football with their buddies, or toss the ball around with their dads from the time they could walk.

Not here. We don't watch sports on tv apart from a bit of CFL (Go Riders!) when we are around. Daddy here never played football, or baseball, just a bit of hockey. And for me, well, I can barely throw a football without embarrassing myself.

So you can imagine our surprise when Matthew decided football was going to be his sport of choice. I looked into it and found a great organization for football, but it started at age 8. I told him he had to wait a year, and in the meantime, did he even know what football was?

So, out in the yard he went last spring, picked up a football we had and tossed it. I have to say, I was shocked. It was a perfect spiral, and he could chuck that thing far. Since then, he has tossed a football around while camping, at grandma and grandpa's house, and with our friends. "that's quite an arm he has" is something we have heard quite a few times.

So, now that he is 8, I signed him up. Season starts in August.

Now I'm not the kind of mom who thinks her kids are superstars but I am very excited for football season. Maybe it is because I've seen where he has come from. I've seen him struggle with pain, with AFO's, with tripping, endless physio, surgeries, e-stim, with a foot that won't do what it is supposed to do. Just yesterday, we were at the outdoor rink in our neighborhood. He sat down on the ice, mad. I asked what was wrong and he said "Mommy! It isn't easy to skate for a kid with a clubfoot!" I told him that no, it isn't as easy for him as it is for others but that just meant that if he wants it he has to try even harder to do it. He sat for a minute, stewing, then got up and skated, played tag and even tried a hockey stick without another word.

Thanks to many people, this kid is going to play football. Something I never thought he would do. And I get to watch it all, with a smile on my face, and maybe a few quiet tears of joy.

So, are you ready for some football?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day In A Crafters House

I asked the boys what kind of Valentine's Day cards they wanted me to buy for them to hand out this year. Their answer,

"We want to make them this year!"

I reminded them they needed to make one for each child in their class. That maybe store bought would be easier.

Nope, they want to make them. And not just a cut out heart with the student's name on it, but a unique creation for each child.

It was one of those proud mommy moments mixed with the feeling of 'crap, there goes my table for the next week'. So, out came all the paper, scissors, glue, foamy shapes and everything else you could ever want to make a valentine's day card with.



They are about half way finished. Matthew's have gotten more elaborate as he goes on.



Ryan has decided to stick to one template.



I hope the kids, parents and teachers understand how much work and effort is going into this project.

And a quick update, Matthew is finally on the mend. Even went to school today.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back - Revisited

Last week, Matthew went back to his orthotist and had the toe strap on his AFO adjusted. Finally, success! He is able to put it on in the morning, wear it all day at school and walk home from school with no problems. Yay!

And the back steps...

Matthew's tonsils looked horrid on Friday. Took him to the doctor again on Saturday. No fever. No white spots on the tonsils. No hint at all that a bacterial infection was there other then it had been 10+ days since the last doctor's appointment and some mild fluid build up in his ear. Because of that, he was given yet another round of antibiotics.

That evening, the sore throat started. By bedtime, he had three doses of antibiotics. I thought for sure by Sunday evening, he would be right as rain.

I was wrong.

It is now Tuesday and he is just starting to get better. His mouth and throat starting Sunday was bright red covered with white. His throat so sore he couldn't eat or drink.

And to add insult to injury, he is getting his last molars. All four are trying to push through.

Poor kid.

Maybe next week will be his week.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Morning Funny

This morning, the boys came running upstairs.

"Mommy! There is a dead fish in the tank!"

Sure enough, one had died overnight. Not a big deal, we have home bred guppies. One dead will not be missed, let alone noticed.

I got the net and removed it. Went to the bathroom to flush it, followed closely by the boys.

Ryan "Mommy, I want to flush it."

Matthew "Me too."

So, they flushed together. They must have felt the need to say something for the occasion.

Matthew "Awwwww, poor little guy."

Ryan "Have a nice day fishie!"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What To Do On A Snowy Cold Weekend?

This past weekend, the snow fell and the temperature dropped changing our plans of camping and skiing, or even skating.

What to do when the snow is coming down so peacefully on a Friday evening? Bundle up, grab the wine and have a fire outside of course!

This was just what fell in the few hours after school.



Fire in the quiet snow. So peaceful.




Then, on the weekend, I stumbled onto a sale on board games. So I picked up a few new ones.


These were big hits.







Luckily, the weather is warming up. Looks like skating outdoors this week, maybe even some more skiing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back To The Orthotist We Go

I was hoping I had the toe strap on too tight. Nope. The angle is off and needs to be adjusted, again.

So it is back to the orthotist again. And yet another absence from school.

One of these days this thing will fit...and then he will have a growth spurt and need a new one. Isn't that the way it is supposed to go?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Good news at the doctor's appointment yesterday. Yes his tonsils are swollen, but no signs of a bacterial infection. Looks like he is just fighting your every day virus.

She gave us yet another idea to help him out. NeilMed (Yes, Jenn, this is the pediatric version of the NetiPot) Tried it last night and his nose was clear. The best news, still clear this morning. Yay!

Also started him on Vit D. The doctor was saying that a huge percentage of the population (especially in the northern latitudes) are Vit D deficient. New studies are showing that to get your allotted Vit D from sun, you need to spend 20 min in the sun with a UV index of 7 or higher...naked. I asked Matthew if he was interested in doing recess naked from now on. No go. So I bought some Vit D as well. Did a bit of research and a lack in Vit D can cause low energy and fatigue, and lowered immunity. Maybe that is why he keeps getting sick. Can't hurt.

And the bad news. The toe strap hurts. I am hoping that maybe it was just on to tight yesterday. If not, then it is back to the orthotist we go...again. That will make 3 times in less then 2 weeks. One day this AFO will fit right...one day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sick - Again

Matthew is sick. Again.

Back in October, Matthew started coughing. Tried all the things we usually do for a cough. Finally took him in before our trip, worried it would get worse while away. Everything seemed great, just a pesky cough and nasal congestion.

In November, he was still coughing after we returned. Took him in again. Was told to up his flovent and Ventolin. Didn't work.

In December, took him in again. He was tested for strep, told that maybe a nasal spray would help by clearing is nasal congestion, hence the cough. Tried Hydrasense. Didn't work.

Took him back to the doctor a few weeks ago. This time, tried 2 weeks of antibiotics and a steroid nasal spray. Finally, the cough cleared. The congestion did not.

And yesterday, he said his tongue was sore. I took a look. His tonsils are swollen.

Back to the doctor we go. I'm at a loss as to why he is so sick these past few months.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It's off to the orthotist I go...again.

When we were in St. Louis last month, they decided to add a toe strap to try and stop Matthew's toes from drifting over. Simple concept, should work.


Problem is, the strap keeps slipping to this position.



Then his toe peaks out and the strap is useless. Went to the orthotist last week to try to add some velcro to see if we could hold the toe strap in better position, as well as adding more padding to stop his ankle from getting blisters.

Didn't work.

Back to the orthotist I go. This is what we are trying now.


Hoping this does the trick.