Sunday, June 14, 2015

4 Weeks and a Taste of Fancy Free!

If you missed the Thank You video for those that bought shirts...
We made it to the 4 week post-op mark!  So, what has surgery and 4 weeks in foot casts and a body brace brought us?  Let me tell you...
Morning stretches with BOTH arms - something she would rarely do before.  We know the left side of her brain is affected because that's what tells the right side of the body what to do.  I have been reading an amazing book called "The Brain That Changes Itself" and how to rewire the brain.  Let me say that again - REWIRE the brain!  Once thought to have a certain number of cells to learn with, Bryer is proof of brain plasticity - it can change!  This picture has "Wake Up and Be Different" written all over it, RIGHT?! 
Nothing better than giggle therapy of dropping toys on your brother's head!  Practice of opening and closing her hands on target - things we don't think of having to learn. 
God picked these siblings just for Bryer - and picked Bryer just for her siblings!
I caught this very sweet picture of Piper (in the pink hat) explaining to her friend what Cerebral Palsy is, how Bryer's brain works, and what the surgery has done for her.  I'm not gonna lie - to see her handle it with such grace, accurate information, and speak in a way that kids understand - man, it just melts my heart until it leaks out of my eyes! 
Sitting around in a brace and casts is not much fun - unless your brother builds you a pillow fort to play in! 
...Or if you get to do fun therapy like this!  It might be mistaken for fun, but there's actually a lot of vestibular input and proprioception going on here - training the body, brain, and inner ear to know where it's at in space and how to find balance in it. 
There won't be swimming for Bryer all summer, so Piper, Walker, and I made her this water pillow with plastic and packing tape.  We put floaty toys in it to play with so she could feel a little like she was swimming.   
More entertainment on the couch - "Guess That Voice" (or breathing, feeling hair, etc.) without seeing the face.   Again - check out the right hand reaching instead of the left.  Not a full time improvement, but an improvement nonetheless.  A-Mazing!
 More hammock play with concentration - and holding on with both hands, thumbs opposing, to get pulled to swing.  The hair can get a little out of control in the hammock!

4 of our 5 kids enjoyed the hammocks on this day.  They had to use teamwork to get everyone swinging without anyone letting go - no matter the position they were in! 

Finally, the big day arrived!  28 days post op means the casts can come off and we get a peek at those new feet!  Our other kids might have been just as excited as we were - it's like Christmas unwrapping a new present! 
Real quick first, here's a before shot in the hotel the night before surgery.  Pointy ballerina toes that were so tight I could not get them to a 90 degree angle no matter how hard I tried.  I couldn't even bend them with her legs straight - I'd have to bend her knee, and then bend at her ankle, but even that wasn't much. 
And Ta-Da!  Let me introduce you to her new cast-free feet!  At rest, they look like this, but we can get them beyond 90 degrees with her feet flat on the floor!  Toe stretching is in her future to keep those tootsies extended too! 
 It's amazing to me that these little pokes in the back of her leg could have that huge of an effect.  I love the phrase "least evasive."
She has had a few muscle spasms, especially right after they took her casts off.   A Costco run after the doctor is not the most convenient place for painful spasms, but Walker was such a good help to climb in the cart and keep her feet flexed for her while we finished our shopping.  As the doctor has requested, she'll wear her casts (or we can take them off and keep her feet at 90 degrees) until her new braces come in next week.  It will help keep the spasms down and keep her feet flexed in the position we need them. 
While she was fitted for her foot braces (afo's) we also had some adjustments made to her body brace (see the red mark on her leg?!).  She got about 10 minutes without any casts and brace!  Her body feels so loose and wobbly - like a baby learning to sit and learn to train those muscles in a whole new way.  She did put both hands down in front of her and then pushed through both arms to sit up tall - another new skill she couldn't do before since her arms were tight and her legs wanted to stick straight out together and make the rest of her body go into pencil-mode.  If she wanted to sit up before, we'd have to cross her legs into a tight criss-cross applesauce for her to find her balance. 
Now to put the brace and casts back on.  :-)   
This little girl simply amazes me! 
By the request of blog readers, I am going to try to get back on my Sunday posts - whether that's updates on Bryer or other thoughts and stories that move through my brain. 
Check back next Sunday! 


  1. Thank you! We love Bryer from afar! We are for sure on her team!

  2. Thank you and your family so much for sharing your experience. We have been trying to find the right solution too for our girls spasticity. Bryer's smile and curls are so familiar. Just like my little girl.

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