Botox?

We are very fortunate that Caleb is making such fantastic progress in his various therapies. Not wanting to be lackadaisical, we’ve educated ourselves on what other treatments are out there for Caleb. His orthopedist and developmental pediatrician agreed that Caleb might be a candidate for Botox injections. Commonly, Botox is used to treat wrinkles and is a regular guest star on every Real Housewives of {…} series.  In instances of cerebral palsy, however, Botox is injected directly into the stiff muscles (in Caleb’s case his hip flexors and calves) and blocks the transmission between the nerves and affected muscle. The injection stops the signal between the nerve and the muscle, relaxing the muscle and reducing stiffness. When the muscle is relaxed then stretches and exercises are much easier and the patient will likely see an improvement in their mobility.

Sounds great right? Well we had our concerns of course. Botox is a neurotoxin and is produced from the same bacteria that causes botulism. It can be harmful in large quantities  but the treatment of spasticity only requires a small amount. We were under the impression that the child has to be under general anesthesia in order for the shots to be administered since accuracy is of utmost importance. It can be done that way, but our doctor assured us that they use a local numbing cream so the shot is less painful. We were relieved since Botox wears off after 3-4 months and we definitely did not want Caleb to have to undergo that much anaesthesia! We’d finally come around to entertaining the idea of treating Caleb with Botox and decided to take the next step.

We had an appointment last week for a consultation with the doctor who would ultimately administer the shots. Caleb was evaluated for his candidacy since not all kids with CP are candidates for Botox. We were under the impression that Caleb would be a candidate since his spasticity is his largest obstacle.

Imagine our surprise when after a lengthy meeting which included our entire pregnancy history, delivery details and a physical exam of Caleb, we found out he is not a candidate at this time. You’d think we would’ve been bummed but in actuality, Caleb wasn’t a candidate because he’s doing so well! He’s learning how to use his body and adjusting to the high muscle tone. He’s working with his little legs to figure out how to walk on his own and he’s been making great strides so the doctor didn’t want to change anything right now. If Caleb received Botox, he’d have to re-learn how to use his much more limber muscles. So in an effort not to confuse him, we’re holding off on treatment for the time being. Caleb will not be getting Botox if he continues making such great progress. He’ll be getting re-evaluated in 3 months to see where we stand at that time, but for now we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing without medical intervention. That’s not to say that Caleb will never need Botox, but for now it’s off the table. Pretty exciting huh? Not only does this give us more motivation to continue our current therapy regimen, but it gives us faith that our doctor is not in the practice of administering Botox to anyone who wants it. They have high standards and want to be sure that the patient will truly benefit from treatment.

Caleb says… leave the Botox to the Beverly Hills beauties, I don’t need it! Woohoo!

photo (43)

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I'm a working mom of three fantastic boys: Caleb, Wyatt and Parker. My husband, Shane, and I live in the Washington DC suburbs where we enjoy playgrounds, pools and never getting to sleep in. This blog is a journal of our day-to-day lives as well as a chronicle of Caleb's progress after a recent spinal surgery to alleviate the effects of his cerebral palsy.

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