Today marks six weeks since Caleb’s spinal surgery (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) in St. Louis at the end of August. Since that time, Caleb has had physical therapy 3 times a week and also works with a physical therapist during preschool. He is definitely fully recovered now and there isn’t anything that he was able to do before the surgery that he can’t do now. He used to use his spasticity to his advantage and use it to stay upright, but now that the underlying muscles (or lack thereof) are responsible for his mobility, he tends to get tired more easily. Although, just this week Shane and I were remarking that he’s been able to walk in his walker for longer periods of time without getting tired, so we think he’s just getting stronger and stronger everyday.
We’re currently working primarily on proper heel-strike gait patterns when using his walker, transitioning from kneeling to standing, side-stepping, standing unassisted while wearing ski boots (they provide foot/ankle/leg stability), riding a tricycle and walking on the treadmill. Our fantastic therapist is able to use an assortment of toys, puzzles and technology to work on these skills while making it seem like a game to Caleb.
Caleb’s scar on his back has healed perfectly and isn’t very big at all, I’d guess maybe 3 inches long? I’m not sure he’s totally aware that he has a scar back there, but knows that we used special lotion to get rid of a rash he got from being in his hospital bed for several days. The only limitation he had until now was NO WRESTLING so now we no longer have to break up he and Wyatt when they choose to play tackling games which cause me to age at an exponential rate. We give him a good stretch morning and night and encourage extra PT activities like walking on the treadmill at home and practicing side-stepping at a local playground on the weekends. Some days are better than others in regards to his cooperation level, but that’s to be expected… he’s three, afterall.
Overall, I’d say we are happy with the progress we’re seeing thus far and we don’t have any regrets. His flexibility and range of motion have improved so much, it’s like it’s a whole different kid! And with everything he’s gone through these past 6 weeks, he is still our smiley Caleb a vast majority of the time.
Here’s a video of him learning to use a tricycle in a recent therapy session.