Back in July we traveled to Shriner's Hospital of Chicago for our annual visit with Dr. Smith, Alex's Orthopedic Surgeon. This was our 4th visit with him in three years. He has been monitoring Alex's hips over the years and he finally told us that it was time. Time for surgery. Three words we had been dreading and not wanting to hear but it is our reality, Alex's reality living with Spastic Cerebral Palsy.
I actually consider Alex lucky in a sense. Many children with his disability have to have surgery much sooner. So, for Alex to be 7 and just now being told he has to have his hips operated on, I will say is somewhat of a blessing.
In July, Dr. Smith told us he recommended it be done within six months - also a bit of a shock to us. So, once we returned home from Chicago, I called and made an appointment with an Orthopedic Dr. here in Michigan. Eric and I really like Dr. Smith and he does AMAZING work, but that kind of surgery is invasive, painful and uncomfortable. I couldn't see us trying to transport Alex home from Chicago being in the car for 5+ hours.
On October 2, 2017 we met with Dr. Zaltz who works out of Royal Oak Beaumont. He was recommended to us by Dr. Smith and it turns out they are very close friends. Eric and I both like Dr. Zaltz a lot and agreed to have him perform the surgery. He was very personable and answered all of our questions. He agreed at that time that Alex does need the surgery, but only on his left hip. He would also do a muscle lengthening procedure on his Hamstrings and Abductor muscles at the same time. Doing this procedure along with the Hip Reconstruction should do wonders for Alex. His muscles would not be as tight therefore relieving some of the pressure he is putting on his hips. Right now his left hip is close to 50% out from dislocating.
We are hopeful that this surgery will be a success and because he is 7, there is a good chance he will not have to have the surgery again on his hips. Depending on how fast he grows over these next few years, the muscle lengthening may have to be repeated, but we hope not.
He will be in the hospital for 2-3 days, then released to go home to be cared for by us for 4-6 weeks depending on how well he heals. He will have some form of braces and or casts on portions of his legs to keep him from bending them and moving them when he shouldn't. He will have a plate and screws in his hips for 6-9 months and will need therapy 2-3 times a week once the Doctor clears him to do so which is around the 4-5 week mark.
I am anxious and scared for him and me. I will be his primary caregiver and I just hope that I can do what I need to do to help him and keep him comfortable. No parent wants to see their child in pain or have to hand him over to Doctors and Nurses and give them the control. This is going to be our biggest challenge thus far and I hope when it's over, it will all be worth it. I hope that he heals well and that the tightness and pain are relieved and that overall it will allow him to get around better in his walker and crawling on the floor.
As much as I am dreading January 26, 2018, it is cold and snowy out and by the time he is done healing, spring will be around the corner. We will be ready to be outside enjoying the warm sunshine!
Please keep us all in your thoughts as we embark on this rocky adventure, but mostly think of Alex. He needs his friends and family's support to keep that smile (that lights up a room) on his face and in our hearts.
I will post more as we get closer to surgery. Until then...