It is hard to believe that it has been 12 weeks since Nina had her rhizotomy done. I am one of those people that don't notice change when it is gradual. A pretty bad quality to have when your children have special needs. Just last Sunday a lady from our church mentioned that Nina was walking so much better compared to the week before. I was amazed she had noticed the difference of only a week, but as I thought about it I realize that every week she does get stronger and stronger.
As far as mobility goes, Nina is fully capable of walking. Fear is keeping her from doing this, so we are targeting that fear in any way we can. Andy and I decided that maybe Nina needed an incentive for walking, so we took her to Toys R' Us and told her that when she walks on her own, she will be able to get ANY toy she wants. Anything at all! Thankfully (for our budget) she wants the Rapunzel boat that comes with a Flynn Rider. I am sure she wants this because this is something Ellie wants for her birthday too. Since we gave this incentive, she has been practicing her walking and balance all on her own. Incredible!
We also began using theratogs. Nina's left leg turn in pretty bad, and the theratogs help pull it out a little bit. I does help, but we are pretty sure she will need surgery to correct this.
The leg braces really have helped. What they do is gently stretch her hamstrings, so when she stands, her legs are straighter and she has a better range of motion when she walks. More important, by keeping the muscle "long" as she sleeps, her muscles are working and hopefully growing. Growing is something her muscles did not do due to her spasticity. Long hamstrings mean that she will be able to walk better and move better. They also mean hopefully one less surgery in the future.
Nina still prefers to sit in a W position, but if we remind her, she sits like a pretzel or a ballerina on her own.
When Nina is not using her braces, we also have to remind her to put her heels down, as the toe walking habit is still there. With her braces, her heels touch the ground at all times...unless she is using her walker (reason you have heard me say I have a love hate relationship with the walker)
Nina can balance on her own for a long time if she wants to. Sometimes she balances so well that you think she got it, then fear takes over and she looses her balance. This again, is a confidence thing, but we are slowly getting there. I think 20 seconds is pretty average for her now a days. Although she has even made it a full minute, just once.
Nina is also consistently taking 2 steps on her own when we practice. Now you might think this is nothing, but 2 steps are 2 steps in the right direction. I will take the 2 steps over no steps at all. And 3 steps can become 3, then 4, then more.
Here is a little video of Nina walking. We took it with our camera so the video quality is not very good, but look at this girl trying to walk! I think seeing her best friend Oksana walking really pushed her while we were there. I am telling you, this girl is going to walk!