Nearly four months ago, we went into the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery with the mindset that it could have great benefits for Solly, but the most likely case is that he’d simply be more comfortable. Dr. Park, the surgeon at the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital who performed Solly’s SDR in May, requires all US-based patients to come back 4 months after SDR so he can review progress and make any suggestions on physical therapy, bracing, equipment, and additional surgeries to support his patients. We had this appointment this week, so I thought now would be a good time to check in and report back on how Solly is doing post-SDR. Continue reading
Nothing could really prepare us for Solly’s Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy. That’s not to say that I totally unprepared: I’d read countless personal stories about the surgery, devoured anything the doctor’s office sent to us, and asked plenty of questions of fellow Mama’s whose babies had already had the surgery. Those Mamas were even kind enough to give me tips and tricks for the hardest part of the surgery: the recovery. I’ve said it before: the Special Needs community is awesome.
All that said and done, next to our time in the NICU, this surgery was the hardest thing we’ve been through to date with Solly. There were a lot of unhappy moments, quite a few tears, and many sleepless nights. Solly is one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met, so when I see him crying or in pain, I will do anything to stop it.
It was an exhausting few days.
There’s a lot to cover. Here’s what went down before and during surgery: Continue reading
Let me let you in on a little secret: when I take a little break from Solly’s blog, it’s usually because I’m so anxious about something that I am struggling to put an experience into words. While we’re currently in the hospital with Solly recovering from SDR (spoiler!), I wanted to document our entire experience with this potentially life-changing surgery. So before I write about the actually surgery, this post, which I started writing over a month ago but never finished, picks up where the last post left off – our SDR consultation.
When Solly and I walked into Dr. Park’s office at the end of February, I was convinced that the appointment would be short, that, on the negative, we’d quick a quick “no” that would allow me to cross SDR off our list of possible interventions, and, on the positive, we’d finally – finally! – get some clarity around the type of cerebral palsy Solly has. Continue reading
In two weeks from today, Solly and I will be in St. Louis to consult with world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. T. S. Park to determine if Solly is a candidate for a procedure called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). This is a potentially life-changing surgery and while it is one that I’m not confident that Solly is a candidate for, there’s a part of me deep down inside that has all fingers and toes crossed that we’ll get a “yes” from Dr. Park and will be able to schedule surgery for the first half of this year.
What Is SDR?
If you’re interested in a medical explanation of SDR, I highly suggest heading over to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s SDR page. If you want the Camie explanation, read on. In short, it’s an invasive surgery where a surgeon cuts through the spinal nerves located in the lower back that cause spasticity. Spasticity, or muscle tightness, is a common side effect of cerebral palsy and it’s one of the main reasons that Solly struggles with things like four-point crawling, ground transitions, and walking. SDR would almost permanently eliminate spasticity. (If you’ve been following our journey for awhile, you might remember that we had a much less invasive procedure called SPML done back in 2017. The results would be similar, but permanent – the spasticity would not return.) Continue reading
It’s a celebration
This week marked our one year anniversary of Solly’s selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening (SPML) surgery with Dr. Nuzzo in Summit, New Jersey. Our decision to move forward with this surgery was a pivotal point in Solly’s journey towards independent movement. In the weeks leading up to this anniversary, I’ve been reminiscing on the past year and celebrating all of the gains Solly has had and changes he’s gone through because of this surgery.
One year ago, my stomach was in knots during this optional surgery to help Sol’s spasticity (muscle tightness). I felt like I was the worst Mom ever for choosing to put my son under general anesthesia for a procedure that would be painful for him, at least initially. But as Dr. Nuzzo pointed out when we exchanged emails in a virtual consultation, Solly was living in “paralytic jail”. He wanted to move so badly, but his body fought every impulse to move. If we did nothing, it was inevitable that Sol would never be able to move on his own and his independence would be extremely limited. Because of his spasticity (muscle tightness), his bones would deform and he’d likely have to have a series of painful, invasive surgeries to secure his leg joints. Spasticity doesn’t go away on its own: medical intervention is the only way to help manage it. I’d spoken with parents whose children had SPML and after the surgery, their only complaint was that they hadn’t done it sooner. I knew I had to push past my fears and move forward with the surgery. Continue reading