NAPA is Magical

On Day 1 of our 3 week intensive at the NAPA Center, which stands for Neurological and Physical Abilitation and is located in Los Angeles (and Sydney and soon-to-be Boston) and NOT Napa Valley, I proudly posted a photo on Instagram of Solly kicking butt and standing (with assistance) during the first hour of his intensive therapy. A Mama of another CP kiddo quickly posted: “NAPA is magical! I hope you have a great experience.”

I smiled as I read her comment, thinking to myself – yeah, yeah, I’m sure it’s great, but we’ve done intensive therapy before and I’m pretty sure I know how everything will go.

Nope. I was wrong. That Mama was right. NAPA is the most magical and amazing place on Earth. Solly made the most gains I’ve ever seen him make in a short time period.

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Lately: On Specialists and Therapies

The other day, a neuromotor researcher asked me to send her a list of all the therapies we are doing as well as the specialists we regularly see.  With all the traveling we did and changes Solly went through in the last year, this seemingly simple request was not so simple! After our year of change, in my mind, we really pared down the number of therapies Solly did each week, but our schedule is still pretty full. The biggest difference is that we have more therapies that are fun for Sol and fewer that require him to sit still in a chair.

After racking my brain, here is the list that I sent her:

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So long, 2017!

Every once in a while, this roller coaster that we call life heads downwards. Nothing is wrong. It’s just that Solly, Bea and I have been sick with the ick for the better part of a month, which means I have less time to work on Solly’s stretches and exercises, and more time to focus on everything that we aren’t accomplishing.

When life gets like this, I feel a little down for a day or two, and then something as silly as a Facebook memory post knocks me out of my funk. Seeing a post from a year ago reminds me just how much he has grown up and come so far in such a short time. What a year 2017 has been!

We started out 2017 with the mindset that it was the year of change, a year to focus on alternative therapies and procedures as a means to propel Solomon’s progress.

Here’s what we did:

  • First, we added a little sister to the mix. Nope, that wasn’t solely for Solly’s benefit, but let me tell you, having a little sister around has been so good for Solomon. For the first several months of her life, Solly was just so curious about her. He learned how to be gentle around her and to simply observe. Now that she’s a very busy 11-month-old, we’re starting to see the beginnings of a very special sibling bond. Sure, they’re already bickering and picking on one another like siblings typically do, but we’ve also caught them in the act of loving on one another – hugging it out and giggling with each other – and it’s moments like this that make my heart soar. I can’t wait to watch them grow up together!
  • Shortly after Bea’s birth, we moved the family to Hilton Head Island for 2 months so we could start Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
  • In early June, Solly had a procedure called Selective Percutaneous Myofascial Lenthening (SPML). In short, this helped loosen up his legs and give them more range of motion.
  • We followed up SPML by adding hippotherapy to our weekly therapy regimen and we also did two rounds of intensive therapy – one in Nashville and the other in Tampa.
  • And even though we had quite the crazy schedule in 2017, we even found time to cancel all appointments for 10 days and take a vacation.

The end result from our year of change? Progress. Lots and lots of progress. Solly went from having no words to making LOTS of noise (he has about 20 words right now) and from not being able to take any steps AT ALL to taking several assisted steps.

He’s sitting up straighter and by himself for longer periods of time, he’s eating so much better and he’s now insisting on holding his bottle and using his own spoon with assistance. He’s made gains in so many areas!

I’d love to say that 2018 will be a low key year compared to 2017, but that simply won’t be the case. Our year of change showed us many things, but most importantly, it showed us the value in alternative and intensive therapies and the fact that we shouldn’t settle when doctors don’t believe in Solly’s capabilities. This means that in 2018, we’ll be traveling for more intensive therapies and to consult with different doctors and specialists. We’ll also be doing another round of HBOT (in Nashville this time, starting next week!), trying stem cell therapy, and adding an additional weekly hippotherapy session.

I think it’ll be a busy/fun/productive/unexpected year and we’re up for whatever the year throws our way. Stay tuned for updates!