Tomorrow is Colten’s 6th surgery… If you had told me a few years ago I would have to see one of my children undergo multiple surgeries before the age of three… and that three of those surgeries would even take place before the age of 5 weeks of age… I think I would have buried my head in the sand or had a panic attack. Five surgeries later, as nerve-wrecking as it is watching your child go under anesthesia, it doesn’t feel quite as scary. Still scary, just not AS scary.
Good thing we have superheroes all around us to keep us smiling! This picture is from the Spina Bifida Association of Michigan’s Snowflake Shake – a family dinner/dance event we went to a couple months ago. It was amazing, and Spiderman and Elsa both came!
Thankfully, this surgery is his most minor to date – ear tubes. It pales in comparison to putting a spine back in place, placing a shunt in a brain, replacing a shunt in a brain, etc… But it’s surgery and it requires anesthesia, so there’s still a little anxiety. And from Colten’s perspective, hospitals are hospitals and he doesn’t do well with doctors poking around him these days. But we should be in (and we will be in VERY early) and out tomorrow with much healthier ears. Colten has had recurring ear infections for about a year, and has been unable to completely get the fluid to clear out from his ears ever. So tubes are going in.
In other news, Colten continues to progress with walking in his AFOs and torsion / twister cables. He will take on average 3-6 completely independent steps (no walker), and is learning to use cane-like “tools” as well, which will eventually lead to him trying to use forearm crutches. It’s been amazing watching him go from the couch, across the room to a chair, all on his own!
Want to see another amazing feat this kid has accomplished? Roller skating!
[watch video on YouTube]
Colten is still attending therapy through the school district twice a week – one hour of group physical therapy and occupational therapy, then one hour of 1-on-1 physical and occupational therapy. Up through last week, he was still also going to outpatient/clinical physical therapy once a week through Beaumont. We just put a pause on that though, as we felt we were hitting a bit of a plateau. He was meeting his goals and struggling to cooperate, so the physical therapist and I decided to let him have a little break until summer time. At that point the school therapy will be ending and Beaumont will be transitioning to two-a-week sessions which we are very excited about!
In therapy, Colten does a lot of upper-body work to keep his arms and torso strong, a lot of climbing stairs, squatting and picking up things, jumping on trampolines, climbing up slides in various ways, going up and down ramps in his walker, etc… He works hard – or rather plays hard… the therapists really do a great job of making work seem like play for him.
And of course, we have found it pretty easy to do therapy play at home… balance on one leg while using the other to propel a scooter? Go for it dude!
[watch video on YouTube]
He has become so comfortable using his walker and walking so well in his cables and braces that he’s becoming quite the daredevil. He now will get walking super fast, then picks up his feet and just rolls along while he holds himself up above the ground in his walker. Even down sloping walkways! Which of course landed him in trouble one day when his shoe caught the sidewalk and caused him to topple over and land face-first on the cement. Thankfully he was wearing sunglasses which, although they sliced into his forehead, saved the rest of his face from any damage whatsoever.
Right along with the occasional injury, Colten is very much two and a half years old and seems to have learned the skill of antagonizing his brothers on a minute-by-minute basis. “Stop it Colten” is heard around the clock from the mouths of his older brothers! He adores them to pieces and doesn’t want to leave them alone – but often gets so in their faces it’s a bit much for Parker and Max. Colten does throw pretty cute (?) tantrums where he just sits and cries crocodile tears, such as shown in the picture below… I had caught him at the table after Easter eating chocolates from his brother’s basket. I took the chocolates away and the basket, resulting in a little boy that was very mad at his Momma!
That’s it for now. We are expecting an easy surgery Thursday so you may not hear from us again right away – but soon! Lots coming up in May, June, and July for us to share. Hopefully the snow I saw falling tonight is the LAST of this cold weather. We have been enjoying playing outside for hours during the few warmer days we actually had and we REALLY want those to come back!
Just some closing pictures of the three boys…