Saturday, March 10, 2012

One-Year Check-up, Etc.

Wow, I haven't updated this blog in a long time! Let's see if I can catch everyone up here...

Addy is doing very well! She had her one-year post-op check-up for her head early in January. We saw both Dr. M (the plastic surgeon) and Dr. G (the neurosurgeon) and got a follow-up CT scan. It was a long day, but Addy did well, and the news was great. The CT scan showed that the bone is filling in nicely... she is growing her own bone over the patchy areas, meaning that she has little chance of needing any surgery to fill in those spots with artificial bone. That is excellent news! The doctors were also very happy with how her head is looking and growing, and how she is developing overall. I have to say, I'm very happy with all that, too! And no more check-ups for a year -- woo-hoo!

Addy with Dr. M

Addy with Dr. G

I remember her surgeons saying that her head would look much like a normal toddler's by around the time she turned two. Her birthday is next month, and I have to completely agree with them! Not only is her forehead much more even than it was, but her head seems to be lengthening and not seeming so much like a wide Dora head. :-) It was a little strange to have a child with a head like this, since my firstborn had a very long head (you might almost think saggital cranio, but no), and my secondborn's head, though not quite as long, was definitely longer than it was wide. Addy's head was pretty different... probably due in part to some positional plagio as well as the cranio... She had a pretty good flat spot on the back of her head. (I did my best to turn her head to the side, but she didn't always stay there.) But now, her head is looking much more "normal" to me with more of an oval shape.

Her screws and plates began dissolving and swelling up around 9 months post-op, as the doctors had warned us they would. It was pretty freaky for a while... She kind of looked like Darth Maul when her hair would get plastered down in the bath! For a while, it seemed that the swelling would start going down in some areas, and then start swelling up in other areas. I'm guessing this is because the screws and plates dissolved at different speeds. But finally, in the last month or so, all the swelling seems to have finished. Which is probably another reason that her head seems so much more normal... No more feeling that bumpy head or seeing Darth Maul at bath time! :-)

The only question we've had with her head was about a month ago... She hit her forehead fairly hard, and though I didn't see any swelling at first, it later puffed up into a huge goose egg. It wasn't like a bruise filled with blood, though... It was normal-colored and soft, and seemed to be filled just with fluid. I posted about it on Facebook and the craniokids forum, and I had several moms say that their kids had had similar issues when they bumped their heads. I called the doctor on call just in case, and he said from the sound of it, it was probably fine as long as it wasn't getting any bigger and she wasn't acting strange. The lump stuck around for a week or two (gradually getting smaller), but she didn't seem to mind it at all. So we never had to take her in to get checked, and she was just fine. My guess is that when the skin gets pulled away from the skull like it does in the cranio surgery, it is more sensitive to bumps like that, and perhaps the immune system has a memory of how it reacted before and reacts similarly again. (It was very much like a mini, isolated version of her post-surgery swelling, so that's why I say that.) Anyway, the good news is that it was all resolved without any problems!

Bump on the head:

In other news, as you may have noticed in the first two pictures, Addy now has glasses! Her eye surgeon is happy with the way things are looking, but Addy still has a tendency to let her left eye drift inward. Since that eye needs a bit of a prescription anyway, we thought glasses might help her to be motivated to use it more, and I think we were right. We haven't had another follow-up visit since she got the glasses (at the end of November), but I can tell they have made a difference... Her eye drifts a lot less while she's wearing the glasses, but almost as soon as the glasses come off, the eye drifts again. She seems to be seeing better, too... She rarely ever paid attention to the TV before, and now she LOVES it (a little too much sometimes, haha!).

Addy wearing her new glasses

Addy is also catching up developmentally. She was a few months behind her age group in some areas, especially motor skills, with fine motor skills being the most behind. Although this may have something to do with her cranio, I tend to think the fine motor skill delay is at least partly (if not completely) due to her eye issues. But she is progressing, and I think she's catching up. She is now walking great, running, climbing, playing well with toys, unrolling toilet paper and tearing it into tiny pieces... Y'know, normal toddler stuff. :-)

She's talking a lot these days, too! Not full sentences or anything, but she'll do 2-3 word sentences sometimes, and she has added a whole lot of words to her vocabulary. So I think she's caught up to her age group in that category, and with the influence of her sisters, she might just start passing them up soon. :-)

Enjoying the swings

Sliding down the slide all by herself!

God is good. I pray Addy continues to do as well as she has done so far.