A Great Testimony from a Thankful Mom
I have had the amazing experience of working with a 14 year old with Cerebral Palsy for the past few months. She and her mom have been coming here in an effort to prevent a fifth surgery in her 14 short years. They have done one surgery to lengthen her Achilles tendon and were looking at doing another. At 14 she stands around 5’8″ and doesn’t appear to be finished growing! She has been diagnosed with splastic dyplagia which compromises the control and function of her left leg, and she was unable to gets her heels to the floor when walking around the clinic.
For those of you who have read Pete Egoscue’s books or read other posts on either this blog or that of Austin Clinic Director Rick Mathes, we believe that, put simply, the body is enough. Our body has an amazing ability to heal itself, we just need to give it a chance. For years experts have told her that the only way she would be “fixed” is by surgery. This young girl came in to the clinic thinking that she was “broken” and that there was no hope for her. She was losing interest in doing things with her sisters and her mom was witnessing her daughter pull away more and more.
What I’ve witnessed over the last few months has been amazing. It’s one of those situations where you know what can and should happen, but when it actually does happen, it blows your mind. I took this young girl through 8-10 e-cises on her first visit, and not only did her posture completely change, but so did her overall level of function. The coolest thing, however, was to see her personality change! For the first time in a LONG time, she had hope. She had control over her legs, her feet, her ankles….and maybe, just maybe, her health. She felt the difference–she could put her heels on the ground! And she looked different-we took before and after pictures that were DRAMATICALLY different. Overall, it was a pretty cool day for everyone involved. This isn’t to toot my own horn or Egoscue’s horn, for that matter. It’s just simply to say that the body is enough. Here are a couple of emails from her mother. The first one is from her first visit and the second one was an update she sent me this week:
Dear John and Carrie,
What a pleasure to meet you yesterday!
By the time we got home and the girls were in bed, it was ten o’clock. As we watched coverage of the Tour de France, suddenly the full impact of the suppressed emotions of the day hit me with waves of sobbing and thankfulness. I have a hope for my daughter which I never even considered I would have- a hope which I wonder if I should even now entertain. (One vision that passed through my mind was of her current AFO’s–Ankel-Foot Orthosis–as the last pair she would ever have. You can’t imagine how strange and wonderful that felt-another wave of tears.)
During her time with you, as I watched the change in her countenance reflecting the change in her attitude, her perception of her limitations, her pleasure at the progress she made, I can not describe how I felt…seeing her so engaged when she has been so recently tired of the whole thing and not wanting to do anything (exercise, wear her braces, etc.) but “sit in a chair and read.”…and so on…I wish I could write well enough to express how I feel.
You are gifted at drawing her into conversation. She may not have responded so well to someone else.
Over the weekend, I asked Abigail to load the dishwasher. She did so without complaining. Later that day, I found her doing it again when she saw the need. Besides the significance and joy of seeing my 14 y.o. helping without being asked, I also saw her do something that has been more difficult than one might think. Just to bend down and retrieve the dishwasher powder from under the sink involved knees together, hanging on ligaments, delicately balancing, staggering back and forth a few steps and finally making a grab for it. Then turn, bend, hang on, etc. to pour into the machine. Repeat such balancing act for all the dishes, silverware, cups, etc. and it was, at best, a strenuous and tedious chore for her. I cannot describe the joy of seeing her easily and happily carrying out this mundane, routine, daily activity.
Sunday afternoon I heard Abigail coming down the stairs. I can always tell by the sound of her walk who it is. Anyway, it was different in that there was less of an irregular clump, clumping sound and more of an even paced and quicker stepping down. But the best part was that after she got what she wanted from the kitchen, she RAN UP THE STAIRS!!!!!!!!!!! and I wasn’t holding my breath to hear if she tripped, because I could hear that she was running so well! I think I could hear her smiling, too.
These are 2 memories I will treasure in my heart. What a change from the girl who wanted to “sit in the chair”, “be left alone”. Whether she knows it, she is enjoying her increasing ability to move more freely.