Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy brain!

I don't think we could have asked for a better trip to Durham. First of all, we arrived last night at Fran Carruthers' house (Tiff's 2nd cousin) and were treated like royalty. Fran made us a fabulous meal, washed the clothes that Shelby had vomited on, and basically took care of our every need while we relaxed. It was very nice--and good to catch up with her. We reluctantly left her place very early this morning so that we could get to Shelby's CT scan appointment early. That certainly paid off...we barely had to wait and Shelby did not need any sedation. Here Shelby is going into the machine:

We left radiology and headed upstairs to the neurosurgery clinic about 2 hours early for our appointment with Dr. Grant--and we got to see him right away!

Dr. Grant gave us some wonderful news. He said Shelby has a "happy brain". As you can see in the picture below, her CT scans look amazing! For those who remember her last scans, there is a huge difference in these. The left of her brain (right side in the image) has pretty much no cerebral spinal fluid, and the right has a lot less! The thin area of her brain that we were concerned about looks like it's easily three times thicker now. Dr. Grant was actually suprised to see this much of a rebound in her brain, and said this is really good for her developmental prognosis. We weren't expecting any bad news, because Shelby has been doing well, but this great news blew us away!

All smiles, we headed down the road for Shelby's orthopedic appointment with Dr. Patel three hours early. They took us back pretty quickly for Shelby's hip x-rays and then we got to see the doctor.

As you can see, we were told Shelby needs to wear a brace for a few years because the x-rays showed that Shelby has hip dysplasia. She has to wear it all the time and then once she starts to cruise (or walk while holding on to coffee tables, etc), she'll only have to wear it during naps and at night. The brace may delay Shelby's development to some extent. It is hard for me to picture her being able to learn to roll over, sit-up unassisted, crawl, cruise or even walk while wearing the contraption--but Dr. Patel assured us that kids deal with it all the time and I know we'll figure it out somehow (with the help of Shelby's therapists). Plus, Dr. Patel said we can take it off while we're working on PT.

If this was the only problem that Shelby was facing, I think that we would be pretty upset about the bracing and hip dysplasia. But I feel like Shelby has already overcome some very significant obstacles and this one is nothing compared to her brain stuff. Wearing this brace all the time will certainly be awkward and inconvenient for Shelby (and us), but we are up for the challenge, and hopefully it will correct the displasia and prevent hip surgery down the road. We should know by the time she is 4 years old whether or not it has worked.

We left Dr. Patel and stopped at our favorite restaraunt near the hospital, Noodles and Co. to get some food. Then we were on our way back to the mountains at 1:00 - a half hour before our last appointment was even scheduled to start! We got to collect our dog (thanks Matt and Ash) and Harding (thanks John and Barb) and eat dinner together tonight. Now let's hope Shelby sleeps well in that brace.


  1. whooohoooo!!! we are so happy for Shelby and so proud of all of you!!

  2. That is great news - being an early childhood professional, I know all the quality experiences you have provided for Shelby has helped tremendously with developing that "happy brain". Also as far as the the brace, kids are so adaptable, I am sure you will be amazed as to what she will be able to do while wearing it and hopefully avoid that surgery. I enjoyed meeting you at Allen's soccor game and reading to Harding. I had not read The Pokey Little Puppy in a long time. Take care- Ann (Dearing's friend)

  3. Awesome News!!! I am happy to see such a clean scan. She can knock all these challenges out now and have a great perspective later in life.
    She is a gift... Merry Christmas guys.