We have a wave of check-ups with all of Shelby's specialists every six months. It is that time again, so last week we went to the Orthopedist in Charlotte and yesterday we went to the Ophthalmologist here in Asheville. Shelby will have an MRI at the beginning of December which we will mail to her neurosurgeon so that he can check on her brain growth and shunt. Thankfully, if there are no problems we won't have to travel to Duke for that. Then Shelby will have an EEG and go to the neurologist after Christmas.
At Shelby's ortho check-up, Dr. Casey noticed that Shelby's left leg is shorter than her right leg. Apparently it is pretty common in cerebral palsy patients for the weaker leg to be a tad shorter, so that was not surprising. Plus, several family members on Trip's side have one leg that is shorter, so there are probably genetic factors playing into this as well. She may wear lifts to correct this in the future. Shelby's hip x-rays looked great. Her hip socket is deepening nicely. Shelby will keep wearing the hip abduction brace at night for another six months to make sure that her hip dysplasia continues to improve. We also talked about using AFO's (ankle foot orthotics) in the future on Shelby's left foot when she begins to pull up to standing because there is a good deal of muscle tightness on that side. Basically, Dr. Casey and our PT, Beth are monitoring Shelby closely. When she starts crawling and walking, we want her to do it as symmetrically as possible.
Shelby's ophthalmology appointment went well. Dr. Bachinsky was pleased with the huge CVI (cortical visual impairment) improvements she has made. Shelby is still far sighted, but within the normal range for her age, so no glasses at this point. When they dilated her eyes, Shelby's optic nerve showed no further damage than it did six months ago and that is not expected to change. I asked what the optic nerve damage meant for Shelby's vision. Dr. Bachinsky said that Shelby will probably need assistive devices in school to help her read. She also encouraged us to look into pre-braille instruction in a couple years. Learning braille will give Shelby another reading option on days that her eyes are tired. It is frustrating to not know how much your child sees, and we won't really know until she can tell us. But it is so exciting that she sees and that her vision is improving!
I feel so much better going into this wave of appointments then I did a year ago and am incredibly thankful for that. Shelby is doing great, which tells me that her brain is still "happy" as her neurosurgeon, Dr. Grant told us a year ago. It'll be nice to see it on the MRI too though. More doctor updates coming in the next month....