Today marks ten months home for Cooper and Conner. I tend to focus on Conner’s growth when I do reports of their progress because he was the smallest and most malnourished, so today I want to focus on Cooper. (Conner is doing amazingly well, and I’ll update on him next time.)
Unfortunately, Cooper spent the first six, almost seven, years of his life confined to a crib. He was unable to stand or take steps due to his severe bilateral club foot, meaning both of his feet were twisted and turned inward, resembling what you’d see at the end of a golf club.
Cooper arrived home March 3, 2012. Shortly thereafter, on March 21, 2012, we were blessed with an appointment with Dr. Dehne, a pediatric orthopedist who happens to have a special gift in repairing club feet.
Dr. Dehne used calculations and x-ray to determine the degree of severity of clubbing in Cooper’s feet. Both of Cooper’s feet were not only turned inward to the worst degree, but they were also twisted outward. The photo below displays both the twisting of the foot near the ankle, plus the clubbing inward.
On March 28, 2012, Cooper began the Ponseti casting method of repair for club foot.
Every week for six weeks, Cooper would go see Dr. Dehne and get new casts on his feet, slowly turning the feet toward the correct positioning each week.
The photos below were taken to display the degree of correction just ONE week after Cooper began the casting process.
Cooper was already starting to stand with more stability after just one week of casting. He only had the opportunity to stand for a few minutes between castings, when we would let him play in the sink while we washed his legs so they didn’t get too dirty and stinky from the casts.
Cooper was such a trooper! He never fussed or complained about his casts. For six weeks, he wore these uncomfortable casts that slowly twisted and turned his feet into the correct position.
On May 8, 2012, Cooper underwent surgery to complete the correction process, which meant clipping both of Cooper’s Achilles tendons in three places each.
Cooper would wear post-surgery casts for another three weeks, making it a total of nine weeks in casts.
After Cooper’s casts were removed, he was petrified of standing or using his legs in any way.
He even “forgot” how to crawl. (He was just afraid to use his legs.)
But we insisted Cooper learn to use his legs, whether he liked it or not. Yep, we’re just mean like that.
Before long, we’d find Cooper actually standing up on his own, without our forcing him to do so.
After many months of therapy and persistence, Cooper began to build leg strength and muscle tone. After spending six years without using his legs at all, Cooper had zero muscle tone in his lower extremities. Complete atrophy. He had a lot of work to do to build that strength up.
We are delighted to announce that seven months after Cooper’s final casts were removed (on May 31, 2012), he is finally walking independently!!!!!!! Over the Christmas break, since Cooper was home with us 24/7, we worked diligently, many, many, many hours per day on walking independently. It helps to have nine siblings pushing and encouraging. Sawyer (our 12-year-old son) was the one responsible for finally getting Cooper to walk without holding someone’s hand. Watch the video below to see living proof of Cooper walking independently.
What an awesome joy and privilege to witness God’s redemption and healing of Cooper. Don’t ever let anyone convince you that a life is not worth saving. Cooper is such a blessing to our family, and it’s so rewarding to see how much he’s changed in just ten months home. Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him!!!