Greetings friends! Lots to share since our last update. Mariel has come a long way in a short time. We had our second round of post operative x-rays last Friday, January 13 and they revealed a 4.1 cm gain of new bone cells (2.5 cm = 1 inch)! Mariel's total discrepancy when we started this process last month was 10 cm, so we are well on our way to equalizing her leg lengths. The x-rays also showed what Dr. Paley was looking to see happen before scheduling her second surgery. Friends have been asking what this second surgery was all about. Basically, Mariel's lower leg bones (tibia & fibula) were out of alignment and needed to be brought to an even place beneath her knee before the doc could proceed with lengthening (fracturing) her fibula. He set this alignment process up to happen during her December 15 surgery and has been watching the progress over these past weeks. When Dr. Paley reviewed the Jan 13 x-rays, the two bones appeared perfectly aligned and he said it was go time - or time to fracture the fibula to begin lengthening it. The second surgery happened this past Tuesday. I got a phone call 8:30 Monday evening instructing us to report at 5:30 the next morning! Needless to say, I didn't sleep much that night. Mostly because of anxiety, but also because I was so afraid I would oversleep! I was very concerned that Mariel would go crazy returning to the "scene of the crime"-- the pre-operative prep station, where we first took her for the December 15 surgery where you meet with the anesthesiologists, etc. To my pleasant surprise, she was *shockingly* calm, or in other words, completely out of her (nearly constant) evil queen character. She even traveled on the gurney back to the O.R. as if it were a float in the Rose Bowl parade, princess waving and bowing to passersby. Really, she did. The surgery was outpatient, successful and Mariel has been recovering beautifully this week. She is already back up on her feet and we have even made the first deduction to her shoe lift height. Mariel's former lift was about 8 cm. We had 3 cm removed from it this weekend. Can't begin tell you how nice it feels to be moving in the opposite direction on the shoe lift. After three years of watching the lift grow taller and taller, to see it become smaller is more than thrilling!
Highlight!!! We also had a last minute surprise visit from Dan this weekend. He must've sensed I was going over the edge ;) I'm just getting home from taking him to the airport. Having him here, even if only for a couple of days, was wonderful. It gave me a much needed break and Mariel joy that I haven't seen on her face since he left 10 days before. We had our first dinner out at a restaurant last night and we had a great time. Mariel resisted the idea at first, but once she was there she really enjoyed herself. She was glowing sitting at her dad's side -- in a booster seat at the table. Nice change from eating in bed with a lap tray! Slowly but surely we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel back to normal living. We also visited the Quantum House on Friday night (a home similar to the Ronald McDonald House on the hospital campus). There are several children living there with either their mom/dad/grandparent who are wearing fixators and going through similar recoveries. We thought it would be a nice idea for Mariel to try and meet/play with some kids her age that she could relate to. It went okay, but Mariel was a little sassy and less than friendly this first time visiting, so I will try to take her there again this week. I however, loved meeting the other children and parents and sharing stories/supporting one another. I look forward to building these friendships over these next months. Amazing people from all over the U.S. and globe.
Gosh, I miss home/life before and I know Mariel does even more. I hope everyone is doing great and keeping warm. We really can't wait to see you all again! I'll be back with more soon - promise. Trying to do at least a weekly update. As always, I love all of the great notes/emails/etc, please know if I don't respond immediately that I do love hearing from you and appreciate your thinking of us very much. We enjoy hearing what is happening in your life too! Things have just been a little 'extra' this past week. Love to you all.