Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Graduation already?!?!?!

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It is incredibly hard to believe that our original 10 MONTH estimate for Ben’s helmet therapy has appeared to be almost completely resolved in just 5 short weeks, but that is what we are being told! He has responded better to the helmet than anyone thought he would, and has already outgrown it! While we were told that the first band usually lasts 8-9 weeks, since we were able to start him in it so early, he hit some major growth spurts, and has already grown out of it. We were fully expecting to continue with a second helmet, but we are now being told that it may not even be necessary. During his first set of measurements, he had an asymmetry measurement of 16 millimeters, and is now down to a measurement of 8 millimeters. The back of his head has rounded out, the forehead has begun to round out as well, and his ears, eyes and cheeks are already back in alignment. Since his head will continue to grow into its new shape, the therapists believe that another helmet is not really necessary at this point. In fact, the helmet only fits on their head with the help of the asymmetric aspects of the head (since there is no chin strap to hold it in place), and since his are no longer as prominent, they may not even be able to design a helmet that would stay on well.

We were quite shocked to hear that this had gone SO well (although we should know better than putting anything past our super baby Smile), so we are proceeding cautiously. We will be meeting with the craniofacial surgeon back at the Children’s Hospital who originally gave us the 10 month estimate next week to see what his recommendation would be. Also, since our insurance company wouldn’t cover another band at this point (you must submit measurements at least 2 month apart, and his has only been 6 weeks), we will be waiting until the end of the month to see how his head is continuing to grow, and we will reevaluate everything then. Until that time… Congratulations Ben on your first graduation!

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We had a set of “exit photos” taken for a side-by-side comparison, and we were actually quite shocked at how much improvement he has made in five short weeks! Not to mention the fact that in his entry photos he appears slumped over and “depressed”, while in the new ones, he seems quite proud to hold his new round head up straight and tall! While it is subtle in the pictures, you can also see that he is no longer leaning to the right, but is in perfect midline, now that his torticollis is almost completely gone, through the aid of a lot of physical therapy and chiropractic care! The top set of photos here show how his eyes and nose are finally symmetric and in perfect midline with each other, and the bottom set of photos show how beautifully the back left side of his head has “filled in” and rounded out!

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This set of pictures is hard to make out, but you can mostly see that his cheeks and other facial features are no longer protruding out any further than they are supposed to.

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In the top set of pictures here, you can see how much the back left angle has rounded out and is much less of a severe angle, and in the bottom set of pictures, you can see how the whole left side of his forehead and facial features used to slant downwards and dropped off quickly, and now, he has nice rounding to both sides of his forehead, eyes & cheeks. While there is still some angle left to his forehead, it is not severe enough to cause facial asymmetry (or any of the problems that could stem from that), and is not at all noticeable unless you are looking from the top of his head downward… and who ever looks at that angle anyways?

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Each week we went in for his helmet adjustments, where they would carve out spaces in the helmet that were becoming tight to allow for new growth in that direction, they used a mold of his head as a comparison point for us to see the progress that was being made. When we brought the mold home and put the helmet on his original head shape, we were shocked to see how many gaps have formed, and how many areas his head has grown into to create his new, rounder shape.

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Ben thought it was pretty cool to see his old head too!

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While we aren’t sure yet if we are COMPLETELY done with this process, we can’t believe how good God is, and how quickly Ben has made so many changes! We are so thankful to everyone for your prayers and support, and we will let you know how everything goes in the next month with follow-up doctors visits. We feel so blessed to have this beautiful little boy! I loved taking pictures of him with his helmet on, but now that it’s off, I’ve entered a new phase of pictures… Let’s bring on the hats!!!!

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If anyone is interested in looking back on the original post that explains his plagiocephaly & torticollis, here is the link: http://blog.beachfamily.us/2012/01/our-new-reality-for-while.html. Thank you again to everyone for your support… especially to my beautifully compassionate girls! Way to go Abby & Emily!

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1 comment:

Ann-Marie said...

Oh! Baby mug shots. ;) So glad to hear of this advanced healing! Way to go, Ben! And, though all your photos are wonderful, that last one of him in the hat takes the cake. Too cute!