Getting A Leg Up

Back in the spring, when we were unwillingly unwrapping the devastating reality that is cancer, we quickly realized that one of the many awful ramifications of osteosarcoma were the surgical options. Bailey's tumor had invaded her knee (as is many times the case with osteo) and so her knee had to be removed along with the tumor and part of her femur. The details are long and complicated, but I wrote several posts on the surgical options, if you are researching for your own decisions, they can be found here:

The short story is that of the three terrible possibilities, we chose rotationplasty - for a number of reasons, with the most compelling being that it allowed for the greatest functionality long-term (in addition to relatively good chance of healing, low-risk of infection, minimal chance for repeat surgeries, etc.). From early on, Patrick and I both knew that this was the right surgery for Bailey, but she knew it as well. In fact, I believe the decision was even more clear to her than it was to us...she has been unwavering. Bailey wants to be active and athletic with the most function possible and so in her mind...this was always the only choice.

She had her surgery on June 5, 2012. Due to chemo, the healing process is slowed...so she has been completely non-weight bearing since that day. On Friday, September 14, 2012 she was finally cleared to bear weight on that leg. It only took about two weeks from the initial casting for her first leg to be complete and it has been a fascinating process. Bailey is thrilled. She has been either in a wheelchair, on a walker or crutches or hopping around on one foot since June. She has not run a step since March. She knows that these first steps are baby ones, but she could not be happier to take them...to her...they feel like great leaps in the direction of getting back to herself. This child was willing to make an extremely difficult decision early on because she knew it was the best one for her in the long-term and we are so proud of our brave girl. 

So, she is up and going on a leg. It has been six months since our journey began and three months since she has walked a step. There is a long way to go, but we are pleased and pleasantly surprised by how well that first session went. Her leg is still a "trainer" at this point...when Bailey and her prosthetist are sure that everything is in the right place and fitting well, they will clean it up and personalize the exterior based on what she chooses. 

Let the physical therapy begin! 

1 comment:

Sammy said...

Such a pretty girl and it looks like she is doing great!!