Update on Eloise – Botox and E-Stim

Yesterday Eloise had an appointment with her pediatric physiatrist. (In case you need to catch up, Eloise has dystonia in her right leg/foot which causes it to turn inward and gives her trouble walking. You can read more about our journey so far here, here, and here.)

Olive has been in a funk this past week and was climbing all over the furniture and exercising her new favorite word: NO! Thankfully Isaiah was in school so I only had the two girls to worry about. And thankfully Eloise has come a LONG way with doctors this past year. She used to be absolutely terrified to even step foot in the doctors office but this last year has brought about many doctors appointments for her and she has grown more comfortable.

The doctor is pleased that Eloise’s foot doesn’t look any worse from the last time she saw her. We don’t know what has caused her condition (possibly a brain injury during or shortly after birth) and, since we don’t know the cause, it’s hard to know what the outcome will be. Could it get worse? Could it spread to other parts of her body? Possibly. But things are looking good so far! She is already 3 1/2 and her condition doesn’t seem to be worsening or spreading. Thank you, Jesus!

However, the doctor thinks it may be time to try a few more aggressive measures. Eloise attends weekly physical therapy sessions and wears a brace but it just doesn’t seem to be correcting her foot in the way her doctor was hoping it would.

Thus, Eloise has her first Botox treatment scheduled next month. The Botox will loosen the tight muscles in her leg. This will allow those tight muscles to relax a little and give us the ability to strengthen the weak muscles in physical therapy and teach them to take over where needed. The goal is to help things “even out” by hopefully strengthening the weak muscles and weakening the tight ones.  If the Botox works, it may become a regular part of our journey (maybe once every 3 or 6 months). If it doesn’t seem to do anything we will look into other options.

We are also going to be doing something called electrical muscle stimulation (E-stim). We have been doing this at physical therapy but the doctor wants us to get a machine for home use and use it 3 times a week. Little sticky pads are connected to Eloise’s leg and then the machine sends an electrical impulse to stimulate a muscle contraction in that muscle. This happens over and over until you disconnect the machine. When the muscle is stimulated it causes Eloise’s foot to involuntarily contract and turn the correct way. Just like with exercising any muscle, this makes the muscles stronger and, over time, the hope is that it will be able to gain enough strength to turn correctly without the machine.

So, some changes coming up…. As always, we’re so thankful for all the wonderful doctors and therapists that work together to help Eloise as much as possible. And, when I go to her appointments I often see children who have much more serious problems and I’m so thankful for the health that Eloise has. We have much to be grateful for!

What a gorgeous view from the 19th floor!

This girl has come a long way in learning not to fear doctors!

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