Elena completed her fifth surgery this week. Once again, we loaded up the van and road-tripped east out to New Jersey to see good ole Dr. Nuzzo for the third time. Thankfully, our hip surgeries are behind us (see here & here) and they are in perfect shape. Thank God for crazy Dr. Nuzzo!
In the last several months, Elena has struggled with high muscle tone in her right leg, specifically ankle/foot. This has caused issues with her trying to take steps, weight bearing evenly and getting range on this leg. The technical term is called a contracture and these are VERY typical in CP kiddos. Basically her brain is constantly telling her muscles to tense up, often in strange positions. Hence, her arms usually up close to her chest, her legs extended out, toes pointed, etc. Over time, these positions cause the tendons/muscles to “shorten” and stay in this position. We were no longer able to “stretch” her ankle to a neutral/flat-footed position and it was slightly turned in. I knew surgery was the only remedy but have procrastinated ANOTHER surgery for most of this year.
Almost four years to the day of her first hip surgery, we found ourselves once again in Summit, New Jersey with Elena on the operating table. Fortunately, we knew this go round would be MUCH easier, MUCH less invasive and a breeze compared to her previous two hip surgeries. As we expected, Dr. Nuzzo in his “mad scientist” genius knew just what to do and fixed her right up. She has three VERY minor (practically scratches) incisions and has been doing just fine. Her pain has been minimal but are keeping an eye out for muscle spasms (which are totally typical).
We are back home and she will finish out the week at school! We are so very, very thankful to have options when these types of medical issues arise for her. I’m not sure what shape she would be in without Dr. Nuzzo’s innovations. Thanks to all who prayed us out there, and prayed us home!
Of course, we had to fit SOMETHING fun in. So we popped over to the Jersey coast to see the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty! I think Elena was thrilled to have some alone time with Mom and Dad!
Before our road trip to Jersey, we attended the Ronald McDonald House Gala for our 6th year. You may remember these events from previous posts. Each year, our loving and generous friends gather to support us and one of our most favorite causes, the RMH. You may remember how big a role this special place played for us while in the hospital after Elena’s injury. We have been thrilled to be able to give back over the last seven years. And the RMH has been so kind to include us in many of their fun events and fundraisers throughout the year. (You may remember Elena throwing out the first pitch at the Indianapolis Indians game earlier this year?!)
This night is tremendously special for us not just because some of our closest friends join us to raise money for a worthy cause, but because this event almost always falls very close to the date of Elena’s injury. It’s been such a precious way to remember and give back to those who helped us in our time of need.
This year was even more SPECIAL! We had five tables (50!) people there to represent the Friends of Elena Hinton. Those fifty people donated their time and money to support the RMH. Not only that, a special friend of ours matched all our group’s donations that night! We were able to raise $38,000! Of course, everyone but us was in on the surprise and Chad and I were incredibly moved. It never ceases to amaze us what people do to show their love and support for our Elena. So thank you to all of you who were there that night. You will NEVER know how much we appreciate you, your love and generosity.