After seven pairs of casts we took June in for x-rays to see how the structure of her feet had progressed under the casting treatment. Much to our disappointment, though she’d done well, her Achilles tendons hadn’t stretched to the point where our doctor would’ve been happy to just move on to the next stage in the treatment (the dreaded bar).
Instead, and eighth pair of holding casts were put on and we were told that we’d have to make a decision as to how the tendon release would be performed. Our choices were as follows:
1) general anesthesia: baby goes to sleep entirely.
2) a spinal anesthetic: similar to an epidural, a numbing cream is applied, an injection further numbs the area and then the anesthesia is applied to the spinal area, causing the baby to loose feeling in the lower half of the body for the procedure.
3) an injection is applied to numb each heel and then the tendon is cut.
At that point we viewed the ability to decide both a gift and a curse. Treatment options are normally good for patients, but with so many pros and cons to each option we felt stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place!
We decided that we definitely wanted to avoid general anesthesia given the risks to such and small, ten week old patient. The doctor advocated the benefits of the spinal option, and we decided to go with his recommendation- after all, we considered ourselves extremely lucky to end up with such an experienced orthopedic surgeon who had made the process infinitely more bareable than we’d expected. We’d followed his guidance successfully thus far, so it made sense to trust his recommendation as to the type of surgery.
I thought we’d have time to process the idea, but the surgery was then scheduled for three days later. True to form we stressed, and tears were shed, more mine than baby’s. We agonized over not being able to feed our two month old eight hours before surgery and I raided the Babies-R-Us toy section for things that rattled, played music, flashed lights and otherwise distracted the baby. In a whirlwind of activity we had pre-op blood work done and before we knew it surgery day had arrived. I cried, baby was better behaved than I was, and then before we knew it we met baby in recovery, after her successful surgery.
Another phase of the treatment has been successfully surpassed, with the help of our stellar doctor and his preferred anesthesiologist. Now, we’re worrying about the next phase, because it’s our job, but I’m hopeful that June’s entire support and treatment team will come through again, as we’ve always managed to do!