If You Or Someone You know Has Blount's Disease, I Really Want To Hear From You! Please Email Me!

Now, there is a place to go... Now, we are no longer alone...


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ben's Fifth Physical Therapy Appointment...

Today we went and saw Lisa; Ben's PT... and our Orthotist John met us there as well.  Ben did pretty well, as usual! I made sure to bring cookies and suckers to bribe him with! That seems to work every time! When we go to PT, it's a lot of walking for Ben. Up and down the hall, fast and slow; with braces off, with them on. Today he kept saying "hold you"... I just try and stay positive and distract him. I'll admit, sometimes its hard not to just pick him up and take him home. I really hate the fact that he is put in the position where others are watching his every move. Where he has to walk a certain way so that he can be looked at. It's very humbling; and very emotional. I am always drained after every appointment. I know that the whole team that treats Ben is doing the very best job; and they have to do a variety of things in order to help him get better. I try and find comfort in that.

Lisa and John both agreed that Ben's left leg, which is in the KAFO brace looks awesome! His right leg though, is starting to turn in more. So Lisa figured out a way to put the Thera Tog only on Ben's right leg to help with his rotation. As soon as he started walking the difference was obvious. She also put an insert into Ben's right shoe, to help with the balance of his hips. Having one straight leg ( thanks to the KAFO ) was making him walk a little lop-sided.

Here is a short video of Ben walking with both braces on for the first time....

Ben still doesn't have any sores or blisters on his left leg; which makes me happy. Even though the KAFO was made specifically for him, this is just part of wearing braces. Every time we take the braces off, whether its the Thera Tog or the KAFO, I always rub his legs for a few minutes; I think it helps them feel better.

Lisa and I did talk a little about Ben's right leg; saying that here in a few months his left leg might be considered the "good one". We go and see our Orthopaedic Surgeon on March 15th. Our next appointment for PT is March 23rd. So for now we are just going to work hard with these braces and hope for the best!

Ben With Both Braces On... He's Standing a Little Crooked; But Look at Those Straight Legs!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Something New to Share & A Little Update...

In the past month I have come into contact with four families affected by Blount's Disease. You have already read Sophie and Tacarra's stories. There is also another baby who is under a year old; so he can't actually be "diagnosed" with Blount's yet... I also came in contact with a mom whose son HAD Blount's Disease; but is now Blount's free!

She did a good job taking pictures and videos to document her son's journey. I am thankful that she is so open to sharing her experience. A few days ago, she sent me this picture to share with all of you ...

I thought this was pretty impressive! And inspiring! I'm not a doctor, but it looks like this little boy was a 'Langenskiold' stage 2-3; right about where Ben is now. Looks like they got great results with the brace. Like Ben, they only had the brace on the left side. I know this mom worked very hard to get results this quickly. Thank you for letting me share this!

Tomorrow Ben has an appointment with his Physical Therapist. The Orthotist will also be there so we can figure out how to use the Thera Tog with the KAFO. Should be exciting! Ben wore his KAFO for 8 hours today! We have been slowly building up to wearing it full time. So far, he doesn't have any sores or blisters; I'm hoping that won't happen, but I know it probably will. The KAFO isn't slowing him down at all! He is still running, jumping and climbing stairs... AMAZING!! I will update soon with pictures after our next appointment!

New Contact Information...

The email address I was using wasn't working properly. Over the past few days I didn't recieve any emails that anyone sent. So I set up a new email address! Any emails I recieve; especially from anyone who visits this site, are SO important to me! If you tried to email me this past week and I didn't respond PLEASE email me again using the new email address! I really want to hear from you!! Hope to talk to you soon!



Friday, February 18, 2011

On FaceBook...

I created a group on FaceBook. Nothing Fancy. It will be nice though to have a forum where people can ask questions and get answers from others going through the same thing! You can search on FaceBook for 'Ben Has Blounts Network'... or click here...


Hope to see you there!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After Diagnosis...

After the diagnoses of Blount's Disease a family can expect to go and see an Orthopaedic Surgeon. This doctor is the one who will set you up with Physical Therapy. Sometimes the wait list to see the Surgeon can be up to 3 months!! My advice to parents would be to educate yourself as much as possible. Take notes, write down questions. If the wait is too long and you want to do something in the meantime; find out what Physical Therapist your surgeon works with and see if you can make an appointment with them. This way, you can perhaps get a jump start on any treatment options.

When you do go to any appointment; TAKE YOUR CAMERA!! Take pictures of the xRays; if you can take video of your child walking. These are good things to have as reference.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor & physical therapist...

~ How many Blount's cases have you treated?

~ How many cases of Blount's do you see in a year?

~Will my child be in any pain and/or discomfort?

~How should I treat that pain? ie Tylenol, ibuprofen, hot baths, etc..

~Where does my child rate on the "Langenskiold Staging"?

~Do you have any literature I can have to take home and read?

~ If my child didn't have "Blount's Disease"; how would you treat his/her symptoms?

~Is there anything else you think I should know?

If you are like me; sometimes after I am home I think of a million more questions. If that is the case, I suggest making an appointment to sit down and talk with the doctor. If they aren't available; get a babysitter and take lunch to the office!! Do whatever is within your power to do to be as proactive in your child's care as possible.

I know a lot of the families who have contacted me have appointments and surgeries over the next few weeks. I am thinking of you! Please keep me posted! Good luck!

Ben, January 2010

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tacarra's Story...

The other day, I got an email from a wonderful young woman named Tacarra. She has been struggling with the effects of Blounts Disease from a very young age.... Tacarra wrote this to share with all of you...

Meet Tacarra...
"My name is Tacarra I'm 20 yrs old and. I live in Milwaukee WI, I've had Blounts ever since I was 9months. I have Undergone treatments, far as having leg braces to physical therapy to having numerous  surgeries as well.. I even had a metal rod sticking out my leg at a point of time which was very painful... Blounts is rare disease. And it is also a challenge. I'm glad that I've have came across Kira's Blog site it has inspired me knowing that people like Kira actually do care about those that are suffering from Blounts .. I wish nothing but the best to everyone families. And I will include you all in my prayers Let's us all come together and support one another."

Much love Tacarra!

~ I would also like to add that Tacarra is working on her very own non profit called "Blounts Counts".... I am so inspired by her and I wish nothing but the best for her! Please send her some positive vibes; Tacarra has a knee surgery coming up that will help with pain she has from the after effects of Blounts Disease.
Here is the link to 'Blount's Counts'' Cause page... lets show some support for this courageous girl!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sophie's Story...

The following was written by the family I have come in contact with in Australia... They are going through hard times right now; and really need support!

Meet Sophie...

“My name is Sophie and I’m nearly eighteen months old.  I live in Australia.  Recently the doctors told my Mum and Dad that I have Blount’s Disease.  Very few people in Australia have ever been diagnosed with this rare and complex condition and information is very limited.  Like Ben, I’ll have to undergo expensive and extensive treatment to help fix my legs so that I can grow up to be like most other kids.

Mum and Dad say that Kira (Ben’s Mum) has been really helpful and it’s given them someone to talk to about the condition and her experience’s with Ben so a very big thank you to Kira and her family.  Ben’s website has lots of information on the condition and it helps Mum and Dad know what to expect.  I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to have my own website set up so that we can also educate and help other parents of children with Blount’s.  I hope that you’ll be able to visit.  I’m also hoping that Ben’s and my website will be linked so you can read our stories.

If you can find it in your hearts to donate some money to our fund, please help.  Knowing that Mum and Dad will be able to give me the treatment I need will give them hope in what’s going to be a very difficult time for all.  I’m hoping that you’ll follow our stories.  Thank you for your support and kindness.  Sophie. "

This is Sophie's very own "Donate Button".... If you can give anything; it would be greatly appreciated! Sophie's family is going through a very hard time right now.

KAFO Brace...

Well today we made our way down to 'Western Slope Orthotics' to meet with John Morris. He is a super nice guy; and doesn't seem to mind my incessant questioning. The new KAFO brace wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Still, it was quite emotional, and I found myself ready to cry. Ben wasn't very happy to have a new brace; he kept saying "brace off!" After we had it on and went over how tight to have which straps; we let Ben walk for the first time with it on.... By the time he found the toys he was happy again!

Ben watching us put on the brace.... not very sure what he thinks yet...

This is a close up of the brace right at the knee...

The brace at the foot...

Ben's entire leg in the KAFO Brace...

We have our next PT appointment next week. Hopefully we can figure out how to use this brace in conjunction with the Thera Tog. John, our Orthotist, is going to meet us at Physical Therapy so that the three of us together can figure out what the next step is for Ben. Until then; we are going to be putting Ben in the KAFO brace for a few hours in the morning; and then again in the afternoon so that he can get used to it. By the time we go see Lisa at PT; he will be in it full time. He may even be sleeping in it at some point.

I took a short video of Ben walking in the KAFO Brace for the first time~

Thank you to everyone for reading and helping me share Ben's journey. It means SO much... Keep sharing! Keep reading! You are helping my little boy just by reading my blog.... So again, THANK YOU!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Exciting Week...

This has been a wonderful week! I have stayed in close contact with the new family who found me. They have a daughter who is 17 months old who has just been diagnosed with Blount's Disease. We have been emailing all week long; sharing our stories and talking about our little ones. It is so refreshing to have someone who knows exactly how I feel; and who has all of the same fears I do.

Unfortunately, the family lives all the way in Australia! So I may never actually get to meet them. Also, the part of Australia that they live in, has been severely flooded; causing an extra financial burden on their household; including Mom, Dad, and four children.

I decided to see what I could do to offer support. Knowing the in's and out's of Blount's Disease, their daughter will no doubt need the use of a Thera Tog Brace. As with Ben; this is most likely the very first step in her treatment. After making a few calls to the Thera Tog team; and even to a WONDERFUL woman who runs 'MileStones Therapy' in Sydney Australia, I believe that we have secured a brand new Thera Tog for this family to have; free of charge.

I have been in the best mood all week knowing that I could be a part of something so great! Everyone I talked too was so amazing and helpful. Thank you Thera Tog! Thank you Erikka at MileStones Therapy! And a special thank you to Patrick Mahaffey at Thera Tog; he is the one who told me who to call to make this happen. I hope this is just the beginning; and that I can find a way to help more families. I am So thankful for the friendship I am building now with the family in Australia.

Ben gets his KAFO tomorrow!! I'll post again soon!

Here is the link to MileStones Therapy in Sydney Australia


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Hope Fulfilled...

Today... I checked my email; which I have not done in a few days. There were TWO emails from parents whose children have Blount's Disease! As soon as I read the first email I started crying. I always knew I would make contact with another person struggling with Blount's. I just always expected that it would be an older person; someone who had Blount's as a child, or who had Adolescent onset Blount's. Both of the emails I received were from parents of children who have Infantile Blount's. I probably cried for the better part of an hour; and even now thinking of it I could cry some more! It means so much to me that there are parents out there who I can finally talk too... finally know about their journey... and finally be able to help someone at the beginning of their journey through Blounts. Thank you to everyone who viewed my blog and passed it on; and please continue! The day that there is a network for Blounts Disease is within reach!

On another note~

I got the call yesterday that Ben's KAFO brace is ready! We go in next Monday to fit it and make sure it's going to work. I will be sure and take pictures to share. That is one thing I am going to start doing a lot more of.... Taking pictures and videos. If you are a parent of a child with Blount's Disease, that is one thing I would urge you to do. Take videos of your child walking up and down a hall. It's hard to see the progress sometimes; and if you have a video to look back on, it is so much easier to stay motivated!