Kate had the opportunity to audition for the Los Angeles Ballet Summer Intensive at School of American Ballet on Saturday, February 15. We didn't think we would actually make it in time, as the entire NE was under blizzard conditions. It was an exciting time for Kate, auditioning, and seeing her first Broadway show, Cinderella. We saw New York City Ballet's Coppelia as well and ate in some great gluten free restaurants including Nizza!! Central Park was beautiful in the snow, and Kate loved hailing cabs, and running around Times Square. We even visited the set of Good Morning America and my childhood friend Maura, who is the Director of Operations there, and I had our picture made at the GMA desk. Good times!!
We met with Dr. Samdani and his staff. Olivia and Kate
both had IOS X-rays. Olivia looks great and has grown and inch since seeing him
in July. He was so pleased with her progress. She will be able to go back to PE
after Christmas as tolerable. He will see her in April for her nearly 1 year
post surgery follow up!
Her sister Kate's scoliosis is in progression and will continue as she hits her
growth spurt, undetermined at this time. She's in a Boston Brace and Dr.
Samdani was pleased with the way it looks in her. However, because her main
curve is high, the brace can't hold that from progressing. Her upper is now at
32.9 up from 26 in July and her lumbar is at 23 and change, up from 13 in July
when he last saw scans of her. She too will need to be seen in April where a
more concrete decision will be made regarding her. Dr, S is very concerned at
this point and has mentioned that it is probable she will have to have surgery
as well. At this time in his research he would not be able to perform the
fusion less and needs to wait to see how her growth spurt will affect her
spine. She too has grown an inch since September but her growth plates indicate
her spurt has not begun as yet. He will not rule out a fusion less procedure
for her though which is promising as his technology increases over the months.
So for now, we begin Kate's journey, and are grateful for Olivia's healing and
progression in such a positive way. I forgot to mention, since she did not have
to have her second surgery the curve in her lumbar spine remains. At surgery it had increased to 52 degrees, then reduced to 18 after surgery; to 13 in July, and now below 11!! We
are so happy about this.
Again, thank you so much for all the continued prayers for Olivia and the many
we receive for Kate as well. You all have been a real blessing to us.
Jul 12- Today is the 2 month anniversary of Olivia's
spine surgery! We returned home from Philadelphia after seeing Olivia's surgeon
for her follow up appointment at Shriner's Hospital. The report was great! The
team at Shriner's said Olivia is a poster child for her surgery. Her lumbar
spine continues to get straighter! She can now swim, and play putt-putt.
Boogie-boarding is still on hold as well as starting to hit tennis balls but
she can begin to do a few things now.
Her next X-rays will be done in early September here in Tallahassee and then
will head back up to Philly in late October/early November. This visit her
sister who is now in a back brace will be seen as well. As Olivia continues to
heal, we face the future now with her sister.
Thank you, thank you, for continued love and prayers as well as support that
continues for us as well!
June 27- update
It's been a busy last couple of weeks. But the best news for Olivia is that her
incision has healed and she was able to go to the beach last weekend. Now, she
couldn't swim but she did walk along the shore and dipped down into the water.
She took a friend with her and I know she was happy to be outside. She was on
the beach about an hour, maybe a little longer, but she really enjoyed it.
Today and this weekend, a friend is doing an event and offering some of her
proceeds to help the costs surrounding her surgery. Olivia gets to model some
clothes which she loves to do. Who doesn't love fashion!
We are just about 12 days out from heading to Philly for her first follow-up
appointment. Hoping and believing it will be a good one.
On a side note, Olivia's sister also has scoliosis and has been placed in a
Boston brace! Sadly, it seems the road for her too although unsure of what it
will exactly be.
Olivia is a very brave girl. I am so proud of how she handled her pain in the
hospital and so far through her recovery. In her mind, it has always been to be
better than the day before. She continues to have what her surgeon calls
"blips", but she is pushing through. As of late she is dealing with
lower left back pain, and some burning in her ribs, which is nerve issues from
the manipulation of her muscles in moving them from the bone during surgery.
She has also felt far more dependent on others than she would like which has
frustrated her. The things we take for granted are difficult for her, but those
will get better in due time. Right now, it's nearly summer, school is out, and
she wants to be able to swim and go to the beach, but can't. And it will be
months more before she can.
On a personal note, I sound like a broken record I know, but we are so
appreciative of the calls, notes, cards, and visits Olivia has received. I
can't begin to tell you how helpful it is and continues to be as we transition
home and Olivia starts to heal. I hope to be back to work full time soon. In the
meantime, we couldn't be doing all this without all of you.
Olivia continues to heal! At just over 5 weeks from her surgery, she
accomplishes new things every day, regaining the ability to do small tasks she
hasn't been able to do since before her surgery. This has helped in building
back her confidence! Her next goal; wading in a pool. Except for a small bit of
leftover scabbing, this should happen soon. It's been hard to recover with all
her friends hitting the pool or beach!
Next up will be Olivia's post op appointment in Philadelphia on July 10th!
May 23- Going home!
We head home from Philadelphia today. Olivia had her post op follow up
yesterday and is cleared to fly! Dr S is pleased with her progress and says she
looks good (meaning her back and its healing process). He did notice a fracture
in her lower back that she's had a long time, possibly since birth, that he
sees in 6% of the population; nothing to be concerned about at this point.
Olivia will be back in Philly in July for another follow up appt. In the
meantime walking is encouraged and resting and eating lots of protein is
We thank you for the love and good thoughts as well as the financial support
we've received and continue to receive. We have needed it all. She has a long
road to recovery and today is our first step home to getting there.
May 27 update-
We arrived home Friday evening from Olivia's surgery. It was good to be home!
Olivia is settling in to recover and finally able to rest in her own bed. She
is off of her heavy painkillers 2 weeks out from surgery! She has a great
attitude about recovery and doing well.
We head to Philadelphia again in July for her 6 week follow up appointment.
Again, we thank you for your love and prayerst! We have
needed it all and appreciate it more than you know!