Today marks 2 years since Ava’s accident when she lost use of her right arm. It has been AWESOME (just had a discussion with some ladies about when really is it appropriate to use that word…I think it is called for here) to see her regain her strength. Here’s a more detailed update and, if you know me, a prayer request of course.
When Ava had her nerve transfers done at Cincinnati Children’s 20 months ago, she had no function at all in her right arm. The main goals of surgery were to give her shoulder stabilization (so it wasn’t dropping and pulling out of place), sensation, and the ability to feed herself with that side in case something might ever happen to her other arm. Any sort of hand function was to be considered icing on the cake for a girls of Ava’s age.
This is what we’ve got.
1. Shoulder stabilized. Success!
2. Ability to bend at elbow 90 degrees. Think of it as half of a bicep curl. Although, she can’t go any higher than that, it is incredibly strong in that she can put a pail with items in it on her forearm and carry it that way.
3. To get her hand up to her mouth, after her half bicep curl, she then needs to rotate her arm at the shoulder. She can just barely get it there, but we count it!
4. Huge increase in balance. Ava doesn’t trip nearly as often when we are walking along a sidewalk or just jogging across our farm. We’ve only made one trip to the ER in the past 12 months (she was trying out a fire pole at a playground) which is a much lighter schedule than we experienced the first 12 months post-accident. I think the ability to engage her arm helps tremendously for shifting her weight to avoid those falls.
5. Sensation all the way to the tips of her fingers. Much safer!
6. She can exert enough downward pressure to hold a piece of paper on the table with her right arm while she writes with her left hand. Very useful for a kindergartener! She also can hold items between her arm and tummy, a function she uses all the time now.
She has the ability to flex at her wrist just a bit. Her fingers no longer hang limply, they are always in a fist (it is actually an extrinsic hand function — one that is supplied by an area between the elbow and hand). These gains are really not functional however, unless she gains the ability to open her hand — finger extension. If she could gain a few more things like separating her fingers that would be even handier.
The clock is ticking. We know that the nerve growth has reached her wrist. Just a few more inches to grow! Please join me in praying that she receives some intrinsic hand function. We are really hoping she can open her hand in the next few months. Please pray with me.
We travel to Cincinnati again in June.