Monday, September 30, 2013

Jack Needs A Helmet

I took Jack to the neurosurgeon because his physical therapist said she is concerned that his torticollis is not responding to therapy as much as she had hoped. Jack's torticollis was so bad at first and it got much better right away with therapy. It wasn't completely better and he seems to continue to want to hold his head to his right side. Since he does this his head is developing an odd shape.

The neurosurgeon examined Jack. He said he is generally against helmets. He feels that a baby's head shape will get better by itself as the brain grows and they start spending more time on their stomach.
He also said that he felt Jack was an exception to this. He said Jack had as bad a case of torticollis and plagiocephaly (misshaped head) as he has seen. He said that since Jack is not yet rolling over and we don't know when he will, that it might not self correct. There is a small window of time where the skull is soft enough to correct the odd shape and we may miss it if we don't act soon.

He gave me a prescription for the helmet. I need to take him to an orthotist where they will make it for him. I am hoping they will figure out a way that it can work with the hearing aids and then the implants.

I feel so bad that Jack has to endure all these treatments. He is a happy guy and doesn't seem to complain much but it seems so unfair. I am happy that he is getting it all now and I remain hopeful that he will progress to the point that he doesn't need more than the cochlear implants by the time he goes to school.

Jack is ten months old now. He is still not able to roll over. I keep being assured by all the therapists that he does not have cerebral palsy. I remain unconvinced. I don't get any answers when I ask why he is not progressing. He has therapy four times a week and I do the exercises with him as much as possible yet he does not seem to be getting much better. I am looking for different specialists to take him to to see if I can get any new ideas.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hearing Aids, NYU, Dr. Citron

We finally got the hearing aids. We got them on Wednesday the 11th. He didn't seem to have any notable response to anything with them in. There is a lot to the care and testing of the hearing aids. I had a lesson on everything when we picked them up.

On Thursday and Friday last week we went to NYU. We had three appointments. Two of them were to test Jack's hearing in the booth. They put us in a sound proof booth and put a small ear phone like device in Jack's ears. Then they send sound through them to see if he responds. If they think he does they make a stuffed monkey light up and play the cymbols.

They felt he responded to certain sounds in his left ear at about 75 dB. He only responded at certain frequencies. Personally, I really didn't note him to be responding all that much.If he moved his head or turned at all they were saying he was responding. He is a pretty antsy guy so it is really hard to tell why he is moving. Hearing at 75 dB is still a pretty profound hearing loss and he still qualifies for cochlear implants, but it is a lot different than the results of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests that he had at LIJ.

The audiologist told me that his hearing may be a bit better than it was when he was previously tested. If that is the case, his hearing aids are programmed wrong. She said that they could be hurting his ears and they may need to be reprogrammed. So I took them off him. She asked me if I wanted Jack to have another ABR at NYU. I told her that I do. The ABR is objective and the behavioral booth is very subjective. I don't want to damage any residual hearing he may have by using hearing aids that are programmed wrong.

The next day he had the same test for his right ear. He was a little irritable and the test was coming out all over the place. His right ear has auditory neuropathy and that means he doen't process sound even if he hears it. He did not test well with that ear.

Jack was also evaluated by a speech therapist. She was listening to his babbling and counting the different types of sounds he makes. She told me his cry sounds immature and she thinks he may have some vocal cord damage. He will need to be evaluated for that. It seems like we hear bad news at all of these appointments and I find it pretty frustrating.

We go back to NYU this Thursday for two more appointments. I am going to try to take the train this time. It was pretty tough driving in there and I was forced to park in a garage costing $37. I think it might be cheaper and easier to take the train even though it will be rush hour. We will see.

On Sunday we had my Dad so Betty could go to a baby shower. He is getting pretty bad and it was hard dealing with him. Julianna was very helpful and she is pretty understanding about Pop-Pop's brain disease. It was nice to be able to give Betty a bit of a break.

I had an appointment with Dr. Marc Citron my medical oncologist. He took blood and sent me for a chest x-ray. He did an exam and said he thinks everything looks normal. He also told me that I am now in the time where I have the greatest risk of recurrence. Once this year passes my chance of recurrence will start dropping dramatically. It can be pretty stressful to think about so I try not to.

Julianna is enjoying school and her activities. She has violin, ice skating, dance and arts and crafts. I am trying to find a place for swimming lessons that is a little closer to home than our last place. Jack i s happy and is proud of his two new teeth. We are all enjoying fall and having a good time!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kindergarten, No Hearing Aids Yet, Pictures

Julianna started kindergarten on Tuesday!! It was a big day for both of us. She was excited and I was nervous and sad that she is growing up so quickly. My little 3 pound baby is with all the big kids now. She did say some of the kids said she looked like she was three and that made her sad. I told her to please remember that Uncle Rich was made fun of for being small and now he is the tallest person she knows. Kids can be mean. I hope she learns to let it all roll off.

Jack was supposed to get his hearing aids yesterday. I took the day off for the appointment. About two hours before the appointment they called me to say the hearing aids weren't in and I needed to reschedule the appointment. The lady there (LIJ) was pretty nasty as usual. After speaking to the supervisor I was able to get an evening appointment for next Wednesday. I hope it works out this time.

Here are some pictures:

Julianna ready for the first day of kindergarten.

Julianna getting on the bus. I followed in the car.

Jack at 9 months old. Super happy.

                                    View from our dock in PA. We are sorry to see summer end.