After having been with Lily for 4 months now, we have found that not everyone realizes/notices that Lily's lower left leg is...well, not there. Obviously, some do...but not all. Her referral file stated that she had a "Congenital Missing Lower Left Leg" meaning she was born without it.
Many questions surrounded her leg before we came home with her and some still do. Would she be able to have a prosthesis? Does she have a knee joint? Did she have range of motion in her left hip? What we do now know is that 1) we don't know why she was born without part of her leg and may never know 2) an x-ray revealed that the left side of her pelvis is underdeveloped...again for reasons unknown 3) due to lack of use & weight to hold the left leg down, she developed a muscle contracture around her left hip (mama's terms: tight muscles that don't have a full range of motion) 4) with physical therapy to stretch her muscles she should be able to have a prosthesis 5) nothing stops this girl!
The day before we got her our guide called us to say she had spoken with the orphanage and they wanted to let us know that Lily was 'very active.' We wondered what exactly they meant by that...could something have been lost in translation? All we had to do when we were in China was read some of the signs the Chinese had written in English to see that word choices weren't always on target. So...very active?
Let's just say nothing was lost in translation. This child never really stops moving when she's awake! I nicknamed her the Tornado Baby shortly after she joined us because she was constantly twisting and turning in my arms when I would hold her. The baby carrier was the only way to carry her for many, many weeks! And once we put her down? She was off! This kid can crawl and climb (she was up 5 stairs before we caught her the other day!) and pull and lift! She is constant motion.
This week we return to her prosthetist where they will measure her leg and make a mold of it for her first prosthetic leg! At our last appointment we were told to expect it to slow her down and that she probably won't like that. I had two reactions to that. 1) That could be good...make it easier to keep up with her! 2) Yeah, right! Lily is one determined little girl and I'll betcha she's up and running before we know it. Time will tell...
Since we are getting close to beginning the prosthetic process, I thought I'd do a series of posts on the physical therapy Lily has been doing so that we would have a record of it for us/her. But also, in case someone else is considering adopting a child with a leg limb difference. Maybe something in our experience could be helpful or provide a glimpse into daily life with a prosthetic. I know I would read someone else's account somewhat obsessively if I could find it! But be forewarned...we are new to all of this and are learning as we go; we have no medical background at all; and our experiences, emotions, and mental processing may be different than that of others or you. So be nice! And understanding that we are learning as we go...and I'll try to blog the journey!