Annie had her lokomat therapy again today but this time someone very special stopped by to see how she was doing. Her PMR (physical medicine and rehab) doctor, Dr. Dabrowski. Annie just LOVES Dr. D. She smiled at him for the longest time while she was walking, as if to say "look how great I'm doing!"Dr. Dabrowski was very impressed by how well Annie was doing. She is using between 50 and 90% of her body weight (her goal was 50% because at 100% it feels as though you are being pushed into the machine because it's heavy!) and is walking at 1.5Km/hr - a pretty good clip if I do say so myself!
Dr. Dabrowski and I talked a bit about Annie's walking and how far it's come, how strong she is, how she's able to weight shift and bend her knees now and how when she walks with us we are barely holding her at all but she has still not been able to take a step on her own. Dr. D has a theory that much of what holds back out rett girls is their intense anxiety. Researchers believe that girls with Rett syndrome release very high levels of stress hormones. They further believe that such high amounts of anxiety may be the reason our girls constantly hyperventilate, wring their hands, shake, tremor and have difficulty consentrating. (Have you ever felt anxious? Imagine feeling that multiplied and constantly.) So Dr. D's suggestion is that Annie may possibly be not taking steps in part due to anxiety. Which stands to reason because when Annie stands unassisted she typically grabs her shirt and looks pretty scared. His suggestion was to increase Annie's anxiety medication - which also stands to reason because we saw a big improvement with the introduction of anxiety meds. We will talk with her neurologist to see if he agrees, considering he was the doc who prescribed the medication. We will keep everyone posted on the progress!
Getting back to walking..... After the lokomat today Annie went to school and was all smiles coming off the bus. The kids and I were enjoying the amazing sunshine so I took Annie out of her stroller and we went for a little walk. I decided to see how far Annie could go, she was so eager to get up and walk. My little Champion walked down the driveway, 3 houses down, all the way back and back up the driveway! Woo Hooo! As you can see she was pretty proud of herself. (see that bright white garage door? That's how far she went!)
All the walking was exhausting. A little nap before dinner!
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made!" psalm 139:14