We FINALLY had the much-anticipated appointment with the neurologist this morning.  She was very kind, gave N a full evaluation which included measuring his head, checking his muscles tone (tight) and reflexes (extra sensitive), and checking his joint range of motion (also tight).  She said there is no explanation other than cerebral palsey (CP).  While we basically determined that fact from previous doc appointments and research, what was nice about today is that we actually got some information about what to expect. 

While he is still young enough that it is difficult to predict, she was very impressed with his level of alertness, his activity level, his physical abilities, and the joint range-of-motion he DID have.  She said it was very unusual to see a CP kid in as good a shape as he is.  Because he was tight from the day we received him (4 days old), she is pretty confident the CP-causing injury happened in-utero.  In any case, she said that she is pretty confident he will walk with little to no aid.  While he may need leg braces in the beginning, he likely won’t need them permanently.  There is a catch, however, and that is that we have to get into a regular daily routine of stretching his muscles.  Apparently the muscle tightness caused by CP can result in joints being used less and less, which in turn can cause the joints to basically freeze up.  So, while the condition itself does not get worse, the physical abilities can decrease if not treated properly.  Therefore, each joint must be exercised on a daily basis to ensure they are used, which will prevent them from freezing up.  While daily stretching will likely be something that has be done for several years (if not, for life), she said it is highly likely that he will seem completely normal otherwise, and any disability will be difficult, if not impossible to detect just by looking at him.  We consider this to be wonderful news!  She also warned me that CP does affect every muscle of the body.  Therefore, while he will walk, he will likely be very delayed.  Furthermore, potty-training may be affected.  Again, he will be able to be potty-trained, but he may be delayed based on how his muscles develop.  Guess I better prepare myself for another long while of diaper changes! 

The next step is an MRI, which will hopefully take place in the next 2-3 weeks, then another appointment with the neurologist to discuss the brain issues involved.  In the mean time, we will be doing physical therapy twice a week, to learn how to exercise and stretch his little body.  Just for the record, N seems to enjoy the workouts for the most part.  He has always been such a happy baby that he just loves any attention.  He only gets a little cranky after you pick on one area for longer than he likes, or when you are working on the joints that are excessively tight (which gets uncomfortable for him). 

We praise God for the good news we got today, as well as the fact that God has provided N with a family that has good insurance, medical care, the ability to stay home with him and work with him as needed, and just when he may need it most, the chance to live and work on a farm and/or with horses (horseback therapy is awesome for CP kids!)  God always works things out for the best, and perhaps N is the reason much of our life is coming to together the way it is.

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