Feeling Better and Trying to Find a Groove
Thank you friends for the prayers for Ioana after having a tooth pulled this week. Wednesday continued to be a rough day as she had an adverse reaction to Tylenol with Codeine and she couldn’t keep food down all day. But by evening she finally got something to stay down and Thursday she felt much better and went to Physical Therapy.
Now she is full tilt on Physical Therapy and does a combination of exercises three times a day. This can include or be a combination of therapy at the Children’s Hospital facility, home exercises or going to the pool. She likes the pool the best and she and Pam have just left for an exercise class there this morning.
She does not like doing her home therapy all that much. It is monotonous for her and difficult. She tires easily and is often sore. In the evenings she goes to the point of fatigue and it exhausts her emotionally as well as physically.
She has anxiety when she goes to Children’s for therapy. We are basically trying to help her “unlearn” habits that she has had her whole life in how she walks. It is a lot for her to take in and she becomes easily overwhelmed with it all. To understand what she is trying to do imagine this scenario. When you walk down steps you likely always step down with either your left or right foot first. You don’t even think about it. Now beginning the next time you go down a step switch to the other foot from now on. The brain is wired to do it without thinking. Ioana has the same challenges but it is even more difficult because the message from her brain to her legs has been compromised due to Cerebral Palsy.
Yesterday she got on the treadmill and it was the first time she had ever been on one. It moved very slowly, at the slowest speed possible and it was challenging for her to keep up while working on changing her gait from how she currently does it. We’re also working on having her keep her shoulders down instead of collapsing into her body when walking. This will help to take the weight off of her legs which are so much weaker than her upper body. But it is a lot to take in, process and effectively execute. I think she feels the weight of the world on her when she tries to do this. She puts a lot of pressure on herself and does not want to disappoint people. We have had long discussions that even if nothing changed it would be just fine; she only needs to try her best and she is the only one who can know what that is.
As she was on the treadmill yesterday she was working on side-stepping laterally and finally she just got too tired and we had to hit the stop button. She began laughing and said to us “I feel like I am produce moving along the conveyor at the grocery store checkout!” Laughter is a good way to keep things light. There has been plenty of laughter but there have also been more tears this week. I can’t tell you how much I love this girl and am so impressed by her fortitude and perseverance. She has known more pain in her short life both physically and emotionally than any 18-year-old should have to endure. My prayer for her is that the future might begin to get a little bit easier. Thank you for your prayers, love, support and interest in her endeavor here.