We’re so thankful for the support we’ve received so far in our fundraising goals. Check out our GoFundMe page or donate through Handi-Care International for a tax receipt. We have made excellent progress with our fundraising event planning. Stay tuned!
Today was a long awaited day – James’ first botox injections in his hamstrings (back of thigh) and gracilis (muscle in the inner thigh). Six needles in total. The doctor used an ultrasound machine to guide the needles into the correct muscle locations. James champed it! Mike and I are amazed at his bravery. He cried but immediately stopped when it was over. We are so proud of him!
Botulinum toxin (Botox for short), is a therapeutic muscle-relaxing agent that reduces the rigidity of muscles or unwanted spasms in a specific muscle. Botox is produced from the bacteria that causes food poisoning and provides relief for muscle stiffness at the site of injection. Over the past ten years, the use of botox has shifted from wrinkle reduction to successfully treating muscle spasticity in children with cerebral palsy, making botox and cerebral palsy a hugely successful match.
The marriage of botox and cerebral palsy may seem odd at first, but is actually quite practical. When prepared for therapeutic use, botox is injected in small amounts into the spastic or stiff muscles. It begins to take effect by blocking transmission between the nerves and the affected muscles. The injection stops the signal between the nerve and the muscle, relaxing the muscle and reducing stiffness. Botox only affects the muscles that are injected and once the muscles are relaxed, therapists are able to stretch the muscles and stimulate normal growth. There are several benefits associated with botox and cerebral palsy. Botox injections can offer many benefits including ease in stretching, improvement in child’s range of motion, tolerance to wearing braces and developmental improvements in crawling, standing, or gait changes. The doctor told us that there are two factors when deciding if botox is the way to go. The first is body structure- so looking at James’ tone (another word for spasticity, or tightness) and seeing if it has an impact on the growth and formation of his bones and joints. The second is performance – so looking at James’ tone and seeing if it has an impact on his everyday movements/purposeful movements and the speed in which he executes the movements. Both are reasons why James would benefit from Botox right now. In terms of structure – James’ hips have shown on X-rays, 30% migration (meaning the joint has moved 30% away from the hip socket). This of course, is concerning and needs to be monitored annually. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon complication for kids who have CP. In terms of performance, during our Botox consultation, the doctor suggested that Botox could help James get “unstuck” to gain more mobility skills. Pray along with us, that that will be the case!
We are looking forward to the day when James has SDR (check out our post about SDR if you haven’t read that already) and will not need Botox injections anymore due to the significantly reduced spasticity that is permanent! Botox, though effective initially, wears off within 3-4 months, so will need to be repeated – number of times is unknown but this is a short term solution before James gets SDR to gain as much mobility as possible.
Because it’s always fun to end with some photos and videos, here’s some of James riding Max, the horse at WindReach Farm! He LOVES it!