Rhema’s new AFO braces are a reality! It is with a grateful, overwhelmed, ecstatic heart that I report Rhema has her second (cable free) pair of AFOs a.k.a. “helper shoes”!!! Join me in a quick happy dance of Praise!!! Let the Hallelujah chorus begin!!! NOW my baby girl has what she needs over the next 10 months to walk with straight feet via her AFOs with twister cables, AND a she has a second pair of AFOs to “do life in” i.e. ride her bike, crawl around, ride with during hippo-therapy, etc….. And most importantly, Rhema needed these additional AFOs to protect her feet! We learned the hard way, and through many tears, what can happen to Rhema’s feet when they are left unprotected.
**** If you become queasy over wound images please scroll past this next picture…..
Here is the back story: Several months ago we allowed Rhema to crawl around with no AFOs on for about 40 minutes while I was changing the sheets on the our bed. She crawled all over the carpet, sheets, pillows and had a ball playing in the sheets as I made our bed afresh. When I picked her up, her feet felt wet and upon further scrutiny I found two large wounds on her feet that began to seep fluid and blood! I was devastated!!! How could such a wound happen over such a brief period of time?! I called her doctor, physical therapist and our friend who is a physical therapist in Tennessee and they all re-assured me that “this” happens easily with kids who have lack of innervation to their lower extremities. They explained that basically when Rhema’s feet began to have “carpet burn” that the nerves in her feet did not feel it and notify the brain to tell the feet to adjust. Rhema just simply rubbed several layers of skin off the top of both of her feet that quickly! While listening to them, a memory came flooding back to me: when Rhema was an infant she would chew on her toes (like most kids) but the problem was that she would not stop chewing like other typical kids. MANY times Rhema would get her socks off or pull both her shoes and socks off while I was driving her to appointments and by the time I could pull over and stop her, her toes were bloodied due to her chewing them with her teeth! It was horrifying and so frustrating as the reality of what I was dealing with hit me then; and here, Rhema is two years old and once again, reality slapped me in the face again! We as her parents must protect her feet! We are the guardian of her legs and feet until she is old enough to learn how to protect them herself. Once again, she was injured, on my watch….I remember feeling like such a failure for so many weeks….
Anyway, I explain this story for two reasons: one, in the hopes it may help and encourage another new mom who is walking our same journey and two, to give weight to WHY we are SO very thankful and happy over Rhema getting this second set of AFOs. They ARE a necessity to protect her precious feet from harm. Some have said that it’s frivolous for her to have two pair and that she should just learn to live life in the set with the cables. In the cables she cannot ride her bike, she cannot pull to a stand, she cannot kneel to play, she cannot ride a horse for therapy, she cannot crawl…. There were just too many “cannots”, so we put the need to prayer and the Lord provided someone to come our rescue; her name was Mandy. Mandy saw the need and moved heaven and earth to help our precious Rhema. Friends, as you read this say a prayer of blessing over Mandy — this is twice she has been instrumental in Rhema’s care– she is a blessing!
Rhema’s new AFOs, or “helper shoes” as we call them, have been such a blessing. All of the “cannots” have been rectified and my little girl once again has the freedom to move about uninhibited and PROTECTED! Bill said he was “shocked” and “had never seen anyone pull this off” i.e. to get a second set for their child under these conditions. PRAISE THE LORD! OUR GOD IS A GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE! So, once again, I lift my hands toward Heaven, from where my help comes, and proclaim He is my Jehovah Jireh– my Provider– The One Who Is Able To Provide A “Double Portion”!!!! Amen!