Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A series of unpredictable events...

Although I shouldn't be, I still seem to be surprised that things always work out. Not necessarily the way I thought they would but the way they are meant to. Higher power, Spirit, God...whatever you want to call it. It comes down to faith. Faith that things will work out, that I will learn the lessons I need to learn and that I don't have to control everything. Or more accurately...that I can't control everything.

1. The weekend before last, our defrosting Christmas tree, all bundled up tight, fell on top of my brace (AFO - Ankle Foot Orthotic) which was laying in the entrance of our house. Humm...this is going to be a bit of a challenge. A big chunk had busted out of the entire side that allows the brace to bend. My Orthotist took what remained of the brace and would create a new one, however, I would need to live without it for the next week.

2. The hard work is starting to pay off. My last visit to the physiotherapist was AMAZING! I know...who talks about going to a physiotherapist as amazing. hahaha...
After going through some exercises, we did some Dry Needling (IMS - Inter-muscular Stimulation) on my calf muscles. He then attached electrodes to the muscles in my leg to stimulate my dorsiflexor muscle to lift my foot.

Since doing this treatment, I've been able to tap my left foot when my knee is bent. Not a full range of motion but lift my toe/foot unassisted.

3. I met with my Orthotist today to pick up my new brace (AFO). He then talked to me about a relatively new technology called a WalkAide.

This is a small transmitter-like thing that is strapped to my leg and delivers electrical stimulation to the nerves that tell my muscles to lift my toe/foot. It works in a similar manor that a wii gaming system (bluetooth technology) to read where my leg is positioned in time and space. When I lift my leg and bend my knee, an impulse triggers my foot to flex. When my leg straightens, the foot relaxes. This system normally costs about $5000.00, however, there is currently a clinical trial taking place in Alberta. This trial requires the client to pay only $500.

What does this mean for me? It means the real possibility of wearing pretty shoes again!!! (yes, like in the picture...hahaha) Okay, it means a bit more than that. :O)

Because the muscles will be doing active work again, the WalkAide will allow the muscles in my leg to start rebuilding. It also is consistently stimulating the nerves that talk to the required muscles. These nerves haven't necessary been used in a while and some are hanging out in hibernation. Once these nerves start to get triggered on a regular basis, they are finding that other nerves (the hibernating ones) start to get recruited to help out.

There will be a few challenges and not everyone is a candidate for the WalkAide. It's going to require learning a new method of walking. This will take some practice and it's a bit of an uncomfortable feeling as a current moves the muscles without me doing anything.

Although I will be trained in how to use the WalkAide and proper walking technique by the Orthotist, the real work and practice will come in the real world...uneven surfaces, no one at my side coaching every step.

Sounds like FUN!!!
Wonder how it will work chasing a 1 yr old? :O)

I'll keep you posted on my progress.