Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy 3rd birthday, Cady! What a year!

It should come as no surprise to any of Cady's followers for me to admit I am a TERRIBLE blogger. I know many of you have been wondering about Cady and how she has done over the last year.

One year ago today, Cady's second birthday, we were at a Duke clinic having some pre-testing done. The nurses checked Cady's vitals, drew a TON of blood (the poor thing got poked so many times) and told us all about what to expect the next day. We were excited, nervous, anxious and stressed out! What a day!

I can't believe it's already been a year since this all started! The 8 weeks leading up to our trip to Duke was, without a doubt, the most amazing, memorable and humbling experience I have ever had the pleasure to live through. The love and support people from all over the COUNTRY showed MY daughter was incredible. People always talk about all the bad out there in the world, but thanks to many of you, I know firsthand that there is more good than bad. Exponentially more. I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again. Thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart and also from my family. We would never have been able to make that trip without all of you!

So, just how is Cady doing? That's the million dollar question, right?

In January, I posted about how it had been six months and we had seen no significant progress. In fact, her progress was so unremarkable, her neurologist felt it was typical of a child her age with her disability and limitations. I took this as good news as we were told six months to a year before we'd see any results.

Well, are you ready for this?

A week later, JUST as we hit the six month anniversary of her infusion, Cady's gross motor skills EXPLODED. Suddenly she was sitting up and each time she tried, it was for just a few seconds more. She was taking steps in the walker, she was getting onto her hands and knees and attempting to bunny hop. She was rolling around with ease and she was holding her head up better than she had.

By April, she had us all hopeful and excited for her. In just three months time, this kid was sitting in 4 different positions (do you know there are so many different ways to sit?) and could even move herself from one to another without falling over; sitting for up to 25 minutes at a time without falling, bunny hopping around the room (though still with difficulty); making her way to the couch, pushing herself against it and lunging upward until she was able to get her hands on the couch and kneel there (kind of like a toddler cruising on the furniture except she would be on her knees); and one time at rehab she was practically running on the treadmill (they strap her in and she hangs over it with her feet just touching it). She also seemed to "get it" more. When she would look at you as you spoke to her, it was like she knew what you were saying. In fact, it used to be she would smile if you sang the song to her favorite TV show, but one day I narrated back to her an episode that really had her laughing (something else she does more and more) and she cracked up laughing! She KNEW I was telling her all about the Mama and baby Bugga Buggas on Dora and how in the end, all 10 babies shared a cookie and the little one burped! She GOT it!

In April, Cady returned to the neurologist, Dr. Kermin. After I told her all the things Cady was doing from January to April, she said, with a smile on her face, "Well, I can't say if her progress is from the cells or not, but I will tell you I am impressed."

That was enough for me. In January, she said it was not the cells. In April she couldn't say either way, which told me her progress wasn't typical.

Since April, Cady has continued to improve. While her speech hasn't gone far (though at times I feel like she is trying) and her fine motor skills are still awful, the fact that she has made so much progress with her gross motor skills is quite encouraging. In fact, her latest thing is when we are sitting on the floor with her she will crawl (with much effort and determination) across the room to you, pick herself up on to her knees and thrust herself either into your lap or around your neck for a hug. And the smile! She's so proud of herself when she does this.

Life with Cady is NOT easy, but when she accomplishes this task, the light in her eyes is truly inspiring.

Here's to another year of hope and accomplishments. Happy birthday, CadyBug! We love you SOOOO much!!

Here are a few pictures from Cady's 3 year portrait session this morning. Used to be so tough to have her pictures taken, trying to get her in a decent position. This morning we just put her on the floor and waited for the perfect shots: