As you know, we have been working in overdrive to try to get Faith home as quickly as possible. But so many good things are going on with Jian, I wanted to take the time to give an update on her. For a good three months we have been focusing heavily on her range of motion. We want to make sure that her hip and knee move fully in all directions to set her up for the best future success. She had a lot of pain and stiffness following the surgeries, especially in her knee.
Since the time she got her cast removed, she has been sleeping in a night brace to lock out her hip and knee in order to prevent her old contractures from coming back. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel on this brace. We need a little more focused effort on achieving a few more degrees (like maybe 3) of knee hyperextension, and then she will be able to sleep comfortably without this body brace.
My main obsession lately with Jian has been getting her knee to bend completely. I know that this movement isn’t crucial to her ability to walk, but my CrossFit/yoga brain wants her to be able to do whatever activities she wants in the future, and there are lots of areas of limitation if your knee won’t bend. She has this big, heavy, bulky contraption of a brace that we have been putting on several evenings per week for the past couple months. It has a knob that you turn that pushes the knee into a few more degrees of flexion each time. A few weeks ago, her physical therapist (who is wonderful) was explaining that we probably wouldn’t achieve any more flexion, and that it would be ok. Of course, that gave me a challenge, so as of this week, we are able to dial that brace as far as it will possibly go with no pain! Maybe he knew what he was doing when he said that to me…
The other area she has been working on and that still needs more practice is her hip external rotation (sitting “criss cross.”) She has taken responsibility for her stretches, and I often catch her doing them without being prompted.
She has also been following up with her eye doctor every 6 months due to the weak muscles in her left eye. We went again yesterday and decided that we needed to start patching her eye again up to 8 hours per week for a couple months in order to try to strengthen those muscles a little bit more.
The biggest, most exciting thing that we have been doing is teaching her to walk in her KAFO brace. I was so pleasantly surprised when we went to be fitted for this brace. It is so sleek and streamline. She chose the pattern that has red, white and blue soccer balls on it, and it is so cute and sporty. We are currently working with this brace mostly during her physical therapy sessions (since we have been focusing on the range of motion braces at home.) Each week for 2 hours, she uses this brace–which goes from her left thigh to the bottom of her foot–as well as her built-up shoe to stand and walk. She started out still balancing with 2 crutches and after only a couple of visits has progressed down to working with one crutch! The first day we practiced, her therapist had a student present. He was explaining to the student that typically he may work with a child for a month to achieve what Jian was able to do in the first 30 minutes of that visit!
We continue to pray that when the time is right that Jian would be able to walk hands free. After a little more practice and improving her balance and confidence, I definitely see her being able to do that. Aside from her physical improvements, she is absolutely thriving at school. I am also so thankful for how well she is emotionally tolerating all of the change that is coming in our household with bringing home another daughter. I am trying to make a very intentional effort to give her plenty of time and attention throughout this process.
So, for those wondering about specific prayers for Jian right now, I would say that she would have the confidence to continue working toward her goal of independent walking. And that she would feel emotionally safe and secure as we prepare to bring Faith home. And maybe say a quick prayer for me that I would continue to be able to juggle and balance everything that is going on right now. There is such an art to helping Jian with everything that she needs, expediting Faith’s adoption and raising all of the funds that we need, taking time every day to stay grounded in prayer and God’s word, making a conscious effort to keep our marriage strong, keeping myself mentally and physically healthy and working my job all of the hours that Jian is in school. But breaking it down and focusing on one day at a time makes it doable.
Hebrews 12:1 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”