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03/26/08 20:18:59 - The O.T.
Most of you know that the medications Aren was on, combined with the pre-transplant chemotherapy and the immune disorder itself, left his body in a rather bad-off way. His bones were very porous (hence two broken legs in six months’ time last year), and his muscles are weaker than they should be (which also contributed to the breaks, as well as his unique gait). The breaks just made things worse for his walking, so we finally got him into Physical Therapy, where a therapist gave him exercises and stretches to do so he would have better strength in his legs as well as more control over those muscles.
It would be nice if the problems were just in his legs, but they’re not. The problems moved to his fingers, hands and wrists, as well. In addition to the muscle weakness, however, some of his muscles and tendons have calcified somewhat in that area, making him much less flexible than he should be. Where most of us can bend our wrists up and down about 90 degrees, Aren is lucky to get 15 degrees in either direction. He also has a tough time making tight fists; between inflexibility and atrophy, he can’t get his fist much smaller than about ½ inch diameter on the inside. He likely wouldn’t be able to completely crush a toilet paper tube.
OT is basically Physical Therapy, but rather than focus on large muscle groups (legs, arms, etc), it focuses on fine motor skills involving the hands and fingers. So he has several stretches that he does, some alone and some assisted. For example, one exercise is to put his hands above his head, palms together, then bring them down in front of him as low as he can while keeping his palms together. (Think The Karate Kid preparing to chop through a bunch of ice, practicing his breathing.)
He’s only been going for a few weeks, so it’s too early to tell if there has been a lot of progress. But we’re very hopeful. So, wish us luck!
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Aren is undergoing a bone marrow transplant to fix the immune system defects that caused the loss of his little sister, Lily. To learn more, click here.
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