Rett Syndrome and a pandemic don’t mix together well

I know that everyone can say that the last 12+ months have been a roller coaster. For us parents of kids with complex medical conditions, we were already on a roller coaster so life just got crazier and more intense.

That’s why you’ve not heard from me in a while.

Yesterday is a good example of the roller coaster of our lives. It started out with a semi-urgent scheduled appointment with Lily’s Rett specialist. And ended with a jam session (courtesy of Stephen) dance party/giggle fest. In between, we went to the botanical gardens to decompress from the hospital visit which has become somewhat of a family tradition.

So let me backtrack. There’s a lot that’s been going on with Lily. Some of it good. Some of it not so good.

The good: she’s gained 10 pounds, grew a few inches and is progressing well at school (even in a fully virtual environment).

The not so good: during her growth spurt, her feet didn’t grow right which has been impacting her ability to walk, she’s having zone-outs that are looking more and more like seizures and she’s become very temperamental.

Hence the appointment with the Rett specialist.

A lot came out of that appointment that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Lots of recommendations were made. And with the help of Stephen and the doctor, we’ve prioritized the to-do list. Here are the headlines:

1. We will need to admit Lily for a 3-5+ day EEG to see if she’s having seizures.

2. Lily will be getting Botox treatments for her feet. The AFO’s (i.e., leg braces) which we got about a month ago to help with her gait and foot deformities aren’t doing enough. Adding Botox will hopefully assist in the mending process.

I’m overwhelmed. I’m heartbroken. But at the same time, I couldn’t be prouder of this person who is turning into a beautiful young lady, inside and out.

We have food on our faces!

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Hopefully this is the last of the spa treatments for the week, a supposedly nourishing mask of oats, yogurt and honey. You see Lily and I spent the past two days in the hospital as she was finishing up the clinical trial on statins for girls with Rett Syndrome. The results will be published in August and it looks promising for some girls.  Thankfully we didn’t have to do a sleepover for this wrap-up but regardless, driving to and from the Bronx on Thursday and Friday was exhausting enough.

On Thursday she only had one ‘spa treatment’ – the breathing study which consisted of attaching 20 leads to her head, three straps around her torso, and one lead on her piggy. The set up wasn’t too difficult and it went rather smoothly. But then we had to sit there for three hours. I had to make sure Lily didn’t move around too much, or fall asleep. It was physically demanding for us both. We made the most of it – watched a few movies, read a few stories, and I even managed to give her a real spa treatment – a pedicure!

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Afterwards I took her for a celebratory lunch and a stroll at the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Mommy had a glass of wine while Lily socialized with the other diners.

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Friday we were back at the hospital bright and early. Lots of ‘spa treatments’ this day.  She started out with a blood draw. Brave kid didn’t even flinch when the phlebotomist put the needle in. Then we had an hour-long session with Dr. Sasha to talk about Lily’s emerging anxiety, her increased clumsiness, and her ongoing sleep issues. What many people don’t know about Rett Syndrome is that it is continuous and relentless. And my poor sweetie is struggling a lot.

After talking to Dr. Sasha and having Lily do a cognitive test (which thankfully was not at all invasive), we made our way down to the dungeon for the EEG.

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The test itself was only 20 minutes long. But it took over an hour to get all 27 leads on her head. The technician was an amateur. However, Lily was a champ throughout. We were giggling and telling stories and listening to music. I told her I would take her to the zoo afterwards if she wanted. But she was so tired after the EEG that we just made our way home.

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Once we got home, she had a few therapy sessions (she needed help with movement after being sedentary for such long periods of time). We had pizza for dinner. It was pizza Friday after all! However her appetite just wasn’t there. She managed to eat a few bites. Then she took an hour long bath, soaking the hospital visit out of her pores while mommy cleaned –  yet again – the glue out of her hair.

We spent the rest of the evening cuddling in mommy’s bed watching Mary Poppins. It was a struggle to get her to fall asleep (which is unfortunately the norm), but eventually she did and she slept through the night!

When she woke this morning, she had an angry looking rash all over her sweet face. I’m sure it’s all the tape and glue and alcohol and leads that has aggravated her skin. I have to go to the pharmacy later to pick up some calamine lotion because my at-home spa treatment did nothing for her.

And there’s another reason to go to the pharmacy today – I’m picking up her latest sleep medication. Hopefully this one will work. Us girls need our beauty rest, especially after this past week.