January 21, 2014

Getting ready for leg #3

I'm completely behind in posts, but I did enjoy my little blog break! This is one of three posts I wrote over the past few days so be sure to scroll down for the rest.

We have been in the process of getting Anna's new leg fitted for this year. With a few adjustments she has been able make her current one last for 10 months, which is great at this age! Her gait has been off for a while now, and she is in need of a new one.

The process of making a leg is complicated. First they take a plaster of her leg (think paper mache) that is used to make the liner fit perfectly to her limb. The liner is the first part of prosthesis that goes on the leg. They then hand-make a first draft skeleton of the leg. They see how she is able to walk on it and mark adjustments that have to be made. There are usually one to two more fittings to get it just right. Sometimes new parts, like a different foot size or type, have to be ordered and that can factor into the length of time it takes. Her last leg took 3 weeks to receive but this one is taking less time due to the fact that they are  able to reuse her current liner and skip the molding process.

I wanted to document the process, but since they didn't do a mold this year I only got a few pictures. Below are pictures from her first fitting with the skeleton leg. This is the first time Anna will be able to move to a more advanced foot. Previously she had only one choice for a foot because hers was so small. Now she is able to use a foot that looks more realistic, will fit into almost all shoes (except boots that you have to bend at the ankle to get on), and most importantly, it will give her more spring and make it just a little easier to run.

Some kids are hesitant or scared when they are fitted for and receive a new leg. It's a major, personal process to get a new leg. Kids become attached to the leg they have; they are used to how it feels and moves. It is a part of them. I was amazed at how wonderful Anna did at her fitting. She wasn't nervous at all and immediately started walking on her leg. She was even super excited about her new foot!

Each time we go the clinic, many of the staff come in to see Anna. She is the youngest patient and has stolen a few hearts, so she gets lots of attention. There is always a patient or two in the rooms that have prosthetic legs and they come in to chat and show Anna their leg. I love that she gets this exposure to different people. It reminds her that she is not alone and that many others look like her. It also shows her the different legs that are out there; there is such a difference from leg to leg. I really enjoy this time spent with everyone. I love hearing the stories about how people lost their leg. Most commonly it is from an accident (car, motorcycle, work, and even train accidents), but other times from a disease like diabetes. There is something special about being in a environment where people 'get' what it's like to be an amputee. You know how to communicate with them and don't have to think so much. It's kind of hard to explain.

We also learned at this appointment that Anna is going to be receiving a special 'surprise' from the clinic as a thank you for some of the help we have given them in their educational expos and marketing projects. They are making her a second leg with butterflies on it. I was so humbled and blessed by this and I'm so excited to see her first reaction to a designed leg. I can't wait to ask her which leg she wants to put on each morning! Will it be one for 'dress' and one for 'play'? I have a hunch she will learn towards choosing one over the other! I'm sure she will enjoy showing off her new leg this spring. We will save her old leg to use at the pool.

Here are some of the pictures I took from her first fitting. There is a cute little video at the end.

Happy Holidays

We had wonderful Christmas season this year. Ben and I started the tradition of picking out an ornament every year that represents that year for us. We think about the major events and changes we have gone through, pick out an ornament, and then I write the year on it. We have been married for five years and every one has an ornament.

From top left:
2008: our wedding ornament. The year we got married. It says "Ben and Lisa" and the year.
2009: A blue star from India because we spent a large portion of that year working at the children's home.
2010: A wooden ornament from Charleston. We love Charleston and spent a weekend there to celebrate our anniversary. I was pregnant in 2011, so this trip represented the end of our two-person family.
2011: One of Anna's First Christmas ornaments.
2012: Our New Home ornament. I found this one online and I loved how it was a red house like ours.
2013: A little doctor angel to represent Ben's first year working as a professional physician assistant. It was a long time in the making and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into it.

 Here are a few pictures of us and the girls from the holiday season.

Anna at the Shriners Christmas party.

The rest of these pictures were taken at my in-laws house.


January 20, 2014


Anna has to get a breathing treatment every day for her Reactive Airway Disease. Often we watch a DVD during that time. I like to get DVDs that are short (30-45 minutes) and pleasant to listen to (rather than commercial-esque obnoxious-ness). Anna is super sensitive so nothing with a lot of scary or sad moments will do. We have found some great ones that everyone enjoys watching! Here they are:

This is the most adorable, heart-warming animated short. It makes me cry every time!
This is a series of 7 shorts (20 minutes or so each) based on the Guess How Much I Love You book. They are a little too cheesy for me to enjoy, but they are perfect length for Anna.

The Snowman is based on the best-selling book. This animated film is set only to music and it's beautiful to listen to and watch! It's a classic Christmas story, but Anna watches it all year long.

These popular "Tunes for Kids" DVDs are wonderful. They feature Brent Holmes playing on his guitar and lots of real animals. The songs are funny, pleasant, relaxing, and Ben and I actually enjoy listening to them. At first I thought they were a little cheesy but the second and third times I started to love them, and Anna is obsessed with them. Island Tunes is her favorite, then Sea Tunes and Cow Tunes.


I bought this DVD at a yard sale for 1.00 and it was a great find. It features six narrated Eric Carle books.
This book/DVD set was Anna's favorite when she just turned to. It has a Dr. Suess-y feel to it. The DVD is basically an animated version of the book. It's short, only five minutes long.