It's been awhile since I updated everyone about Catherine, which is good because nothing "too exciting" has been happening! Since we've started the new year, Catherine has been doing really well still with the loss of her eye. It never seems to bother her and it hasn't stopped her from becoming more mobile and progressing developmentally.
Her therapists all said some regression would have been normal given everything that she had been through with the surgery and loss of vision, but she keeps right on going. She sits up very well unassisted now, I am no longer afraid she is just going to fall over backward. She does most of her playing in this position. She is getting really good at the army crawl, pulling her body along with her arms. Last week she started using those legs while crawling...progress! There is something about a basket filled with anything that is on the floor. If she sees her basket full of toys, she will immediately crawl over and dump it over and take everything out. She won't play with much of the toys, she just has to have them out of the basket. Same with a basket of laundry. Next I will be teaching her how to fold the laundry. Catherine is getting a lot stronger with standing. She is able to stand upright without holding onto anything while I provide minimal support in case she falls. She can do this for a minute or so.
Speech wise she is becoming more vocal, making a few new sounds here and there, but no words yet. We can tell she is trying by the way she moves her mouth when we encourage her to say something. I believe speech will come, it will just be very slow. Now that we are back to a more normal routine, I have been more consistant in offering her foods orally 1-2 times a day. I still get pretty much the same response, delayed swallowing or spitting it out. It's not that she doesn't like it, it seems more like she doesn't know what to do with it. We have a feeding evaluation in a couple of weeks to see if there is more we can do. Again, I believe this will come eventually.
In the beginning of January, we saw her oncologist at Children's here in Columbus who will be following her for the next several years. Because she has had retinoblastoma she is at risk for other types of cancer to develop. Whether she is at a higher or lower risk depends on the genetic testing that is still being done on the eye tumor and on her blood. Those results could take 6 months to come back. So she will be seen by the oncologist every 3 months and she will have blood drawn and a physical exam. They are looking specifically for leukemia, bone, or brain cancers. She will also have an MRI every 6 months to look for brain tumors. We will also be keeping in touch with an oncologist in Philadephia who specializes in retinoblastoma.
One of the most important concerns is the development of tumors in her other eye, so we will be seeing the doctors in Philadephia every 3-4 months for an eye examination under anesthesia. Jim will be taking Catherine in the beginning of April for this first exam. She will need these exams for a few years I believe. The frequency may change if no tumors develop after while.
Catherine saw her ophthalmologist in Columbus last week who took a good look at her right eye, or actually it's called "orbit". She said that everything healed properly and she gave us clearance to see the ocularist who will be making a prosthetic eye for Catherine. We visited him this past week and Catherine should have her prosthesis anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months from now, depending on how long it takes for insurance to approve it.
Catherine has also seen the nutritionist and the audiologst recently as well. She is growing well, weighing 21 lbs. and 30 inches long. Her vomitting at night has pretty much stopped completely! I can't believe that it wasn't that long ago she was throwing up 2-3 times every night. I think this has a lot to do with an increase in her upper body strength since it also coincides with her being able to sit independantly.
The audiologist increased the volume in her hearing aids a little since she appears to still have a mild loss aided when she is in the sound booth. I believe she hears pretty well with the hearing aids, but she just doesn't have a way to tell us reliably exactly what she can and can't hear.
In other news, we will be expecting our new baby in less than 7 weeks. I feel great, and a recent ultrasound indicates that this baby is growing well, in the 50th percentile. We aren't finding out what we are having, but come on, it's probably a boy ;-) We are still thinking about boy names, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment.
Thank you all for your continued prayers for us and for Catherine. We will continue to keep you all in our prayers.
Oh yeah......Geaux Saints!!!!!!!!
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