Busy little (Club)feet in the T-Dot & Clinic Update

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When W was a baby, someone once said, “the days are long, but the years are fast.” This is true for the long and challenging days of the Clubfoot casting and intense bracing phases, but today our lives can best … Continue reading

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Is it 2014 yet? Floods, Freezes and Four Letter Words!

Dear 2013 – you can wrap up any moment now.  I am ready for 2014. At present, I am dreaming of simple pleasures like folding laundry, taking a hot shower and sitting at my new desk to work. I want to look at my home calendar and verify W’s next Clubfoot follow up appointment at Sick Kids before putting on his Ponseti braces for bed. None of these things are possible today. 

To recap 2013 quickly: it’s been a very challenging year. On top of the intense pace of our lives, our tiny house was folded during the epic Toronto rainfall in the summer.  We’ve spent countless hours gutting and renovating our basement post flood. Insurance doesn’t cover “grey water” damage.  You can imagine my vocabulary of four letter words.  The basement also acts as my home office, thus professionally, I was out of a work space, samples and more. Throw in the regular illness schedule, some added joy of pneumonia (pick a Russell, we were all so sick), gobs of snot, ear infections, a little boy starting school and lots of busy busy family things.  What kept me going was the idea of Christmas. I kept telling everyone who asked that my idea of holiday plans included being in my PJs with the kids, relaxed and warm, in my own home. “Just make it to Dec 21st” I kept telling myself. It was marked on the calendar. 

On December 21st came. There was an ice storm in the forecast and a long anticipated family event cancelled. I was called away from a last minute dinner party nearby to come home urgently. A power line was on fire, the ice storm was setting in and we would have to evacuate. Fire trucks showed up and watched the ice storm put out the fire. Assurances were made that Toronto Hydro would be on this. That was the last of anything larger than a garbage truck coming down our street to offer a service – no salt trucks, snow plows, hydro trucks, nothing.

For 120 hours, in a Canadian winter, our little street has been without power. We thankful to be bunking in with family. Many neighbors are enduring the cold and keeping the area safe. While the city gets back to normal, our street remains a final pocket without service. I won’t touch on the political mess that all of this is. Needless to say, I am ready for 2013 to be done.  Panic hits about things big and small. I have only a day’s clothes with me – I keep hoping this won’t last any longer. But each morning that I go back home and change into ice cold clothes, I get upset.  What about my time to organize my new office space? My time to work on Clubfoot projects that mean so much to me.  Scrap fitness and healthy eating, stress feel like it is invading every cell of my body. 

Of course, through all of this adversity there are many wonderful moments, people and things. I feel tremendously fortunate to have the family, friends and neighbors that are in my life. Thank you, thank you and thank you. Your endless support, gestures, kind words and more have puled us through the gong show of 2013.  Our family has spent more time together than ever. Our street and community  are now stronger and more vocal than ever.  I will squeeze in a run on the icy and un-plowed streets, if I am lucky dance away in a cardio hip hop class and maybe even a trip to the gym. My expense report will get done. 2014 is almost here and it can only get better. 

 

  

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30 Final Days of Bangladesh – Day 30 – Goodbye to LAMB, Goodbye to Bangladesh

russellsfeet:

Ken – best of luck on journey ahead. Thank you for making a difference in the treatment of Clubfoot in Bangladesh.

Originally posted on kenthinksaloud:

I am struggling to know what to write for this final post. My heart couldn’t be much heavier and every time I stop for a moment I come close to bursting into tears. I can’t even bring myself to posting a photo from the many I took today. Except this one which sums it up pretty well:

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The day began okay. We were leaving LAMB at 2 pm and just needed to finish packing plus oversee the remaining furniture being taken by our friends.

Then a director called us at 10 am to tell us the flights to Dhaka had been brought forward and now we had to leave at 11 am – less than an hour!

Mass panic as we tried to cram stuff into bags and call friends we knew wanted to say goodbye to let them know we were going now. 

Incredibly, everyone descended on us very…

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WooHoo: Footnote Film Project Ts Just Ordered

The Footnote Film Project is running a campaign with TeeSpring to help them with their fundraising efforts.  I just placed my order for 2 kids and 2 adult T-shirts. There is a great range of colours & sizes for everyone! TeeSpring will only run the production of the tops if they hit their goal, so place your order now.  Happy Shopping.

 

 

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The Footnote Film Project: Touchdown in Toronto

swing

Last weekend, the dynamic team behind The Footnote Film Project came to Toronto. Needless to say, it was amazing to meet Zach and Hannah and learn about their experiences. Their passion behind creating this documentary and raising awareness of the prevalence and treatment of Clubfoot globally is inspiring.

Zach and Hannah came to Toronto to capture the Canadian experience of dealing with Clubfoot.  They had the chance to meet with us, in addition to some other Clubfoot families whom were treated in Ontario.  The whole process brought a great deal of reflection and thoughts on our journey thus far.

The visit was fantastic.  It also marked the point in time where W became truly aware of other children and adults being impacted with Clubfoot.  In preparing for the visit, we spoke to W about how his foot was “curly” and that he would have the chance to meet other children who were born the same way.  We now speak to W about how the “lucky kids” with Clubfoot get to wear a super hero Ponseti brace to bed.

My experience with The Footnote Film Project has left me feeling incredibly fortunate. With Canadian Thanksgiving around the corner,  it is the perfect time to acknowledge our true appreciation of our journey.  This year, more than ever, I will give thanks for many things including:  

  • Dr. Ponseti’s lifelong commitment to advancing and improving outcomes in Clubfoot
  • Having access to excellent health care, including being so proximate to Sick Kids
  • W’s enrollment in a clinical trial for Botox funded by an amazing Canadian foundation
  • That we have tremendous support and love of family and friends
  • That our additional insurance coverage has paid for W’s premium braces
  • That my blog has provided the opportunity to meet and connect with so many families
  • That W will enjoy a life defined by ability and opportunity
  • That Clubfoot is treatable in non-surgical means with amazing results
  • That in the scope of issues to deal with, W’s Clubfoot will not likely be the most difficult in the course of his life.

Over course of the filming of the Footnote Film Project, others will certainly be touched. Their impact will continue to be felt as they travel to Ghana, Vietnam and New Zealand. We will be awaiting their updates!

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Clubfoot Flash Back

Clubfoot Flash Back

January 2010 – Baby W about to get his first cast for his Clubfoot treatment at Sick Kids in Toronto.

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Kindergarten Checklist: Backpacks, Hair Cuts and Vaccines

hair cutThe count down is on. In exactly one month to the day, W will start Junior Kindergarten. The Back of School media campaigns are now in full effect and will only become harder to escape.   I am filled with mixed emotions about this big day, since W will be the youngest in his class. Ontario leads the way in offering full-day kindergarten in a play-based curriculum.   Since he’ll be turning four by the end of 2013, he’s enrolled to start school on September 3rd.  I am a fan of the new curriculum and know the passion that his teachers will bring to the classroom.  I’m leaving the topic of red-shirting for academics to the side, though it does creep into my mind every so often.  Fact is, I need to start getting ready for this big day!

The to-do list is growing. W will need some new school clothes, extra shoes, a lunch bag, etc.  His shaggy mop, as seen here post swim/play/nap, needs some attention. He’ll protest every moment of the hair cut, but there is no choice on the matter.  The other key item on the list is updating his vaccine schedule around his 4th birthday.

Recent news from the CDC indicates that vaccine rates are still high, but the trend for parents opting out of the schedule is worrisome.   If you follow the news, you’ll know that  that Whopping Cough and Measles rates are increasing.   These diseases are no simple cough or rash – they are deadly. That’s why medical research triumphed creating vaccines to help mortality rates globally.  Vaccines are proven and effective in not only keeping your child healthy, but others with compromised immune system healthy as well.  I work in the medical industry and maintain a fully updated immunization schedule for the same reasons.  In Ontario, our health care system funds these vaccines.  This should be a straightforward matter.

It’s no fun seeing your child have an injection, but there are solutions like Emla that can help minimize the pain and over the counter pain relief for any muscle aches that may develop after.  If your concerns rest with respect to Autism and MMR vaccines, the relationship now firmly established as junk science.   I am firmly in the anti-Jenny McCarthy camp. My opinion is based on the wealth evidence in the medical literature. I’m pro-vaccine and no celebrity, no matter how engaging, will move me from this view. 

Ultimately, parenting is filled with hard choices.  I tell my children that part of my job as being their mom includes making unpopular decisions (meaning ones they don’t like) and embarrassing them (I predict a steady increase in what they find embarrassing parental behavior). Thus, haircuts and vaccines are on the agenda, regardless of the buzzing of the clippers or the sting of the needle.  As for the first day of school, I fully expect to be weepy and sentimental, yet excited about this major milestone.  Until then, I’ll just focus on enjoying the rest of summer holidays.

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