"Adventures, I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten."

-Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The CP Connection #3- Growth spurts

Every parent is familiar with this situation...

Child walks out of bedroom, fully dressed. Mom looks up and her eyes go straight to the ankle.... seeing that the child apparently grew 3 inches in his sleep, and his pants are now all set for flood stage.

Its irritating, especially with kids who grow in literal spurts, seemingly overnight (I have three of those...!)

But when a kid with CP has a growth spurt, its not just jeans that are outgrown. Muscles are outgrown. Muscles that had been stretched and allowed to grow, catch up with the bones a little. Then BAM! Growth spurt makes the bones grow, but those little muscles just can't keep up. So a child that was doing well with walking or moving is suddenly struggling again.

Its so frustrating. Alina's Cerebral Palsy affects her lower legs. Her right side is weaker, her left ankle more spastic. And her feet turn in. When she's stretched and between growth spurts, her outer muscles are working enough now that her feet only turn in a little bit. But after she grows, those little feet are turned totally in, and she struggles to walk because she falls over her own feet. And its back to square one.

This is my topic today because Alina just had a growth spurt. She's working so hard at PT, in the pool and with PT at school, and I didn't notice much growth clothing wise, but she got up the other morning and she could hardly function or get herself to the bathroom. It took a day or two for me to figure out what was going on, and her PT straight out asked me if she had grown because she was so tight in her ankles and her walking was awful, all stompy, feet turned and and her arms swinging like she was trying to take flight.

So we are back to three times a day stretching. Normally we only stretch after bath, when she is nice and relaxed and getting ready for bed. I notice a difference in a day or two of three a day stretching after she grows, and we can lessen it some. She doesn't necessarily dislike stretching, but its 15 minutes out of her playtime that she apparently thinks will really set her back. :)

Stumbo Family Story


ErinL said...

I had never heard this until just a few weeks ago at Shriners. I mentioned to them that for about a week she had been more unstable than usual and she immediately said "Growth spurt". I wish someone had told me that earlier! This week I found out how fluid in the ears affects her walking!

Stacie Wiesenbaugh said...

Good reminder for me... thank you for sharing. Hopped from CP Connection.

Ellen Stumbo said...

Oh thank you! I never thought about this before but it makes so much sense! I bet that will even help me in those times when I wonder what is going on with her. If she is growing, her body will respond, absolutely!

Twingle Mommy said...

Thanks for posting this. Now it's all coming together why my son gets so stiff at times. Now that I'm thinking back, it is after a growth spurt. I wish someone would have told me about this sooner.

Anonymous said...

I will be ther first to state that I HATE HATE HATE growth spurts. Even though Cali is not as affected as your little one, it is the same process. She functions so very well and then seemingly overnight wakes up and has real difficulty walking. The good thing that I keep in mind is that she will eventually quit growing and at that point, she will consistently be able to walk decently. We are SO looking forward to that day - and so is Cali! Hang in there, Alina! All of this nonsense will stop sometime in the next 10-13 years and then the worst is over. Amen!

Shannon Dingle said...

This is so helpful to read! Even though I've been involved in the special needs world for more than a decade, CP is still pretty new to me, so we're learning all of this stuff as we parent our sweet Zoe (who we brought home from Taiwan last month, by the way!).

Preston said...

This is cool!