Updates

Life has changed a lot since I used to post! We moved to Houston, then back to Colorado, where we hope to stay. Health was the overriding factor in moving back, but it sure is great to be back! We really missed the mountains and the snow and our church. We’re not actually living in the mountains this time, but we’re near the foothills and have some pretty views. We got plenty of snow after moving at the end of February, and the boys loved it! I was pretty happy to see it again too. Christopher and Luke got to have their first snowball fight:

Luke got his second brace a year ago, then in November, his spine was still straight, so he got to take a break from the brace. We had another checkup a couple of weeks ago, and his spine looks perfect! The doctor said Luke is essentially cured now, and is no more or less likely to scoliosis than any other person. We don’t even have to go back for more x-rays unless there’s a concern from us or the pediatrician. So no more brace!

Luke turned 3 Sunday! We had a birthday party at a park with a nice playground. Luke loves bears, so I made him a chocolate bear cake. This Sharffenberger recipe makes amazing chocolate cake! Sharffenberger cocoa powder is a huge step up from any other cocoa powder I’ve had. I want to try making brownies with it.

A picture from Luke’s party:

birthday cake

 

I’m on WordPress.com right now, but I’m going to be moving back to a domain soon, and redesigning things. Pictures on old posts don’t currently work, but I’ll be fixing that when I get the domain up and running again.

Pumpkin Patch

Monday, I took the boys to a pumpkin patch. Christopher had a blast! The weather ended up being pretty cold and windy, so Luke stayed bundled up in the stroller. Christopher didn’t mind the weather, though! First we went to the petting zoo there. They had a couple of goats, a turkey, roosters, and alpacas. Christopher was so excited, he kept running back and forth, and didn’t know what to do with himself! I told him he could hold his hand out and let the goat smell it. Christopher thought it was really funny and kept yelling, “Tickle! Tickle!” I carried Luke around to see the different animals, and he kept pointing at the goats and saying “dog”. He’s pretty into dogs.

Next, we checked out the pumpkins. Christopher has really liked pumpkins lately, and gets excited whenever we see pumpkin decorations somewhere. So the pumpkin patch was perfect for him!

pumpkin patch | Adventures with the Nortons

pumpkin patch | Adventures with the Nortons

pumpkin patch | Adventures with the Nortons

pumpkin patch | Adventures with the Nortons

He helped me pick out our pie pumpkins. He also picked out some smaller gourds, which are going into the sensory bin later!

pumpkin patch | Adventures with the Nortons

pumpkin patch | Adventures with the Nortons

No more cast!

Wednesday, Luke got his cast cut off and his removable brace put on!

no more cast

no more cast

He enjoyed riding in the wagon at the hospital.

no more cast

After we got home, I got some pictures of the brace.

no more castno more cast

It ended up being a little too tight around his stomach, and was giving him stomachaches. So I took him back yesterday and they cut a bit more off and loosened it up around the waist. It seems great now! It’s so nice having in the brace instead of the cast. The brace is a lot trimmer and lighter, and I love being able to take it off him sometimes. He wasn’t too happy about taking a bath, though. He didn’t know what to think about being stuck in a bunch of water! It’s been so long since he’s been able to have a full bath, I’m sure he doesn’t remember it.

Overall, he’s responding really well to the change. They had warned me that it could take a while for him to be steady with the brace off, since his upper body wasn’t used to supporting him. But he hasn’t had any problem with it, and is just as active either way! He’s pretty excited about learning to walk, and loves going short distances on his own. This change hasn’t slowed him down at all!

Cast #3!

Friday, July 19, Luke got his third cast. He also turned 15 months. Things went great while we were there. He woke up quickly from the anesthesia, ate well, and was ready to go home soon after. We picked up Christopher from the house of some friends, and headed home.

Luke slept badly that night, tossing and turning a lot, and he seemed to be having stomach pain. The next day, his reflux got bad, and he just couldn’t get comfortable. After a few days of stomach problems and him barely sleeping, I realized the band across his stomach felt tighter than on the previous casts. I took him back in to Children’s Hospital, and they loosened up the cast around his stomach. Thankfully it was just a quick 5-minutes fix. The stomach problems went away and he’s been doing great since then! The x-ray results from cast #3 look wonderful. His spine is so much straighter, with the degree of curve still below 10.

The next step is to have him molded for a brace. They’ll put a cast on him, then cut it off to use as a mold. Then they’ll put him in another cast that he’ll wear for a few weeks while the brace is made. The tentative date for that casting is September 10. So hopefully less than 2 more months of casts! There are a couple of major benefits to moving to a brace. #1) We can take it off for a bit each day so he can play, bathe, etc. #2) Less stink! We’ll be able to switch out and wash the shirt that goes underneath, as well as give Luke full baths again, so he won’t have to smell like sweaty feet anymore. With the summer heat, he gets sweaty, and the cast gets pretty smelly. The shirt underneath is supposed to help with that, so hopefully being able to wash and change the shirt with the brace will make a difference.

In other news, we’re fixing our house up to sell so we can move closer to work, church, and friends. As much as we love it up where we are, the strain of being so far from everything is costing us more than it’s worth at this point in life. I’m really looking forward to being closer in to town, as well as not having a fixer-upper house anymore! The house is a lot more work than it appeared originally. We’re looking into getting an apartment for a while, which will be a nice break from having to fix things ourselves. I will really miss all the wildlife though!

Next Cast

I scheduled Luke’s next cast for July 19. He’ll be in that cast for two months, then, assuming everything still looks good, they’ll mold him for a brace. They will put him in another cast for a month while his brace is being made, then we’ll go back to have the brace put on in October. I’m looking forward to having him in the brace instead of a cast! The brace will be removable, so we can take it off for a little while each day to bathe him or let him play in the water, or just enjoy a bit of time without the awkwardness of it.

Cast cleanup

In which I talk about the effects of poop and puke on a cast. Consider yourself warned.

The casts for progressive infantile scoliosis have moleskin around the edges for padding, then duct tape to hold it in place and provide some protection for the cast. Here you can see the orange cast (his first), the blue tape, and the moleskin:

A few weeks before getting Luke’s second cast, he had a dirty diaper go up the back of the cast. I took him in to have it checked out, and the options were to have the cast technicians clean it out, or take the cast off until he could get a new one a couple of weeks later. Thankfully they were able to clean it well enough and didn’t have to remove it.

Then last night, three days into Luke’s second cast, I had to almost completely change out the duct tape and moleskin. Not fun. Thursday, he had thrown up on me, and got some on himself. I looked him over, and while it got his clothes, his cast and silver shirt underneath looked fine. Last night, he had a poopy diaper that got the silver shirt and a bit of the moleskin. I pulled off some of the duct tape to get to the moleskin, and the sticky side of the tape was soaked. I kept pulling, and pretty much the whole back was like that. Most of the moleskin underneath the tape was wet, and one of the front edges of the cast itself, the plaster stuff inside, felt fairly wet. I re-applied moleskin to most of the edges and taped it down, and left the wet areas open to dry. They seem fine today, which is encouraging, and I’m going to talk to a spine nurse next week to make sure they’re not concerned. Hopefully everything will be fine and we won’t have to have his cast replaced already. The current plan is to keep him in this cast for two months, do another two month cast, then have him fitted for a year-long removable brace.