Sunday, February 1, 2009

Idiopathic Toe Walking and the Shriners

Sam and I just got home from another trip to Minneapolis to visit the Shriners Hospital. My son has idiopathic toe walking, which simply means Sam walks on his toes. His orthopedic specialist prescribed serial casting (articles on serial casting are coming soon!), which involved six weeks of casts and traveling back to Minneapolis every other week to get them changed. But now, Sam is out of the casts and into AFO braces (again, articles are coming soon!).

I am so glad he is out of his casts! What a pain in the butt those casts were. Not only were they stinky, Sam was downright lethal with those casts. He killed several toys by stepping on them, much to Kiki's dismay. She learned very quickly to keep her toys up off the floor!

Sam's treatment would not have been possible if not for the Shriners. The Shriners pay for everything, including the transportation (in our case, Amtrak) to get to the hospital and back. Any medical devices (such as wheelchairs, braces, etc.) are paid for by the Shriners as well. The doctors there are the best and the whole atmosphere is geared toward making children comfortable. I'm so thankful for the Shriners. They truly are blessed people.

Because Sam's idiopathic toe walking and the Shriners (and even Amtrak travel!) have become such an integral part of our lives, I've written several articles on the subject:

Idiopathic Toe Walking: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments
Do you have a child older than three who constantly walks on her tippy toes? Does your child bounce when he walks and runs? Is she unable to press her heel to the floor? These are all signs of idiopathic toe walking.
Click here for more...

Children with Disabilities: How to Deal with Teasing in School
If your child has a disability, he will encounter teasing in school. These are some steps to take to curb the amount of teasing your disabled child will have to endure.
Click here for more...

Shriners Hospitals for Children: Frequently Asked Questions
As my son was a recent patient at Shriners Hospital, I've been asked several questions in regard to the care at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Click here for more...

Who Are the Shriners?
Okay, Shriners drive little red cars in the parade and wear funny hats. But what are the Shriners really about?
Click here for more...

Amtrak Train Travel: 10 Essentials to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag
There are ten essential things to pack in your carry-on bag while traveling Amtrak. Read on to discover what's in my bag...
Click here for more...

I have several more articles on the subject of train travel and more specific articles on serial casting as a treatment for idiopathic toe walking coming up. I'm also planning on writing a couple about AFO (ankle-foot orthotic) braces. I will post those articles when they are published. Thank goodness for Associated Content ~ I'm so happy to be able to share what I know and help others who may be going through this same thing.

I don't often request anything from my readers, but this time it's that important to me to break my own rule. During our last trip to Shriners Hospital, Sam saw a neurologist. After asking us several questions, the neurologist determined that since Sam's father also toe walks, it was important to him to be able to evaluate him to avoid having to run several tests on Sam. After discussing this with my ex (who, by the way, lives 1600 miles away), he learned he has a neuro-muscular disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy Type 2 that runs in his family. His aunt has it and so did her mother. It's similar to muscular dystrophy ~ MD attacks the muscles, and CMT attacks the nerves that control the muscles. While CMT can't be diagnosed until late childhood/early adulthood, I have a sinking feeling that this is why the neurologist wants to evaluate and diagnose my ex-husband. Please keep Sam in your thoughts and prayers. Send him positive vibes. Whatever your faith is, remember Sam. Please.

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