Sunday, 21 November 2010

My Son's Surgery

   A year ago now, when he was 5, I mentioned to the Doctor that something wasn't quite right with my son's feet, half expecting him to lecture me on the pros and cons of having the correct fitted footwear. But to my shock he referred us to a specialist at the hospital as he didn't think they were quite right either! The specialist confirmed there was a problem, he had a condition called Pes cavus but informed us that there would be an underlying cause, it's just a matter of finding out what that was. A MRI scan followed to see if he had a spinal tumour or a deformity but he was given the all clear. This has been a very scary time for us all, as you can imagine.


   However, he would need immediate surgery on his feet, due to lack of muscle formation and an overly taut tendon underneath his foot. The high arches in his feet would just continue to get worse, they already seemed to curl right up. After much anguished thought, discussion with Doctors and internet research (which didn't have many answers) the surgery went ahead in the spring. They also took a biopsy from his calf to test for the most common causes of pes cavus.


After three weeks of hobbling around, the casts came off and for the first time we could see the scars left by the surgery. Above is the biopsy, these photographs were taken immediately after the casts were removed, before washing, so the redness on his skin is from the surgery.

left foot

This is the bottom of his feet, above is the left foot and below the right foot, as you can see from the photographs his feet still curl up especially the left one, poor little man has been in a lot of pain too.

right foot

  The Doctors seemed very happy with the results, but advised us that he would need many more surgeries in the future. The biopsy was inconclusive, so we still do not know what has caused this problem, the specialist remains convinced that there is an underlying cause and is talking about the possibility of further tests and electrical testing of the muscles some time when he is older. 

   The last few months have been very stressful, my son has had to get used to walking a slightly different way on his "new" feet and he has had a lot of pain when he over exerts himself. Something the Doctor said troubles me too, he said "make sure he plays football, climbs trees and has fun now..."  is it just his way of saying he is fit to go and live life to the fullest or that he may not be able to do these things in the future...?  It has had me wondering and worrying every day since the operation.

    I just wish we had some idea of what we are facing, not knowing is awful, so I have written this post not only to let you in on our lives but also in the hope that we could connect with other parents who may have already been through or are now going through similar problems, so that we can share experiences as we found so little information on the internet regarding this problem.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my husbands birthday, so I would just like to pause for a second to say Happy Birthday to him, I hope your day is as magical as your presence has made my life. I love you for all time, a true soul mate xx 

a love that even time will lie down and be still for
-quote from the film practical magic

This is the birthday cake I made today, with the childrens help, of course, the leaves are to symbolise his love of nature and gardening. It is filled with the wild plum jam we made from foraged fruit and to top of the evening we had a glass of our own homemade blackberry wine. perfect.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Pond Dipping


   This year we went pond dipping twice, the children love spending time with nature and we have spent a lot of time exploring this as a part of our everyday life this year. The possibilities for learning are endless and so is the fun. We went pond dipping in the Spring and again in the Summer, this post is a little late as we were going to go again in the Autumn, to record any seasonal changes, but time just seems to be flying by and the weather has been really bad. As you can see above my daughter caught herself in the net, by the look of the big smiles this was also fun!

   We chose a spot within walking distance of where we live, which just happens to be a country park, nature reserve and educational centre. This little bridge seemed the perfect spot, so we used the same place for both trips. Don't worry no creatures were harmed and all were returned safely to the place they were found. well, apart from the tiny red worm... which got eaten by the demoiselle larva... but that's just part of a natural life cycle.


   Above are a sample of the water creatures we caught on our Spring pond dip. we didn't catch as much in spring but I have put on a photograph of some of the bigger things, a demoiselle and a true damselfly larva.

    As you can see the summer pond dip caught many more water creatures than the spring one. Still the same sorts of things just many more of them. More larva and definitely more snails. On the summer excursion we also noticed that there were many empty skins of the larva on the bridge, where they had left the water, shed their skins and flew off.

    My son has really been enjoying all the time we have spent in nature this year, it is one of his biggest interests, so we intend to continue with more time spent exploring nature and the natural world around us. He has picked up so much this year, as it is a subject he loves so much, not just about the creatures and their life cycles but also food chains / webs, evolution, environmental science and habitat conservation, plus so much more in between. We intend to start a nature journal in the new year, to record as many things as possible from our area as they change throughout the year. A record to keep forever.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Remains of the Pumpkin

We have finally got through the rest of the pumpkin flesh that was scraped out of the lanterns made for Halloween. I made this spicy pumpkin soup with a difference... as it was a spooky time of year I have added a dumpling to the bowl, to give a hint that it may contain brains... not really!  A small amount of crispy bacon and onion has been added to the top for added flavour (or just onion for vegetarians) It made a very warming dinner.

 We also made pumpkin scones and these were so yummy they were all gone within minutes of coming out of the oven. I used my home made pumpkin puree for these replacing any liquid I used in the scone recipe. It was a bit of an experiment as I hadn't made these before, but it was a very big success... and that was the last we saw of the little Halloween pumpkins... Till next year (insert evil laugh here).