Tali is growing by leaps and bounds. Her hair is long enough now for Audrey to "finally" put a ponytail in--no matter how small it may be. When I see Tali's smile, it melts me pretty much every time.
Talitha is on a maintenance program that calls for blood work, MRI's, and Spinal Taps/Lumbar Punctures every three months. Thankfully, the February tests were favorable. No tumor, no cancer cells, improving ANC--i.e. her body's ability to fight off infection is improving. The doctor tells us it is definitely cause for celebration EVERY time it comes back clean.
Some days, the biggest challenge is to not take the miracles and blessings for granted. God is so gracious and good. When I stop to count my blessings, it takes my breath away.
Talitha was on a waiting list for the "Now I Can" therapy. The wait is over and she is now doing multiple physical therapy sessions each week. They are very optimistic the walking challenges will be corrected very quickly. We're optimistic too as we can already see some improvements.
One of the things they do with this therapy is tape Tali's legs with some special tape that helps her feel support towards a proper standing and walking stance. She wears this tape 24/7 (in the bath tub and everything). When it falls off, they replace it.
The therapy lasts for two hours each session and involves muscle massage, balance exercises, electrical impulse stimulation, and proper motion simulation/repetition.
Some of these exercises and activities are more tolerable than others. It has been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster for Talitha who is already dealing with being two. She is getting better but Audrey still has to leave the room and watch from behind the one way mirror glass so that Tali does not struggle so hard to be rescued.
The "spider cage" hooks 8 bungee cords to her little belt and provides support while Sergio, her primary therapist, works on her balance, coordination, and muscle development. As this progresses, some of the cords are removed one by one until she is standing on her own. Throughout, Sergio puts pressure or pushes on different areas to encourage an auto response reaction that trains her in stability. Think of it like a level you'd use in construction. Tali is tipped to one side and these exercises are helping bring her "bubble" back to the middle position so she won't walk crooked or lopsided the rest of her life.
We are in awe of all the Lord has inspired and prepared to bless His children and support us through trials of every kind. Talitha is a warrior spirit. She reminds us with her example that God has a plan, we're not alone, and all things are possible through Christ.
P.S. The Now I Can Foundation is a charitable organization that makes it possible for families like ours and so many others to receive life changing therapy for a fraction of what it would otherwise cost. They have their annual 5K run/walk coming up and all proceeds go towards helping children walk again. Here's a link to get more information and/or to participate in this worthwhile event: http://www.nowican.org/runtowalk2011.htm