Saturday, April 23, 2016

Week 4 (final week) Complete

This was a short week, only 4 days due to the Patriot's Day holiday on Monday. It was also school vacation week so Becky was off, and I was scheduled off from work as well. In the end I worked a few hours every day after dropping Ally off and before picking her up, which was fine. Becky spent most of each day doing school work for her class. She completed her final assignment Friday morning and so she is done!

Tuesday morning Ally took this selfie.

Wednesday morning I snapped a couple pictures of her in the back seat as we drove to the clinic. I was stopped at a red light. She was fiddling with her headband. 

Thursday Ally and her friend Isobel began work on their ceiling tile it is a tradition at the clinic that every graduating patient designs and paints a tile for the ceiling. The tile is then placed in the ceiling for future patients to see and be inspired by. 

Their completed tile! "Believing is the secret to success" 

On graduation day the graduates bring in treats to share after the ceremony with the other patients and their parents and the staff. We brought in cupcakes and lollipops. Ally's choice. 

Ally's goals and accomplishments from her final week. 
#6 is Finishing the skit. Ally and her fellow patients wrote and performed a skit, it was a parody of the clinic and staff. Ally actually starred as the patient in the skit. It was hilarious!

We met with all of Ally's therapists and physician before our final family session. We learned about everything Ally had accomplished and received a bunch of reports documenting the improvements she has made. It was really fantastic to see. One of the most impressive things was that when she entered the program on March 28 they timed her climbing a set of stairs. At that time it took her 22 seconds, using both the handrail and two stepping each stair. Yesterday she was clocked at 9 seconds with no railing and single stepping each stair.  She is even stronger than before, and the muscle tone in her affected leg is improving significantly.  

At our final family PT session Ally chose to play Kinect with mama. They did beach volley ball, and Ally jumped on the bosu ball for 10 minutes nonstop! It's like a trampoline. Then they played track and field. The sprint was hilarious! And so was the hurdles. Above they are at "take your mark"

Running in place to simulate the sprint.

I love the expression on Becky's face, and Ally's bouncy hair!

Soon it was time for the graduation ceremony. The staff all speak about each patient briefly, and then speak more fully about each graduate. So Ally heard her doctor, the staff director, her PT, her OT and her psychologist that she worked with for all 4 weeks praise her efforts and wish her well. It was quite touching. She then received a certificate of achievement and a new stress ball.

Then it was time to reveal their tile! 

A group picture! 

During the party I asked Ally and her team for a photo. Her psychologist, Alli is in red, her PT Annie in the middle behind her, and then Megan her OT with the long hair. These 3 women worked tirelessly with Ally each day. The support and encouragement they provided us and Ally was amazing. I am so very grateful to them. We met Megan in January when Ally started getting PT (Ally was not her patient then, but the OT and PT share a gym so we would see her twice a week for months while Ally was working on PT) and then when we started at the clinic it was Megan's first day at the clinic too she had transferred. It was so nice to see a familiar face that first day, and really special to have a therapist who knew Ally when she was at her worst and then now at her best so far in this long journey. 

After graduation, and the celebration we went out for a final time with Isobel and her mom Annabel. It was a great way to end the day, and very nice to be able to say our final goodbye away from the clinic.

These two have a special bond and plan on staying in touch. They text and FaceTime already, and Isobel and her family will be back in Boston in September for a follow up appointment, and we may need to make a trip to London sometime!
There were lots of tears last night. It's hard to say goodbye. 

But this morning it was graduation gift time! Kinect!!!!! 

Ally played as soon as she woke up. In her pajamas, dancing to Dance Party!

Eventually she got dressed and kept on playing. Her PT said it's great therapy for Ally to do things with the Kinect.

Our time at the clinic is complete. Ally has much better functionality, but still has pain. It seems less, but we don't talk about it. Talking about pain only heightens it for Ally. So we all try to ignore it and focus on what Ally can do. On her accomplishments and her success. When Ally says she is hurting and in pain we have lots of coping strategies she can use to distract herself from the pain. It's back to school on Monday and we are so thrilled to get back to our usual routine, no appointments and missed school. Just regular 3rd grade for our fantastic, strong, brave daughter, 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Seattle Day 2: Charlie's Wedding

We spent the morning hanging out at the hotel, watching TV, relaxing, playing some games, swimming at the pool, eating lunch and then getting ready for the wedding.

Ally all dressed up!

All of a sudden as we were driving to the wedding, Becky yells "the Tacoma Narrows bridge"? And made this exact face. I think it's the most excitement I had seen her in in weeks. Apparently it's a hugely famous bridge. When it was built in 1940 it was a engineering failure. It is a suspension bridge and it was nicknamed "galloping gertie" because it moved so much. The cables were incorrectly designed and the bridge collapsed 4 months after it opened. A new bridge was built in 1950 and its twin, in 2007. 

The 3 of us. We looked good!

The bride and groom!

Gwei and Charlie

The view from the porch is gorgeous! 

Gwei and her dog Pacey walked us down to the water.

Kim and Mark with Gwei, other Cambridge friends!

Ally at the beach. Charlie's childhood home has 250 feet of direct beach access. It's gorgeous.

Gwei told Ally if she looked under his rocks she could find tiny crabs! Ally found lots, but wouldn't pick them up. So Becky did.

Beachcomber Ally.

I love this picture!

The view was gorgeous as the sun set. 

Ally did great walking up the rock steps I her wedge heeled shoes. I was impressed.

Chrarlie and Karen with all of their kids and dogs.

Becky and me.

Ally with Eloise, one of the two dogs. 

The mountains were out all day and this was the view for most of our drive back to the hotel

Mount Ranier. Oh how I miss Seattle. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Seattle Day 1

Well actually we aren't really in Seattle and don't have plans to go to Seattle proper. We are staying in a suburb near the airport and drove into to Tacoma this morning to visit the zoo. 

It was a long 6 hour flight from Boston. We arrived in Seattle at 2AM Eastern Time. Ally was pretty wiped. But she walked with her heel down the whole way!

Ally found her second wind by the time we got to our room. Which she loves!

This morning we were at the zoo at 10AM. I forgot how chilly it can be in the Pacific Northwest. We had layers which was good, but Ally was chilly most of the morning.

First up was the aquarium exhibit.

That bright orange thing is a fish, it's a Chameleon Fish, here it looks like coral!

I loved these little fish. We did the touch tank for a while and touched anenomes, starfish, see cucumbers and sea urchins. Lots of fun.

Then it was on to the elephants! Ally loves the elephants.

We took a break and sat in the warm sun and watched them for a while.

On the way to the Penguins we saw lots of things, but the porcupine was the coolest.

Penguins! They are nesting now so pretty quiet, these are Magellenic Penguins.

One of my favorite things is to see walrus. But the walrus enclosure was very smelly, as evidenced by this picture of Ally with the two walruses.

Then the seals.

And underwater view of the, swimming is always cool. 

Puffins and the otters (not pictured).

We took another break at the polar bears. The polar bears were pretty active.
On our way out we stopped at the meerkat exhibit. Ally with her love of Alvin and the Chipmunks loved the cute meerkats. 

She said she was never leaving them. 

Becky took the picture above from inside look back out at Ally who was stationed at a window. Eventually we coaxed her away and promised her a stuffed animal meerkat. She of course also bought a tiny stuffed penguin with her own money as well! When we exited the gift shop, Mt Rainer was viable thru the hazy clouds. Look close below to the left of Ally's head and you can see it. 

Ally did great. She was tired, but managed well. She carried her putty in her hand for distraction for a while, and we took breaks when she wanted. Just like the PPRC says. It worked, she was never in unbearable pain, and when it was time to leave she walked to the car and didn't even come close to tears once all day. Then in the car on the way back to our hotel she conked out. 

Now we are all resting with an iPad. Becky watching a Hunger Games movie, Ally a new mermaid movie and I'm blogging. We are planning on going to the pool later, and maybe I'll go shopping. And having dinner in our room tonight and early to bed. 

Tomorrow is Charlie's wedding!