My daughter was having issues with her legs the moment she began walking. Skyller would trip and fall over her own feet. When she walked it would cause a lot of pain. She would literally drop wherever she was to sit. Her toes and knees were turned inward extremely bad. I put her into dance hoping this would perhaps strengthen her legs. This is where her passion for dance began. Unfortunately, this became very painful for her. She had to stop ballet and was heartbroken. Tap dancing was also painful due to her feet turning in and her shoes constantly hitting the tops of her feet. Skyller was being bullied quite badly in school because of the way she would walk and run. Teachers also did not understand that sitting for long periods was quite uncomfortable. At that point, I had to pull her out and home-school her. This is when our journey began. We had to find answers to help Skyller.
My treatment and recovery
Dr. Schiller said Skyller would need to do a left and right femoral derotation osteotomy. The left side that was worse would be done first. Dr. Schiller was very patient and took the time to explain the procedure to not just to me, but also to Skyller. She was very afraid. At the time she was only 7 years old. As a parent, I was also preparing myself and her for this journey. She visited Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence before surgery. There they explained things, did some kid-friendly activities, and a tour.
The day of surgery was difficult for all of us. she was afraid but knew this was for the best. The surgery took place and I was sent to recovery to be with her. She of course was in some pain. She was not put in a spica cast. She remained in the hospital for about 3-4 days. The most difficult part for Skyller was the pain especially the bedpan. Dr. Schiller cut her femur and turned it out through an incision in the side of her thigh area. Once the femur was cut, he turned them out and placed a plate with screws to hold it in place for healing.
As for home recovery, she had a physical therapist come to the house until she was ready to go to physical therapy outside the home. Mobility was difficult with no weight-bearing. We had a wheel chair, portable bedside toilet and lots of pillows for propping. We stayed on the medication times for the first week. Those included meds for pain, and painful muscle spasms, and ( importantly ) stool softeners to help things go smoothly.
A year after, Sky went in for double surgery, she had hardware taken out, and the same procedure (femoral osteotomy) on her other leg. The recovery was basically the same. She is a tough cookie and was determined to dance again. Recovery was non-weight bearing on the FO side and limited on other until the holes closed from hardware removal. After a year she again went in for hardware removal surgery.
Dr. Schiller was so supportive of her and her goals.
My daughter’s passion was dance. She danced when she hurt. Throughout this journey with her and her doctor’s support, she kept her eye on the prize. She never gave up despite it all. She dances again better than ever. She is on the competition team and is excelling as an honor student in school. She holds her head up high. Her self-esteem has returned. It has also given her a huge heart. She loves to help others. Her goal was to be able to dance for those who may never have the chance to do so. when she goes on stage it’s not just for herself. She now has a goal set to be a surgeon like Dr. Schiller and give kids the opportunity to reach their goals.