Yup, this past week Madeleine turned 15 months old. Her 15 month photo is to the right.
Since I posted last about anything medical, we’ve had several doctor’s appointments. We got a phone call about her MRI results. This MRI will basically be the baseline after her tumor resection, but the final results were that it looks good! No growth that they could measure, since they hadn’t done one since the resection.
Then we had physical therapy. This was a great appointment. She has again shown vast improvement since her last visit. Her physical therapist decided that at this point we can continue with the monthly visits. She said that she is still a little bit unsteady sitting – as she uses one arm held out to the side to help maintain her balance. Her physical therapist gave her a 6″ ball that’s much the same as a beach ball, but far smaller. She loves and adores this ball! It’s purpose is to keep both hands busy so she has to focus more on keeping her balance and strengthening her core muscles. Her physical therapist said that in the next month we can expect her to get better at pulling up and figuring out how to get down once she has pulled up. She’s already got that figured out! Now she is pulling up on more and more things!
The next appointment was with Neurology. We met with Dr. Ong. This visit wasn’t necessary, because she has made such miraculous progress, but I wanted him to see her. This is the same Neurologist that our pediatrician’s office spoke to the day I took Madeleine in for her lack of movement. He is the same Neurologist that said to get to the Seattle Children’s ER immediately. He is the same one that came down to our room at the ER and examined her, explained why we’d need an MRI and did so in such a way that I felt as at ease as a person can in that situation. He followed Madeleine’s case through the computer updates from Hem-Onc for 2 months before we saw him again, and he saw the referral to Neurology from Hem-Onc and asked the scheduler to put us on his schedule. He has been incredible. So I wanted him to see M because the last time we saw him, he did some reflex tests and said he thought she’d get her legs back. His attending disagreed and I left that appointment devastated. I wanted to see him to tell him “you were right!! Look at her now!!” So I did. He was so glad to see her and he did a brief examination and just observed how well she’s moving. He was ecstatic and I knew he’d share in our joy. Nothing to report from that visit, but he said he’d keep following her MRI’s to see how she does and encouraged me to call him if I have any questions or concerns.
And finally, we had her 15 month check-up with her pediatrician here in Redmond. She is currently 29 1/2 inches long and 21 lbs 13 oz! That means she is in the 25-50% for both height and weight and is now proportionate again after the ridiculous weight gain from the steroids. Her head circumference is in the 50th percentile as well, so he was very happy with how well she’s growing.
In terms of eating, he was ecstatic that she eats most everything we eat. He was thrilled that we don’t make exceptions for her and if she won’t eat what we’re eating, she just doesn’t eat. (Which, once she realizes she’s not getting anything different, she will typically start eating after a few minutes…you just have to be more stubborn than her!) He said that at this age is when eating problems start to really become a problem and that we’re approaching it correctly by handling it the way we do.
He said she’s on track with her speech, and again, is not behind! I am so proud of her. She’s doing so great, and I’ll expand on that further later.
Dr. George was very happy to see how well she’s moving. She was climbing all over the exam table and pulling up on me and he really got to see her move. 🙂 We discussed her sleeping issues and he said that my going in there is only reinforcing it, so I have to let her CIO throughout the whole night. ***sigh*** This is just *so* hard at 3-4-5 in the morning when Alex and I are both so tired. We’re working on it though.
What else has happened this month?
- Madeleine’s hair is really growing in now. 🙂 She has a definite hair line and it’s soft and fuzzy! We also have noticed that her cowlicks are very similar to her Uncle Erik’s, which is cute. At this point, I can’t tell if the chemo has changed her hair color for sure or not. We’ll have to see as time goes on.
- In terms of movement, Madeleine is all over this house! It is quite exciting to watch. She crawls so quickly now and is pulling up on the couch, constantly. She even pulled up to standing on the DVD shelves this past week! We are working on consistently moving forward and helping her with her next tasks to master as given to us at PT and it’s amazing to watch how quickly she is learning and strengthening her muscles. Her hips are still a bit weak, which you can see when she tries to walk using your fingers. Her hips wobble back and forth, but the more we practice, the better she’ll get! 😉
- Madeleine got her booster flu shot at her 15 month check-up this week. She had a mild fever and seemed a little under the weather yesterday from it, but didn’t cry when they gave it to her! If nothing else, at least she’s not bothered by getting poked after all of her cancer stuff.
- Madeleine celebrated her 2nd Christmas and received so many great things from family and friends. She now has a great stash of toys and books that she rotates through on a daily basis.
- Madeleine also got to spend quite a bit of quality time with her Uncle Erik while he was in town over the holidays. His girlfriend, B, had to spend some time working while he was here, so he came over to our house for several days to visit with us. 🙂
- At night we have weaned Madeleine from her binky. She was accidentally throwing it through the crib rails at night which would result in her waking up screaming. It was only a few nights of extreme protesting, but now she goes to bed calmly. One aid in this was the introduction of stuffed animals for her to snuggle with. Her favorite that she is super attached to at this point is the baby Elmo that she received for Christmas. She looks forward to snuggling with Elmo at bed and at nap time and looks for him immediately upon laying her head on the mattress.
- We have a new game with Miss M. She has learned how to play catch with her ball from the PT’s office. 😀 She adores that thing and absolutely loves to play catch with us. I taught her this game one day just on a whim and she picked it up so fast! She’s a very quick learner.
- What words do we have now? Well, we for sure have momma, dadda, mommy, daddy, mom, dad, hi, yeah, up, blue (bru), more (in sign language), milk (in sign language), all done (in sign language), and finally, det-dee (kitty). You’ll notice that baby is no longer on the list. She was saying it constantly for a while and now doesn’t say it anymore? Strange. When I mentioned this to Dr. George, he asked some further questions and was not concerned, given my answers to those questions. She’s been saying det-dee for a little while now, but I thought she was just babbling. It turns out, this actually means Kitty. I figured that out today when we went to the pet store to get more cat food and she saw the cat on the bag, pointed and repeated “det-dee” over and over and over again. 😀 She has said more words than this, but only through repetition. These are the words she says without prompting.
- What other vocalizations is she doing? She will imitate a growl if I tell her that tigers go “grrrrrowwwll” or that bears do. 🙂 She’ll also make a most adorable raspberry noise if I say “do kitties say ((insert purr noise here))”. We’re working on other animal noises, too. In fact, today I asked her what animal says “neigh” and she said “dada!” Bwahaha! He does play a horsey game with her, so this isn’t too far from left field. She also makes the airplane flying sound or car vrooming sound when we play with her duplos.
- She understands a ton and is imitating so much. We have to be careful what we say around her now! But it is fun to get her reactions to things. It’s also fun to teach her new games and have her remember them the next day if I try to play it again.
- As I said about feeding earlier, she is eating everything. From chicken curry to spinach and artichoke heart lasagna to ravioli and grilled cheese! She eats a wide variety of vegetables as well. Peas, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and carrots are the main ones. We’re working on expanding her fruit consumption, but she’s not a fan of the textures.
- A big note on the beverage front is her willingness to drink cow’s milk! YAY! She adores it now and makes the milk sign during her meals whenever she wants another sip or two or three. She drinks so much, in fact, that often times she doesn’t want to nurse. So we’re changing up the nursing schedule a bit to keep getting those antibodies to her until we can get her caught up on her immunizations. She also has water to drink, as she did before.
- I am also working with Madeleine on using utensils for eating. Most recently we’ve been working on using a fork! Most of the time she simply pulls whatever food off the fork and uses her fingers to put it in her mouth, but she has moved past the flinging of the utensil onto the floor so we’ve made progress!
- I believe that M’s naps are now cutting back to one nap a day. Even if she wakes up early and I think I can sneak in an early nap and an afternoon nap so she makes it through the day, she’ll instead just take a far longer morning nap, which makes it hard to sneak in an afternoon nap. This has just started happening in the last week, so I am trying to figure out just what timing works for her for one nap where she can still make it through the rest of the evening.
I think those are all of the major things that have happened this month. It’s been much more laid back now that the holidays are over and Madeleine’s been able to keep a pretty consistent routine. I have been getting some work done for a friend during M’s naps and at night, which is great. I am also now making some time to continue with the business plan for the non-profit, so stay tuned for more information to come.
And now, for the best part, the pictures!!
Happy 15 months, baby girl!