Julie Lyles Carr: So How Goes That Botox?

Monday, April 5, 2010

So How Goes That Botox?

It's been a couple of weeks now.

14 days since 7 of 8 received her first therapeutic Botox treatment in her left arm.

It is a little odd to tell folks that your two-year-old is doing Botox.

To recap, 7 of 8 experienced an ischemic stroke at some point pre-birth. We didn't realize this had happened until we became concerned about what I termed her 'lopsided soldier crawl', an atypical crawling pattern in which she pulled herself along the floor via her right arm, keeping her left arm slightly tucked up under her body.

She's been in weekly occupational and physical therapy for two years now and is doing well.

But the muscles in her weak left arm play tug-of-war with her, some muscles rigid and forever flexed, others overpowered and weak.

Hence the Botox.

Botox paralyzes muscles that are over-achievers. People often mistakenly think that Botox tightens muscles, skinning back facial wrinkles. But it's actually the opposite. Botox keeps muscles from contraction. That's why it works on the pesky forehead wrinkles--you can't make your frowny face with a brow full of Botox.

And it also works for stroke patients.

Because I am a front row seat observer to 7 of 8's progress, it can often be a little tough for me to discern where I'm seeing improvement and where I'm not. Because I want to see improvement so strongly, I often second-guess myself, not wanting to get my hopes up, thinking I'm overly zealous in my assessments.

That's where friends are handy.

My precious neighbor and running buddy JT tells me she sees great improvement in the way 7 of 8 is holding her arm. JT thinks she looks more relaxed and is holding the arm in a more 'normal' position. I definitely notice that her wrist looks more neutral and her fingers open with greater ease. 7 of 8's therapists are very pleased with what they are seeing.

And 7 of 8 seems pretty delighted herself.

She laces the fingers of her hands together, looking at her clasped hands in wonder. She feels the palm of her left hand, tracing the little lines with her finger. She reaches, then seems a bit stunned that she can do it.

It's like her arm is waking up.

And 7 of 8 is waking to the possibilities of using it more.

Which makes me a fan of Botox.

Even in a toddler.

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