Micah’s Journey with Craniosynostosis: Surgery May Be Avoided!
Today was a big day for us… We had an appointment with Micah’s surgeon, Dr. Kelly at Vanderbilt. We weren’t supposed to meet with him again until after Micah’s CT scan on January 3rd, but since we’ve seen such a huge improvement in Micah’s head shape over the past 8 weeks, we felt it was wise to meet with Dr. Kelly again before proceeding with the scan and surgery. If you want to read Micah’s story from the beginning, check out my previous post. A little background so you that those reading this will understand the gravity of the great news we heard today: Sagittal Craniosynostosis ALWAYS requires surgery to correct… at least what you’ll read on any reputable website telling about the condition. It’s just the standard, accepted method of making sure that a child with it will grow normally and without complication.
Chiropractic for Craniosynostosis? Really?
Enter my in-laws. They are dedicated and immensely knowledgeable chiropractors who just happen to love Micah very much. As soon as they learned of his condition, they began researching to see if there was anything they could do to help our little guy, and they found two rather obscure case studies on children with Craniosynostosis who had been helped with chiropractic (buried beneath all of the negative things people have to say about the alternative methods chiropractors use, mind you). Now, I tend to lean toward the natural more than the average person, and I’ve seen a chiropractor since I was 13 months old (when my colic was cured by one), but when Nate’s parents approached us about trying to avoid surgery by doing gentle maneuvers on Micah’s skull, I reacted internally like a mama bear. My thoughts were that we are NOT going against the grain on this! If he needs surgery to correct his skull, he’s going to get it! He’s my son! I realize now that this reaction was hormonally driven. I’d just gone through nearly a day of being in labor and then faced with this news that Micah needed medical attention, and I wasn’t in a good place to receive it. When I found out that the maneuvers were gentle and couldn’t possibly hurt him, I thought, well… at least it may be able to give his little brain a little more space to move around in the interim before surgery. So, with that, they began treating him three times a week for 10-30 minutes per session. We saw measurable results after the FIRST treatment.
Tomorrow, Micah will be 2 months old. His head has rounded out and grown in width and overall circumference, but hasn’t increased in length from front to back, though that’s the direction sagittal kids grow because it’s the only way they can! His temple area has widened and his forehead, which was quite bulbous early on, has diminished significantly, and the back occipital region looks remarkably better! Also, the visible ridge of “fusion” went from 13 cm down to 7 cm in length, while diminishing in height as well.
Meeting with Micah’s Surgeon
All of these changes were quite noticeable among those who have seen him since Day 1. Still, I didn’t expect Micah’s surgeon to be as encouraged. After all, he does surgeries for a living: 4 or 5 a week just for cranio kids, and he stands to make thousands if not tens of thousands on each case he takes. The medical community as a whole is typically at odds, or at least very skeptical, of chiropractors. I figured that Dr. Kelly would have a hard time assessing this out of the ordinary situation without bias, but he didn’t. We went in and respectfully asked for his take on Micah’s progress and wanted to know what it could mean for his prognosis and treatment. He shocked us when he said that his head was showing a widening that would not be possible should his whole sagittal suture be fused, as he had previously predicted with 99% certainty when Micah was 2 weeks old. He used the words “optimistic” and “encouraged” that surgery may be able to be avoided! The only way to know exactly what’s happening with Micah’s little head is to get the CT scan that’s scheduled for this Thursday. We are excited to get some certainty one way or another. If there is indeed fusion – partial or full – the only question remaining is when we schedule his surgery (between now and 4 months from now). If there is no fusion, and the bones are simply overlapping or butting up against each other, then we’ll continue with chiropractic and surgery is completely off the table! A LOT of friends and family have been praying for Micah since the beginning and we have no doubt that God’s hand is on our son.
I’ll continue updating my blog on Micah’s progress. It will be Monday, January 7th before we have anything to report on the CT scan results, but for now, if you’re praying, please pray that I can get Micah to sleep with nursing and rocking for his scan rather than them having to use a sedative. This is very easy at home, so I’m not concerned that it will be a problem on Thursday. If they have to sedate him, they may also want to keep him overnight for observation.
Does Your Child Have Craniosynostosis?
I realize that some of you will have come across this post as you search for information for your own child with craniosynostosis. If you live in or near the Nashville, TN area and would like to talk to Roger, my father-in-law, about treatments for your child, you may visit his website or contact him by phone at 931.424-3331.
If you’d like to see more photos of Micah’s head from different angles, just email me and I’ll be happy to send them. There are too many to post. In the meantime, enjoy this one from last week at Christmas. I just love it!