Friday, August 8, 2014

Toe to finger transfer update

Zeke's cast has been off his hand for just a bit over two weeks.  The swelling has gone down some on his new finger but it is still puffy and tight.  The doctor advised that it would take about 3 months for the finger to become a fully functional appendage.  It will also take a while for the nerves to rebuild their networks so this new finger may not feel hot or cold or pain for awhile.  Zeke will get some occupational therapy once school starts back next week including some fine motor practice and some sensory work which will hopefully jump start those nerves.  I had someone asked me if I was happy with the surgery.  To be honest, I really don't have an answer for that yet.  A successful surgery for us would be one where Zeke gains increased functionality in his hand.  It is just too early to tell if that has happened.  I do know that my initial thoughts were a bit of uneasiness and doubt.  I suppose there really isn't any manual for surgeries such as these and that's pretty normal, to find yourself surprised by a few things and a bit unsure.  His hand was pretty gnarly looking once the cast was off with a lot of scarring and swelling.  This will reduce over time but it still was a bit disappointing.  I'm not really sure what I expected; did I seriously think he would just have this wonderful new finger, that looked like it had always been there?  I am very glad that Zeke wasn't disappointed.  He didn't miss a beat and was very interested in what it looked like and where the skin on his leg went during the skin graft.  The other thing I don't think I had thought about was how evident Zeke's finger differences now are.  I think before his hands were so small that people often didn't notice that he was missing most of his fingers until they gave him a good hard look.  Obviously, the swollen and scarred up finger does stick out a bit like a sore thumb-eh um-finger.  But even once all of that is gone, Zeke's hand is forever changed and will look a bit more "foreign" than the hand he was born with.  It will be much more obvious that he is missing fingers because this third finger sticks out a bit more.  Those two things are not major issues in the grand scheme of things; there just things I hadn't really thought through until post surgery.  And in some weird ways, I kind of miss his pre surgery hand.  I knew others in the limb difference communities had said that about their children and surgery but I wasn't sure that I would feel that way, especially since he is not my biological child which I think does make a difference in the psychological part of parenting a child with a visible difference.  But I do miss his little hand a bit.  I can't really explain it well; it's just kind of one of those things where I look at his new hand and am a bit sentimental about how his old hand looked.
Right after the cast coming off-the pins are still in.
You can see how much swelling there is between his half a pointer finger and the new third finger.

Another shot from right away.

This was taken on Thursday, the 7th.  There is a lot less swelling between the pointer and the third finger now.  It's still pretty swollen.  He really can't make the third finger and the thumb touch easily.

More from Thursday the 7th.  With the swelling starting to go down, it is becoming more of a "y" shape.
I didn't anticipate that.  I'm not sure if that will change over time or if that is how is hand will end up looking.

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