Footprints 4 Brayden

Categories: Inspiration, Overcoming
Date: 23 Dec 2014 10:40

Original Post: October 18, 2013

"Brayden was born with a congenital short femur. We were told during pregnancy by doctors that he may never walk and would likely need amputation and that he would be super smart because he would be inside reading when other children would be outside playing sports. We continued searching for a surgeon who specialized in limb deficiencies and found Dr. Shawn Standard in Baltimore, MD. He assured us when Brayden was just 6 weeks old and visiting him for the first time that Brayden would walk and run and would adapt to his own way of getting around."

Brayden’s left femur grows at a 1/3 of the rate slower than his right. When Brayden was born his left leg was 1 inch shorter than his right. By age two his left leg was two and a half inches shorter and he showed signs of imperfections in his hip, knee and ankle that will also need attention down the road. Brayden crawled on his hands and feet instead of his knees and he walked by 15 months. Brayden endured his first of three rounds of limb lengthening this year at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics in Baltimore, MD. During our three month stay we met patients from all over the world coming to see the doctors there for similar conditions.
Last summer my husband and I attended a Tough Mudder in which the Bombsuit Mudder team had “Say I Won’t” T-shirts. I read the creed and I thought wow, I couldn’t imagine a more fitting person to overcome obstacles than Brayden. Brayden’s first round of limb lengthening (a procedure where they break the bone and separate it a millimeter a day) consisted of an external fixator on his leg. It was a heavy contraption that became part of his body for more than 5 months. He lugged his fixator around like it was nothing after the first month or so. He went through rigorous physical therapy during this time and pushed through the pain to be able to get up and go the way he wanted. Brayden lost much of his range of motion during this time and was no longer able to bend his knee past 45 degrees. Once he was casted, Brayden got up ten minutes after surgery and wanted to walk on it. He was determined to get up and go just as he had adapted to do with his fixator. Brayden ran, swam, went to the beach, rode horses, played baseball – all with his fixator or cast on. Brayden was a walking testimony to what courage and determination could accomplish and all who saw him do these things were in awe.

Now Brayden moves with a skip in his step. In September he regained about 95% of his range of motion back and can bend his leg without issue. His lift shoe only has about an inch on it at this time. He uses a brace to keep his ankle stable and to keep him from rolling out but runs like the wind blows and unless you saw the scars on his leg (he has named his “shark bite”) you may not know there was anything different about him.

Brayden has a long road ahead of him. He will need two more rounds of lengthening and likely a knee reconstruction and a touch up to his ankle but we are confident in his journey. Brayden will end up with two even legs and a great story to tell when he reaches maturity - about seventeen years of age. 

My word to describe Brayden if I had to only pick one is inspiring. At only three years old he has shown me so much about life and myself – patience, understanding, kindness – he has taught me to slow down and enjoy life and prioritize the things that really matter to us. He makes me want to be a better person and I can’t think of a more inspiring being to carry the honor of wearing a SayiWont t-shirt.

October 19 we will be participating in a Save-a-Limb Family Walk and proudly wearing our SayiWont shirts with our team name, “Footprints for Brayden”. We raise money with this walk for the Save-a-Limb fund so that others without insurance or without adequate coverage have a chance at being able to save their limbs from amputation when otherwise doctors who don’t specialize in these conditions might do so. Footprints for Brayden is a blog that was started the week we found out about Brayden’s leg at 18 weeks pregnant. The blog has followed Brayden’s journey from before day 1 to help other families going through the same thing find help and hope. You can read more about Brayden’s journey here at http://opsoulone.blogspot.com/."

Link to Save-a-Limb:
http://savealimbride.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1063930&lis=1&kntae1063930=C10AF3C1D9C0466ABC7AC11CBA139133&supId=382815646

Link to Dr. Standard:
http://www.lifebridgehealth.org/RIAO/AboutDrShawnCStandard.aspx

 

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