Olive’s short and simple response, “Because it helps me walk.”
There you go. End of post.
Ha, just kidding. This is the number one question we get asked. And my guess is, if you are my friend on Facebook you have found yourself asking this question at one time or another. So wonder no more, I will do my best to explain.
But first, for those who know us, I want to apologize for not addressing it sooner. My days have been full of highs and lows up to this point. There have been several tears and just as many celebrations. In the beginning, I was still trying to reconcile my expectations with reality. I was having trouble comprehending what it meant for Olive and our family, let alone put it into words. Then slowly, our way of life became our normal. Olive wearing braces and using her walker was just as natural as waking up and getting dressed. We found ourselves forgetting that there are those in our lives who do not see Olive as frequently and that our normal might leave others with questions. I apologize and I thank you for being respectful and kind towards our family.
I also want to let people know it is okay to ask questions. In fact, I prefer it and my guess is that others do as well. So, let’s jump into it. The reason for this post.
Question: Why does Olive use a walker?
Answer: Olive has gross motor delays; she has been delayed in large muscle movements like crawling, walking, jumping, etc.
Next question you are probably asking yourself: Why does Olive have delays?
Answer: We don’t know why.
I know that is probably not what you were expecting. Trust me, it is equally as dissatisfying for Danny and I. Olive was referred to a Rehabilitation specialist when she was around one year old. The physical therapist she was seeing for Torticollis had noticed that her leg muscles were tight and her left arm and leg appeared to be more affected than her right. Our specialist’s first thought was a minor case of Cerebral Palsy. Olive has had two MRI’s, both have come back clear ruling out Cerebral Palsy. Next, genetic counseling and testing were done; my family has a history of Heredity Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and they wanted to check to see if that might be causing the delays. After the second round of testing, they found that Olive is a carrier for HSP. As a carrier, she should not be showing symptoms. We continue to visit Olive’s specialist every six months to try to determine the cause.
While the cause is not clear, one thing is: Olive continues to progress and has not gotten worse. I am in awe of our little girl. She is a hard worker, happy and does not let her differences effect her. As of the last few months she has began walking without the use of her walker and braces. However, you will see her continue to utilize them both to help her gain a posture that won’t cause complications to her body in the future.
I know this post might have left you with more questions than answers. I know some of you might have suggestions for our family. Please leave me a reply. I would love to have a discussion about this topic. I think many are curious or maybe experiencing similar circumstances.