As many of you know, Merritt wore a cast on his entire left leg for the first few months of his life. Practically, this meant that I only actually saw his little leg for a couple hours each week during his cast changes. Well, at one of these cast changes I noticed his left leg seemed to be shorter. After alerting the doctor, Merritt was forced to endure manipulations, stretches, and finally x-rays which confirmed what I had feared most from day one... there is more wrong.
Merritt was diagnosed that day with Fibular Hemimelia. A condition that Merritt's doctor explained, was not my fault. How could it not be my fault? I made this little man... I screwed him up... all of these thoughts whirled through my mind. I know I shouldn't feel that way, but I would be lying if I said that I still didn't believe it to be true.
The doctor explained further that Merritt's leg will always be proportionately shorter than his right leg and that this most likely caused his clubfoot. He went on to say that most of the children born with Merritt's condition have four toes, at the most, and we should feel "lucky" because Merritt has all five. Yeah, that's what I felt... lucky.
Treatment... nothing we could do then. Just wait and see. Wait and see how much of a discrepancy Merritt would have. At that point, the little guy was just too little to properly predict. But, the doctor gave his best guess, which was about 2 inches at skeletal maturity. 2 inches would require one leg lengthening.
But what happens if there is going to be more of a difference? How is a leg lengthened? I needed answers.
As soon as we made it home I started the internet research. I joined blogs and emailed doctors around the country. I actually emailed Dr. Dror Paley at 2:30 am and he called me back at 7:15am that morning!
At the time, Dr. Paley was practicing in Baltimore at the time, but informed me that he was considering moving his practice to Saint Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach.... 45 minutes from our home!!!! Seriously???? YES!!!!! If there was ever a time to thank God... I think I found it.
Long story short, we made an appointment to see the good doctor. More on that later! Now, my time is up and I have to STUDY! (Yup, studying for the Florida Bar and taking it Feb 23 and 24. ahhhh!) :)