Posted by: Tricia | January 6, 2011

The Graduate

After 9 weeks of treatment with the DOC band, Jude officially graduated from the Cranial Tech program on December 6th!  Hip, hip, hooray!  We were more than happy to say “goodbye” to the helmet, and we are very pleased with the way his head looks.  Things are starting to slow down for us a bit now that the holidays have passed and I still intend to finish compiling the weekly photo comparisons.  The results are amazing!

Jude wearing his band for the last time!

On our last visit to the clinic the therapists repeated the DSI images so that we could document his progress.

It was so neat to see how much his head shape has improved!  The images on the left are from before treatment was started and the images on the right are at his exit appointment.

Jude has been curious about the helmet from day one, but there was no way that I would ever let him get his hands on such an expensive piece of equipment before we were done with it.  I figured it was only fair to let him play with it now that he doesn’t need it anymore!

The other souvenir we were sent home with was this incredibly heavy head mold on a stick.  Nice, huh?  It’s what the therapists used to gauge his progress at each visit.  It’s also really easy to see how much his head shaped changed by putting the helmet on the head mold.  This work of art is the proud new owner of it’s very own DOC band and, for now, it resides in Jude’s closet.  They are keepsakes for sure.

At first the weekly hour-long drive to Dallas seemed like a daunting task.  I felt guilty about dragging Elliott along for the ride.  However, we really got into a groove with the routine and we were able to make our Monday trips to the Big D fun!  Elliott doesn’t usually watch movies in the car, but as a special treat, I decided to let him pick a movie to watch on the way to Dallas each time we went.  He loved this and it he actually looked forward to our trips.  His naps suffered a bit, but I could usually talk him into taking a short one in the car on the way home because he knew he wouldn’t have to take one when he got home.

We met up with our good friends, the Carmans, a few times for lunch and playing at a nearby park.  Could these two be any cuter together?

We also met up with our good friends, the Parkers.  Their church, Watermark, is just around the corner from Cranial Tech.  We ate lunch by their awesome pond and played at the playground afterward.

Side note:  Stacey and I met in the 6th grade and she is still one of my closest friends.  We used to stay up late talking and dreaming about living next door to one another and imagining that our kids would be the best of friends, too.  Of course our lives haven’t turned out exactly as we planned. We are more than an hour’s drive away from each other, making it impossible for us to be neighbors or for our kids to be the best of friends.  But, I still get so sentimental when I see these two boys playing together and having a good time!

One day we met an old friend of mine from nursing school and her little boy at the Galleria for lunch and playtime, but I forgot to bring my camera.  And, a few times we didn’t have plans to meet anyone so with the help of my iphone we were able to find a place to grab lunch and picnic at a nearby park.

We also finally had a reason to visit this totally awesome McDonald’s near the Galleria!

The time that Jude spent in his DOC band did seem to drag on.  Of course we were anxious to be through with it.  But, looking back on the whole experience it doesn’t really seem like it was that long.  Interestingly enough, we never had to wait long in the waiting room to be seen.  If only all doctors’ offices could be so efficient, right?  It wasn’t until Jude’s last visit that our wait was longer and I got to chit chat with some other parents about their experiences.  One baby in the waiting room, a 10-month-old with a congenital heart defect, had just finished 4 months of treatment in his first helmet and was going to receive his second band that day.  He had spent a lot of time on his back in the hospital recovering from heart surgery and it caused his head to become really flat.  Another mom I spoke with said her daughter spent 3 months in her first band and had just gotten her second.  Talking with them really made me see just how fortunate we were to have such a short treatment time of only 9 weeks.

And, although in some ways we will miss our adventures in Dallas and visiting with old friends, we couldn’t be happier that it’s over!

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Responses

  1. Hooray for Jude! What you said about meeting the baby with the congenital heart defect is very interesting; I’d wondered if we would be facing something like that, too. Since James’s heart surgery, he has NOT liked tummy time (can you blame him?), but I’m trying to give him at least time where I’m holding him upright so there’s no pressure on the back of his head. I’m so thankful that he’s not confined to a hospital bed!


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