Namine’s foot surgery is a week from tomorrow. The week prior to any surgery is fraught with second thoughts, dread, and frayed nerves. Are we doing the right thing? How do we know? These are just a couple of the questions that plague us – they plague us every time. We second-guess ourselves, but at the end of the day, we know we are acting in the best interests of our daughter, and not merely to try and make her more “normal.”

We’ve encountered the attitude – both online and off – that we’re putting Namine through too much. One foot surgery was bad, especially with the multiple cast changes (perhaps traumatizing her with the cast saw) and the pain that came with it. But to subject her to it once more – and not just another surgery but the same one? (This is not technically the same surgery, since the operating doctor actually didn’t do the procedure he said he would. But it is a repeat; the difference being, this is the procedure she should have had the first time around.) I can answer that. The answer is easy: Namine wants to walk.

If Namine showed no desire (or ability) to walk, there would be no question. It would be pointless to put her through not only the foot surgery, but also the tibia repair she’ll need later, as well as other potential procedures like hip or spine repair. Her hips are getting slightly worse; nothing that requires surgery for the time being, but that could change. And she has scoliosis, remember; it’s okay for now, but the possibility of needing surgery in the future is there. But not only can she bear weight – and she’s getting better every day – she has real desire that drives her. With her desire to walk, it’s no longer work: it’s something she loves, something she craves, something she cannot do enough.

So the question becomes: how much pain are we willing to put her through? The somewhat vague answer, I suppose, is as much as she can take. We have an orthopedic doctor that we trust now, and more importantly, that Namine trusts. I’m not talking about mere bedside manner (although that plays into it as well), but care for the patient. Dr. Black actually cares about Namine, and sees her as more than just another case.

Something else to consider is how Namine herself feels about foot surgery. She remembers the casts and the pain. But she also understands, to a degree, the concept of pain now to achieve benefit later. She knows that her feet hurt; she rarely complains, but her feet hurt all the time. She understands that having more foot surgery will help her feet and enable her to walk better.

If it’s a choice between walking and not walking, to Namine, that’s no choice at all.

  • Michele

    You are doing the right thing.

  • Margaret Garrett

    Our great granddaughter Kara has had several surgeries in her 19 months starting at three days old.I tell my granddaughter and her husband, Kara has a wonderful team of doctors at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital that provide good care for her. I think all parents with a child that needs special care should educate themselves as much as possible about the medical condition, listen to doctors that you trust,then combine that with Mommy and Daddy’s feelings about what is best for YOUR child. I send prayers for your precious child that all goes well. Everything you do is being done out of love and wanting the best for her. We all go through the frayed nerves etc. as a surgery is near.