Friday, October 2, 2009

Hippo for Clara

Over the last two years, one of the main treatments that has been recommended for Clara over and over has been hippotherapy. This is where they have a really big hippopotamus, no, no. I am just kidding. :-) In all seriousness, the word hippotherapy is derived from a Greek word'"hippos", meaning horse, and put with therapy..well, literally, therapy with the aid of a horse. A horse's movement in the pelvis mimics that of a human, almost exactly. That movement is especially helpful to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region of a human, which is where most of Clara's weakness is. So, we have been trying for about a year now to get this all lined up. It has been a matter of unreturned phone calls, no therapy in the summer because of the heat, and then more recently, we wondered if it was worth it to pursue it, knowing we might be leaving soon. We took it to the Lord in prayer, praying that He would close all doors if this was not His will for Clara, but at the same time, opening them wide open if it was, in fact, His will. The very next morning, I received a return phone call from about 4 months ago regarding setting up an evaluation. If that isn't wide open, I don't know what is. :-)

The evaluation has multiple purposes. The first thing they have to determine is if Clara is a good candidate for this type of therapy. Once this is decided, they have to decide which horse will be best suited to work her appropriate muscles. Just like people, each horse has a different gait, targeting different muscles in different ways. Additionally, since this therapy will work her muscles constantly, with nor breaks between "activities", they usually put the "easiest" horse with beginner patients. They told me not to be surprised if she can only last for about ten minutes at first.Needless to say, this has all been very fascinating for me to learn!

Her evaluation was today. I prayed so hard that all would go well. It was almost funny to watch it unfold. From the minute Ms. Wendy (the therapist) walked in the door, it was almost as if Clara flipped the "time to show-out for another doctor" switch. As always, she did things I have never seen her do while "performing" for this new audience. :-) Of course her sidekick, Megan, was right there with her. I wish I had a video camera! All in all, it went well! She has been approved for hippotherapy and Ms. Wendy has a horse in mind for her already. Now we just have to get it all lined up with the ranch. Thankfully the ranch is only about 30 minutes away in Watkinsville. (another answered prayer!) This therapy will be once a week, in addition to her regular physical therapy with Ms. Lee. We are finally having two sessions per week...just what her neurologist wanted. It was such a blessing seeing how far she has come during her evaluation! She is doing so many things she couldn't do a year ago...or even 4 months ago. We see her getting stronger, which is a GREAT sign! We have also joked that the reason God gave us Megan was for Clara...she is the best PT EVER!! Clara has to keep up with her!

As always, money will be an issue, but we are believing God for His provision. Insurance should cover the least most of them...(we might cut it close towards the end of the year). However, the barn requires a $25 per week fee to "feed the horses" that insurance will not cover. Please pray with us that God would provide for this. I don't think we can cut our budget much tighter, but we have seen Him stretch it many times! We know he can!! I am also doing some sewing projects and such to bring in a little extra income. Please pray that God would multiply my time so I can get it all in!

We are still waiting for biopsy results. I talked with her former physical therapist the other night and she said not to be surprised if it took more like 10-12 weeks. Either way, we are STILL waiting! Either way, God is GOOD all the time, and ALL the time, God is GOOD!!

Friends, thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Your love and support has meant more to us than you will ever know!

Have a great day!


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