Monday, November 16, 2009

Can Do

I originally wrote this post last Monday, but we were so busy and then some other sorts of frustrating things happened. Needless to say, this post got away from me.

After getting through a week of meetings that were focused on what Aviana could not do, I choose to begin this week by concentrating on all of the things she can do! Aviana is becoming more and more aware with each passing day. The reason I do not post more often about the changes she has made is because many times they are so very small and over the course of time, I am able to come up with a whole list and then post them all at once.

I remember speaking to one of the neurologists upon leaving Kaiser. I had just had a meeting with him in Aviana's room. I left a while later to go downstairs and get something to drink. I happened to see him in the elevator and we talked. It was strange, once in the elevator he was speaking to me in a different manner. While he was always very nice, this time, in this moment, he was speaking to me as a caring friend would.

He told me that it would take a very, very long time for Aviana to heal. He told me it would be so, so slow. He said to not look at her progress in terms of days or even weeks, but to look at it in 3 weeks to one month increments. He said she would sometimes take two steps forward and one step back or even two steps forward and four steps back. This conversation stuck with me. He was absolutely right about the pace. Her progress is that of a snail's pace, but I am so happy to say she has yet to take a step backward. She has slowly and steadily moved in the right direction. I could not be happier about this.

Let me tell you how she is doing as of today.

~ she is much more alert.

~ she moves her head around much more.

~ she is aware of her surroundings and is much more engaged.

~ when I ask her to touch Kama's paw, she reaches over much faster than she ever has. She will do it repeatedly as well.

~ we asked her to reach up and touch my face one night and she did it four times. She also did the same to my mom.

~ her facial expressions are returning. She gives me attitude at times and has now perfected her frown. It breaks my heart when she frowns, but I am happy to see her with emotion. She has possibly smiled a few times, but I am not completely going to count that until we are more sure.

~ I was standing her up the other day and at one point gave her a break. I was so proud of her that I was hugging her and she reached her arm up and put it around me. No one was there to share in my joy or to even see it. I looked over at Kama and said, "Did you see that? Kama, did you see that? Wasn't it great?"

~ when we pick her up and carry her around the house she puts her arm on us in a way she had not before.

~ she will put her hand in mine if I ask her to. She is getting faster and faster at it. She is not always consistent though, she has to want to at the moment I am asking.

~ she has started watching Mickey Mouse again. ~ she holds her head up on her own for 4 minutes.

~ she works her hand over and pushes a button on one of her toys when I ask.....sometimes.

~ she is making more and different sounding noises lately.

~ in the last week, when Aviana is cold she will repeat a quick, sharp, Brr! I think it is her first little attempt at a word since the accident. It is music to my ears!

~ she goes to town on her Dum Dum sucker like never before. I think the reason she kept eating the barium (mixed with apple juice and yogurt) is because she desperately wants to eat something. Honestly, who would continue to eat that??

~ she will grab for our hands when she is in her crib. She loves to put her arms in the air often and move them all around. I keep trying to get her to touch her hair and finally she grazed it yesterday morning. She has always known what I am saying and has tried and tried, but yesterday she finally did it.

She is up to about 20 or more minutes of sitting like this.... She enjoys hanging out with her friends. When they are over, she tends to keep an eye on them. She doesn't even mind when they touch her hair. These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do....someday. Aviana seems to like her new pair of shoes, they do not bother her and she doesn't mind when they are on. Prior to having the boots, Dave would hold her up and I would spend all of my times straightening her ankles. She would be able to hold her own weight and Dave would just merely hold her for balance. She is able to do this for longer periods of time with each new week. Now with the boots, her feet and ankles are in the right position and this task is much, much easier for all involved. We now sit Aviana on a stool and hold onto her arms. She can push herself up into the standing position on her own. We just started doing this, but were so happy with how well she did this from the start. She does however get very tired, very fast and needs assistance. She is doing better in physical therapy and can hold her head up much better there too. She is such a cutie pie, her arms are getting more relaxed every day. Aviana tends to resort back to her postures when cold, nervous or mad. Arms bent up and toes pointing out. Her physical therapist had commented about her sleeping in this fashion. I had never seen her sleep like this and have only seen her sleep in a completely relaxed state. She was surprised by this fact and said, "I guess there is a first for everything." I was so happy to hear that!! Of course she always makes time to love on Kama and hold her paw! I wanted to wish my dear, sweet Kama a Happy 7th Birthday today. I love you to the moon and back....and then some!!


  1. Good for you (and Aviana)! I'm glad to see you are back to the positive and upbeat side!! Keep up the good work-all of you!!

  2. Holy Moly...she is doing GREAT!!! I love to see her improving!!! I know it is slow going, but to see that much progress is so amazing!!!

    BTW...I love her flowered Tessie Bug has the same pair.

    Go Avi Go!!! Keep up the hard work!!! It is definitely paying off!!!

  3. YAHOO! So happy to read the good news post - God is working with your sweetie and it's awesome to be able to "see" her progress on your blog! I will keep praying! Love those photos!

  4. She is adorable. More hugs to all of you and Kama!!

  5. Greetings again from Philadelphia. I fall into the "I don't know you but have been following (and twice posted on) your blog" category; I found it through other adoption links. (We adopted our daughter almost six years ago.) What a fighter your daughter is, and what amazing patience and strength you have. How heartwarming to see the amazing strides Aviana is making. You are all in my thoughts, more than I ever thought "strangers" could be. Clearly in years from now your daughter is going to be one of the triumphs that people refer others to for encouragement. Congratulations on these most recent accomplishments----and Kama's b'day too. Fondly, Ellen

  6. I'm another "friend" who fell in love with Aviana and looks forward to reading about her progress everyday. I'm an adoptive parent and a fostermom to many, many newborns. I was also a Spec. Ed. Admin. I want to say that I know the IEP process tends to focus on the negative in order to set goals, but I hope and expect you'll find that her teachers will fall in love with her and become her cheerleaders. Each school milestone is typically tough because it's brings back all the "should be's" and I hope you have lots of love and support as you get passed them. I can't tell you how impressed I am by your obvious love and commitment to your precious little girl. I know that sounds silly, but I've had over a hundred little babies who's moms and dads didn't care enough. God bless you all!

  7. WOW what a progress report! Thanks for sharing and for posting all of the pictures! I know Avi is smiling at you, even if it doesn't necessarily look like it yet. :-)

    Hugs! And happy birthday to Kama, the wonder dog!! :-D


  8. WOnderful news! She looks so good standing up and holding her head up. My Brian had wonderfully cute boots too for the first 7 years of his life. There is so much out there to help them and all your dedicated love is helping her so much. CHildren are amazing!

  9. I am another "anonymous" follower of your journey. I love reading your updates. What a journey this is for your family. Aviana is lucky to have parents who fight for her and you are lucky to have such a special little girl in your life. So glad that she is progressing. Little steps at a time. Thank you for blogging so that we can all gain strength from your family and pray for your sweet Aviana.


  10. I am SOOOOOOO happy to see this post! And I'm so glad you remembered what the neurologist told you. She really has come a long way. Great job on documenting how many positives are happening!

  11. This was a great post to read. I am so impressed with all Avi is doing. She really looks like she is smiling in a few of those photos. I know sometimes photos look that way but I see it in her eyes too. Go Avi Go! You are all doing a great job working together and I am sure she will keep progressing as it sounds like she is a fighter as are you and your husband. I also think it's wonderful that you have such a sweet and loving dog as a part of your family. Animals can be so therapeutic for people especially when they are ill or in recovery.


  12. I love your Can Do list! It is so evident from the pictures that beautiful Aviana is making her way forward! Much love to you all.

  13. wow that is absolutely amazing, she sounds like she is doing wonderful. I realize for you it is very very slow and days are slow, but when you don't get the updates on a daily bases it sounds amazing to all of us. I am so proud of all of you, that is one strong little girl.

  14. Yeah Avi!!! I know you can do it. You are a strong little girl.


    Ms Debby

  15. You go Avi! We miss you guys and will have to come by when you're up to it. I'm so thankful that Avi has made so much progress. Maybe soon Avi can sit and enjoy a little tea party with Emma, even if she needs a little help. :)

  16. Still sending love from Ohio!!

    I think of your little girl every day. I am so happy to hear she is making progress. Each little step must be so exciting. I love the pictures with Kama. My kids are very attached to their dog too!


  17. She looks so good guys, keep up the hard work, I know it has to be.

  18. I am so glad Aviana is making progress!! I am continuing the prayers!!