This is going to seem random especially since I haven’t updated in a while. However, Alyssa’s chiropractor asked if I’d be up to writing a brief (haha…yeah…me? … brief? She knows me well enough to know that it will be wordy 😉 haha…OK …) testimonial about what Alyssa has been through and how I feel chiropractic services have aided in helping her move forward. I’ve had people who stumble upon our family ask about Alyssa’s history and I never know where to begin without telling them her entire life story…since concision is my number one downfall. So, I’m hoping that this can be a good place to link them in the future 🙂 … if I can manage to get through it without turning it into a book! HA!
On February 10th, 2007, we welcomed a beautiful little girl named Alyssa into the world via unplanned c-section. She was full term, had checked “perfect” on every ultrasound throughout the pregnancy, and was more adorable than we had ever imagined. However, within about 24 hours, Neil and I knew something just wasn’t right. It took a while to get a nurse to finally pay attention to our worries, but finally someone realized that Alyssa was seizing. She was taken to the NICU and remained there for the rest of February.
During that time we were given the opportunity to see strength and determination in their most raw forms. There were days when the medical staff wasn’t confident that she would make it through the night, but, surrounded by a group of friends and family, we never lost hope. Alyssa came home at the end of the month although we still didn’t know what was causing all of her medical needs. After seeing an amazing pediatrician, we were referred to a dermatologist who diagnosed her with Incontinentia Pigmenti (IP).
When we first heard those two words, the doctor might as well have been speaking a foreign language. Neither of us had ever heard of IP, but when he grabbed the textbook and showed us images it quickly became apparent that this was what our daughter had. It was a moment of turmoil and relief. We now knew what was causing Alyssa to struggle, but we had no idea what IP would bring into our lives. The doctor treaded with caution and braced us for the worst. I still remember him saying “I can’t guarantee she will ever walk, talk, or even smile.” To which I replied, “Do you have a child you can guarantee that with? We are willing to adopt!” For us the blessing behind starting our daughter’s life off on a rough foot has always been the fact that every minor accomplishment is an amazing victory. We were somewhat forced to learn early on to take nothing for granted.
As the years passed we were met with difficult decisions, trying times, and more medical intervention than we had ever wanted our child to endure. However, through it all, we were given the gift of getting to see the good in the people around us, getting to watch this little girl’s spirit grow and thrive, and being surrounded by a medical team who marveled in the person Alyssa was becoming. After struggling with feeding issues for over two years, we made the decision to have a G-tube placed. It was the most difficult decision we had made to date. It was more challenging than any other because it wasn’t life-threatening to leave her without it, but it was definitely life-changing to place it.
The year that followed its placement was one filled with healing for her, our family, and the others in our lives. It removed many of our day-to-day struggles, but we still felt like Alyssa wasn’t doing as well as she could be. Her reflux continued and her vomiting was becoming worrisome. We were watching her begin to backslide. She was losing skills that she had gained and that just was not her style. Although she’s struggled to keep up with her peers, she had always moved forward and not back.
We had discussed taking her to a chiropractor briefly when she was an infant, but due to her muscle tension issues had placed it on the back burner. As she grew I didn’t know if I’d be able to find a chiropractor with the confidence, willingness, or ability to take on working with our special little girl. However, all of that changed the first day I walked into Chiropractic For Life. I went in without our daughter the first time and the energy of the office put me at peace right away. When Alyssa and I went in for the initial evaluation with Dr. Koury, I was leery of how Alyssa would react to the adjustment. I was in for quite the pleasant surprise.
The moment the first adjustment began I saw a calm come over my daughter I’d never seen before. It helped relax muscles that had been tight for years. In the months since Alyssa has been adjusted, we have done the allergy elimination as well as getting intolerance testing done outside of Las Vegas. If I had to sum up the last few months in one word it would be “awesome.” The changes that we have seen in our daughter are beyond our wildest dreams. Alyssa has gone from a state of survival to a state of utter and complete thriving.
Although Alyssa has always been a happy and outgoing little girl there is just a difference in her that is inexplicable. The little girl who used to vomit 10-15 times a day, who’s bedding had to be changed twice a day, and who couldn’t sneeze without emptying her tummy? She’s gone. The little girl who didn’t have the strength to sit, stand, or take assisted steps? She’s gone too. The little girl who so very rarely used her voice? Yep… gone! In her place is a vibrant little girl. A little girl who will babble when excited, only spits up a tiny amount every few days, has a clarity she’s never had.
There are still a few kinks in the system. We are still working on finding and settling into a new “normal.” However, in just a few short months, her life has changed dramatically for the better, and these changes have given us a renewed sense of hope and dedication for the future. We’ll forever be grateful for Dr. Koury and each and every other person who made that possible.
Jessica, Neil and Alyssa
Whew. Well… it is way longer than I planned it to be, but considering all that our gorgeous girl has been through? I’d say that I trimmed 3.5 years down to about as short as I could! Ha! It really is amazing to me the changes that are happening. There are a couple kinks, as I said, but really life is just on a completely different course than it was when we made the trip up to Spokane in August.
I think the things that are astounding me are the things that I didn’t even realize were filling my soul with stress. For instance, in the past every time she coughed/sneezed/choked/etc… I was running for a syringe. I didn’t dare go into a store without plotting out how she’d be vented if need be. Yesterday as she and I strolled through Target she laughed and wound up swallowing her spit wrong. In that moment it dawned on me that I hadn’t brought a syringe. I held her arms up … please tell me I don’t have the only mother in the world who yelled “Arms up!!” when I started to choke… and stayed calm. Sure enough she coughed, cleared her airway, and went back to babbling about a pair of shoes. As I pushed the cart away I thought to myself “I wonder how long it’s going to take before I don’t think every gag will result in a mess?” HAHA! It’s one of those things that was part of our daily life… but isn’t so much any more. A quick list of others are … worrying about putting her in the car after a feed, stressing that she’s dehydrated, pondering whether she’s kept down enough calories for the day, trying to pace the feed with meds to ensure the meds stay in her system, and even so very basic as brushing her teeth right after she’s eaten. It’s funny to me because I hadn’t really even factored all that we had “reworked” to make her tolerate as much food as possible… until things stopped having to be that way. It was like we learned tricks to make things more livable and since they happened one by one we hadn’t even realized they were part of the routine.
Now that they aren’t? Well… I’ve felt more at peace in recent weeks than I have in a very long time. I feel like we are almost in a new groove that will work for all of us! Of course, we won’t stay there long. 😉 After all, I think the next step will be working on getting her to take more nutrition orally! She’s cutting teeth like mad right now and for the first time in her life showing typical signs of teething. The restlessness at night is not so fun. However, seeing her have the desire to chew sure is!
It is a pretty fabulous feeling to have hope back that you hadn’t even realized was gone. It’s an even more fabulous feeling to once again be EXCITED about what the future holds. I’m already beginning to plan her fourth birthday party in my head… and it’s the very first birthday that not one part of me is sad about. Well, aside from that typical mommy feeling of “Oh my goodness! I’m going to have a FOUR year old?! Where did the time go!?” haha! Really though… it was not the smoothest path to get to this road but I truly believe the people we picked up along the way have made every step of the journey worth it! As much as it stinks to be overwhelmed? I’m grateful that sometimes I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the number of people who show love and support for my family. Seriously. I’m so very grateful that I get to watch this little girl grow and I’m even more grateful that so many people are cheering her on every day. 🙂