The other day, as I was taking a picture of Mya in her Christmas dress, I realized I had forgotten Mya had club foot. I guess I wouldn’t say I have completely forgotten, I put her brace on every night, I stretch her foot, I make appointments with specialists, but there was a time when I thought about club foot, and it’s haunting fear of returning, several times throughout the day. Whether it be time or other issues weighing on my most constant thoughts, the fear of club foot has been recessed. As I took these pictures and looked back at them, I noticed it immediately, the vast difference between the calf muscle in Mya’s club foot leg versus her other leg. Club foot has many factors and one of it’s most prominent descriptions is an under developed calf muscle. No matter how hard Mya works the calf muscle in her club foot leg will always be significantly smaller. The majority of people born with club foot have two club feet so it’s not so noticeable, but there it was staring at me in the face. “You thought you forgot about club foot, yeah right.”
Yesterday we went to pick up Mya’s new brace as she had outgrown her old one. She sleeps in a brace to help combat growth spurts that generally affect her club foot more strongly when she’s sleeping (when she’s not standing and stretching the muscles). She was such a brave little girl at her appointment. She had picked out a pink star overlay for the brace and it was just as beautiful as she had hoped. She followed the doctor’s instructions and told her how it felt with expert description. I felt momentarily our roles reversing as she was completely in charge of the appointment while I sat back and watched in awe. She was so excited to wear her new brace.
Club foot has been an interesting diagnosis, something I knew nothing about. There are few advocacy groups, no national club foot day, no billboards or magazines. There’s a Facebook page I rarely look at. When I mention it to people they think of figures in the past, characters from books or plays. It’s a difficult diagnosis to understand and one that continues to mystify even the doctors who specialize in it’s treatment, no known cause, no perfect treatment.
After putting Mya to bed last night I heard her calling for us to come up, I immediately thought her new brace was hurting her. It was fine, she needed a bandaid for her hand. Which hand, I asked. “My club foot side hand,” she replied. “Your right hand,” I said and held my sweet girl. Mya will never forget she has a club foot, but I have to believe this hardship has given her the strength to not only accept differences but understand how to conquer them, a trait she certainly was born to have.