An amazing thing happens when a special needs child turns 2 (at least in our experience). It seems as if all kinds of new treatment options come into play.
Since we started Gavin on valium almost a year ago, we have been continually thinking about adding another “tool” to his ever-growing box of resources. (This “tool” was not something that we could have added prior to him turning 2.) As with the valium, the idea of giving our now 2-year-old another “medication” was not something we took lightly. But we had to weigh the pros and cons and look at how this would impact his quality of life. He’s making progress but by adding this new “tool” would we see greater strides? Would we see regression? How would this impact his life down the road? (Questions, it seems, we ask on an almost daily basis when it comes to treatment options for him.)
So, what’s this new “medication” you ask? Botox.
Yes, you read that correctly. We have decided to give our 2-year-old Botox injections (and by “we” I mean his doctor.) But this isn’t your mother’s Botox. When given medicinally (vs. for cosmetic purposes) the dosage is significantly larger.
The magnificent (or so I’ve heard) non-invasive cosmetic helper apparently has numerous medical benefits. Apparently “duct tape” for the body, Botox has given relief to migraine sufferers, those with pelvic muscle spasms and also helps folks that have cerebral palsy and other muscular problems.
So what is Botox you ask? As noted in a very interesting article “So Botox Isn’t Just Skin Deep” from the New York Times in 2009:
“BOTOX is a purified form of botulinum toxin, a nerve poison produced by the bacteria that cause botulism, a disease that paralyzes muscles and can be fatal. Injections of Botox act like minuscule poison darts that temporarily blunt chemical nerve signals to certain muscles or glands, reducing their activity.”
There are very few side-effects to Botox. For those that go for cortisone shots – Botox is very similar, although the shot is less painful but the medicine lasts about as long and can be given either as needed or every three months or so.
In fact, Gavin had his first injections yesterday. His PT and other specialists have noticed that his legs have started to “scissor” (which means exactly what you would think) because his adductor muscles (or groin muscles) are so tight. He received a shot in each adductor muscle. He cried for all of 2 mins – and that was mainly because he had to be laid down on the table. Once the shots were done and Gavin was off the table, he was all smiles again!
According to the doctor it takes about 2-3 days for the Botox to “settle” in and be noticeable but he feels Gavin will respond beautifully. (I did notice during his diaper change this morning that his legs didn’t seem as tight as usual. Wishful thinking on my part or is the Botox kicking in already? Who knows, but I’ll take it either way.
When we go for a follow-up in about 6 weeks to see how things are going we will discuss having his arms done next. But in the meantime, we’ll just keep doing what we do.