When Duckling was born, the doctors didn't paint a very optimistic picture. We were told that he wouldn't be able to walk on his own, that he would need lifelong catherization and antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections, that he would never be able to father children, and that he would probably need a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt and several shunt revisions over his lifetime to control hydrocephalus. We were told that even some of the promising things we had seen in Duckling like leg movement and urinary function wouldn't last. It was a pretty scary picture. So we did what had served us well in other health problem situations: we went looking for alternatives.
The first thing we did was to take Duckling to a fantastic pediatric chiropractor who is a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. And after his first adjustment, he started to have some movement and feeling in his left foot. I personally think that chiropractic is the reason why Duckling has had so few issues. He has never had a UTI, requires no cath-ing, and has had no further issues with hydrocephalus. I have found case studies describing how children with spina bifida have been able to walk and go off of catheterization when they get good quality chiropractic care. However, Duckling was still having problems with walking. It seemed that he still had issues with the nerves in his feet and legs. He simply seemed to have a more difficult time feeling the ground with the soles of his feet.
So, I decided that after two years, it was time to start adding some other elements into his treatment. I had found an article on Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy about a little boy with spina bifida and cerebral palsy who was treated by an herbalist and subsequently learned to walk and was able to go off of catherization. They used massage oils with Dr. Christopher's Complete Tissue and Bone Formula, Cayenne oil, and Ear and Nerve Extract. Ideally, I would do exactly the same, but the formulas were kind of pricy so I made my own with coconut oil and herbs from our local natural foods store and began massaging Duckling's legs and feet every day. A couple of days after I started massaging his legs, he started showing more of an interest in walking with assistance.
I still felt like he needed something more to help him, and my gut told me that a homeopathic remedy was it. Now, ideally, I would go consult a homeopath, but since there is only one homeopath in the entire state and he practices in the most expensive zip code in the state, I have a feeling that our very reasonable chiropractic bill for Duckling would pale in comparison. So, I am DIY-ing it. I found the online version of the Materia Medica (the bible of homeopathy) and started searching through remedies listed for children who are slow in learning to walk. Causticum seemed to fit Duckling's symptoms the closest. I couldn't find any causticum through Hyland's or Boiron at the store, so I went online and found a homeopathic medicine retailer who sells to professional homeopaths and ordered a small vial of causticum 30x. I have been giving him 2 drops twice a day in a 1/2 tsp. water.
And what a difference it has made! Duckling's new favorite pass time is walking (with help). He is constantly asking us to "walk". He has even let go of our hands and tried to stand on his own a couple of times. It's amazing to watch! My little boy is really on his way to walking and we are so proud of him.
I know I'm talking a lot about what I can't afford to do for him now, but my point in bringing this up is that even with very little resources, health miracles are possible! And in fact, even if I were to go out and buy all the massage oils and go consult a professional homeopath in addition to chiropractic care, it would still come in at far less than catheters, physical therapy, antibiotics, leg braces, a wheelchair, and shunt revisions. I am a little intimidated by DIY-ing the homeopathy, because as Duckling improves I will probably need to find a new remedy to treat his symptoms. But we've gotten this far and we'll keep going.