"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Then, and Now

This was taken at the airport, the night we returned from Ukraine. Katya was so skinny she was all bones, and very hard to hang on to. By the time this photo was taken, she was already looking some better than when we took her out of the orphanage. But she was still so very skinny that she could draw her legs completely up to her face because she had no body fat to stop her from doing it. Now, she can't do that--her tiny little tummy prevents!

Now, 4 months later, we delight in the fact that she has gone from wearing size 3T clothes (yes, you read that right--3T--and those bagged on her!) to size 5 and 6! The dress she has on below is a size six, and the tights are size 5/6!! Katya's hair has gotten thicker, longer, and glossier. Her fingernails now clip instead of tearing limply. The extra fuzz all over her body is diminishing, and she has eyebrows now and thick, long lashes. Just check out the photo that my friend, Lisa S, took of Katya with her teacher  when Lisa went as a "Substitute" Grandparent on Grandparent's Day at School!

Then, Katya had NO method of communication except for screaming--LOUDLY--for every thing. She didn't have any method of communication for something even as basic a human need as tolieting! She had no way to ask for a drink, or for food, let alone specific foods.

Now, 4 months later, Katya can and does sign, "Toliet, Hungry, Thirsty, Want, More, Owie, I Love You, Bananna, Stop, Yes, No," and a few other things. What an amazing difference that small ability to communicate has made for her! Someone recently commented to me that she was a lot like a "feral child" initially. I have to agree that there was some truth to that. But no longer! Katya knows now she is loved, and will come and press her forehead close to our mouths now to indicate she wants a kiss. She loves her nightly routine of being rocked by Mom before going to bed, and will run for her favorite afghan and bring it to the chair when she sees me heading there. Katya also is learning to write her letters and numbers at school, and can and does make some verbal letter sounds. Last night, she even combined "S" and "T" to make the "SSSTTT" sound!

Prior to entering our family, Katya really had no one making sure that she got the medical care she needed. Now, she has us. We fight hard for her and are taking her to professionals who are in tune with caring for Katya in all ways--not only physically, but also caring about what is best for her emotionally as she continues to try to adjust to life in America.

The results of Katya's MRI of her spine and brain are back in. Katya's spine is normal. There is nothing visible on the MRI that would account for the change in her gait. Her MRI shows her skull to be very vascular, meaning that her cranial reconstruction would be very risky. Dr. Carson is wanting us to come to Johns Hopkins again to meet with us, examine Katya, and then admit her to the hospital for inter-cranial pressure monitoring (ICP monitoring). Katya will be in the ICU there for 2 to 4 days. I can't imagine trying to keep her down in an ICU bed for ONE day, let alone 2 to 4, and anyone who knows her well can't either. What a challenge, and not a funy one, in this Mommy's opinion. However, after talking to others and listening to Dr. Carson's reasoning, we believe that we are doing the right thing; the logical thing.

But yeah . . . we could do with some prayers again . . . I know I'm always begging for that it seems, but we sure do appreciate them!! All kind comments are appreciated too! ;-)


Mike and Christie said...

The transformation is AMAZING! :)

jabreman said...

Hope Anne,

What a blessing it is to open my google reader and see a post about Katya and you, her beautiful family...you are all so beautiful and I am so glad you are all together.

Katya's growth is amazing! What wonders love, communication, attention and all that a family can provide can bring about!

As for Katya's future, it sounds like you are in the right hands and will make the good choices for Katya.

You are in my prayers. May God Bless you and Keep you...


a reader/mom in Los Angeles

Koroviev said...

I don't have much to say, other than that it sounds like you all are doing the right thing.

Milena said...

Such an amazing change, in appearance as well as in development! How you are blessed to have Katya and she to have you!

I was thinking, could her change in gait be due to her sudden growth and weight gain? I have obviously no experience of special needs such as Katya's, but when children in general have growth spurts they can all of a sudden be very clumsy in different ways, spill drinks, fall when walking etc. Of course you have already considered this simple reason :-)

Thank you for the update and sweet photos!

FaerieMama said...

Hope Anne, this post made my night:)

Laurie said...

I just love this little girl Katya. I have been following along for quite a long time. What a beautiful Family she has. I love all the updates.
Hope Anne your are blessed with one Beautiful little girl!

Reeces Rainbow Prayer Warrior Director

Shelley said...

What a lovely girl she is! It is so good to see her receiving the expert care her condition requires. May you be blessed with all the wisdom, resources and energy you need to meet her needs, and those of the rest of your family!