Monday, September 15, 2008

Chorea or Basal Ganglia Dysfunction

It was that time again, to go to our appointment with Cole's neurologist. Everything looked good (I guess). Cole is healthy and the doctor feels like cognitively he is aware of his surroundings. He has classified the 'type' of CP that Cole has. He has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This just means he has spastic movements in all four limbs.

I was also told that he presents as having Chorea or Basal Ganglia Dysfunction.

Chorea is an abnormal voluntary movement disorder, which is caused by over activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the areas of the brain that control movement. Chorea is characterized by brief, irregular contractions that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next. The quick movements of the feet or hands are vaguely comparable to dancing or piano playing.

Chorea is thought to be caused by damage to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia can be divided into two fundamental pathways and, in some cases, chorea seems to result from damage to the indirect pathway.

It is suggested the the indirect pathway helps to inhibit unwanted movements, so it is possible that damage to this pathway allows the "escape" of movements that would ordinarily be suppressed. The random initiation of movements shows that the indirect pathway serves not only to suppress unwanted movements but also to prevent the initiation of movement. It is not known why some children with diffuse injury to the basal ganglia (such as occurs in cerebral palsy) develop choreoathetosis, while others develop dystonia.

Basal ganglia dysfunction is a problem with the basal ganglia, the deep brain structures that help start and control movement.

When the basal ganglia cells are damaged, there may be problems with the ability to control speech and movement. Difficulties with starting movement, sustaining movement and stopping movement are all possible when this area of the brain is injured.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Shane going in for the tackle!

Cole having fun watching practice and playing with Zadie

Cole's girlfriend Zadie

No, that is not Cole playing football...but, maybe some day! That football player is his brother Shane getting ready to tackle his teammate at practice. Cole loves to go watch the boys tackling each other. It is great stimulation with all the action out there.

Shane's coach said it so right on our very first night when he told us the team name would be The Saints. He said this may be the only time we will honestly be able to say our boy is a Saint. LOL... If he only knew how right he was.

As much as Cole likes to watch the boys playing so rough, I have to admit that big smile you see is from him laughing at his cute little girlfriend Zadie. Isn't she a doll? I would turn my back and she would come to get me so I would scare her making a monster growl. She was giggling and would run away, just to turn around for more. Cole found this very hilarious. Nice to know I was such good entertainment for them both.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cole's 1st time at Church

We have had so many firsts in the last couple of weeks. I wish I could say it was the first time he sat up by himself or crawled by himself or any of the milestones that a 'typical' child would have already reached.

I am both proud and ashamed to say this past Sunday, August 31st was the first time Cole has ever been to church. I have many different reasons or excuses, however you want to look at it, for not taking him before now. The biggest reason has been because I knew I would be called back to the nursery to get him because he would not stop crying.

As most mothers know, it is so hard to trust others with your precious baby, and it is even more so with your disabled child. But, because he has done so well, being such a big boy at school, I decided it was time to get back in touch with God.

I am not one to 'preach' (I hope to lead by example) and I have friends from all walks of life. I was always brought up in the church and know the way I should always be....but, I am only human and I have strayed from God several times in my life. I always find that He is always forgiving and takes me back with open arms.

It is so hard to explain the gamut of emotions I have gone through since the day Cole was born. I will admit that I had blamed myself for his disability (I thought it must be because of something I did)...I now know that I am not being punished but I am blessed to have him. Just look at how beautiful he is and I see how many people he has touched. He is such a special baby and he has shown me so much!

So, obviously, I felt like it was time for me to get back where I should be and I knew I needed to get Shane in too. Shane gets to go into an awesome class. He goes through a tube on one side of the door, climb steps, to slide down into the classroom. They have a moon bounce, and a little bank to earn pretend money by memorizing bible verses and other things in the class. They can take their points from the pretend money to the little store to get gifts (like at Chucky-Cheese's). Luckily, Brett has been going, for a long time, to a different church with his great group of friends. I am so thankful for the right kind of peer pressure and they are wonderful kids and have helped so much with transportation for Brett.

In the end, Cole was a good boy for his first day of church! He drank some of his bottle, then got to enjoy a ride in a huge stroller that seats 6 or 8 and then took a 20 minute nap. One of the three teachers was holding him when I came to pick him up.