My name is Elise and I was initially diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 8 months old. I was prescribed a special brace to wear while I was sleeping to try and correct it. However, 3 months later, I saw an orthopaedic surgeon who did more testing and found that I had spastic Cerebral Palsy. This meant that my muscles would progressively get tighter and I would require a different kind of brace and special physiotherapy. Over the next few years, I stretched every day but when my muscles got too tight I was given Botox to help relax them. However, I was still able to learn how to crawl, ride a tricycle, and walk using a walker while I grew.
When I was 4 years old, I had my first major surgery, a selective dorsal rhizotomy, at BC Children’s Hospital performed by Dr. Steinbok. Dr. Steinbok used a special tool to find and cut any unhealthy nerves that ran from my spine to my legs to keep my muscles from getting tighter. My leg muscles were very weak afterwards and I had to learn how to crawl and walk again. However, after the surgery I was much happier; my arm muscles were more relaxed which made getting dressed much easier and I could even talk faster.
I met Dr. Mulpuri one year later. In the beginning, we visited every six months and received Botox injections. However, they stopped working for me and my muscles were so tight they were pulling my hip bones out of place. Dr. Mulpuri had to surgically lengthened my groin muscles and put my legs into a cast for a month to hold my hips in the proper position. My casts were purple and pink candy cane striped with a Vancouver Canucks hockey stick keeping my legs apart. I was in kindergarten and got to go to school every day in a special wheelchair that held my legs up for me.
In May of 2017, I underwent surgery to reconstruct my hips, as they were still at risk of dislocating out of the joint. My left hip was 68% displaced and my right hip was 58% displaced. Dr. Mulpuri said I practically had 6 surgeries at once and I have 9 scars to prove it! Having to be in a hip spica cast was upsetting, but everyone at BCCH did their best to cheer me up. I got a pink and purple hip spica cast and Wendy, the nurse, even gave me a stuffie with a hip spica cast! I was in the hip spica cast for 5 weeks but that didn’t stop me from getting out of bed. Almost every day my parents and I went out for walks and treats and I had lots of play dates with friends, too. When my cast came off, I was only allowed to walk in chest deep water, so we started swimming 3-4 days every week.
I am getting stronger and stronger and can now ride a bike and stand with a bit of help. I am so thankful that Dr. Mulpuri was able to fix my hips with very little pain. It is going to take me a while to get back to doing what I did before, but getting a letter from the Hip Surveillance Program saying that my hips are now 0% displaced makes it all worth it! Dr. Mulpuri and his team are the best!