Dancing with Joy

Gabby has been doing wonderfully! She is stubborn, determined, obstinate, opinionated, and strong-willed! A very welcome change from her once lethargic existence. She continues to love school and is better able to share some of her experiences when I pick her up. She especially likes to report any children that happened to receive “time outs” that day, herself included.

She continues to love working with Betsy her PT at Raleigh Neurology. She looks forward to “playtime” with Betsy. Gabby was recently fitted for a new pair of SMO’s (braces). They seem to give her much better support preventing the left ankle from rolling inward. Initially I encountered some serious resistance every time I tried to put the new braces and shoes on Gabby’s feet. She would literally sit there crying for 20 minutes and refuse to stand. It is difficult to know whether the braces hurt in this situation or she is just opposed to trying out something new on her feet. Turns out it was mostly the latter. Once Gabby realized these braces were sticking around she accepted the change. She wore them all day at the zoo last week and walked around for hours. She did have a slight rub mark on her left leg but nothing too serious.

Gabby was recently chosen to participate in a restraint camp for children with hemiplegia at UNC Chapel Hill. It begins June 12th and runs for 7 days. Her right arm will be casted for 6 hours a day and she will work one on one with a therapist to see how much function she can regain in her affected left arm. We are mostly hoping that Gabby will one day be able to use her weak arm as an assist to help her right arm do many of the two handed tasks required in a two handed world. I am very excited to see how this goes!

Developmentally, Gabby continues to make progress. She is able to name and identify the letters of the alphabet. She knows her colors. She is counting up to about 15 but is not always able to accurately count a group of objects. Gabby’s speech is definitely exploding, though I still struggle to understand her at times especially out of context. One of her favorite sentences right now is, “I love you soooo much, Mommy!” Any mom, of a special needs child especially, knows what an amazing gift this is! Potty training is still slow going. She has gone on the potty multiple times but I’m always the one taking the initiative and insisting that she try to go.

We recently went to the zoo and Gabby enjoyed herself immensely! She walked around the huge park so independently and self-confidently. She squealed with excitement when she spotted an animal she recognized and she studied them intently. She is still talking about all of the animals she saw and reminds me daily that the “lions sleeping, Mama”.

We continue to blissfully accept each seizure-free day we are given knowing every one is a gift from our heavenly Father. To walk without the burden of daily seizures resting heavily upon our shoulders is something I didn’t expect to know again. I hoped to be released from the shackles and to feel the weight once again lifted yet I didn’t know if we would be given the opportunity to feel this free for a third time. The joy I experience when my mind begins to wander, to dream, to hope for something beyond seizures is indescribable. Lord God, Thank you! Thank you for this precious time, these care free days, when we once again feel like dancing. And yet I know many who still carry this awful burden down a path with no end in sight and I pray Lord that you would carry them and deliver them from the shackles, that they may also know joy again. Joy that transcends all suffering and reaches to the very core of their being so that they too may dance again.


  1. Carolyn Fitzgreald says:

    Praise the Lord for Gabby’s progress. The Lord is so good and merciful. Praise Him for the programs he has allowed Gabby to get into.

    Thank you, Kelly, for the reminder that it is good to dance before the Lord in thanksgiving. He is such a mighty and wonderful Lord.

    Please send me your blog address.

    Carolyn F.

  2. Shelley says:

    I love hearing about Gabby’s progress, what a Praise the Lord!!

  3. Michael Hale says:

    So glad to hear that Gabby is doing well. The pictures are too cute!

  4. Lisa Holderfield says:

    Hey there, I noticed that your in NC and went to Duke, I also live in Nc and we go to Duke with my daughter Kali. I found you thru Sophie website.

    Your daughter is precious!

    • Kelly O'Melia says:

      Hey Lisa, I think I visited your blog a while back through Sophie’s blog too. Do you still have Kali’s blog up? How is she doing? We live just south of Raleigh. We still run to Duke every now and again.

      Tak care,

  5. Laura Williams says:

    Thanks so much for the updates. She is so precious and it is a delight to see her grow. It is also a delight to hear you all grow in Christ. What a blessing to see, His hand on your family and you all seeing it too. May He continue to pour our His Love and Grace onto you all. Praying we get to see you all again this summer:)

  6. Judy Binns says:

    Wow! What an AWESOME GOD we serve!!!

  7. I just stumbled on your blog today. And for very obvious reasons (other than Gabby’s smooshy wooshy adorable face!) felt connection. My son was dx with catastrophic epilepsy at 7 months old…we also felt seizure freedom for a while…and the crush of relapse…and then in October (he was 2 1/2) held our breath and clung to our faith as he was wheeled the surgical wing for a subtotal L hemi. Thus the (other) obvious reasons. :)

    Also while I was nosy I noticed that you live near Raleigh. How wild that we once lived in Raleigh. Before the Seizure Monster made an appearance we were missionaries in Tanzania. Mid-way Baptist Church sponsored us…and provided short term housing. We were there for at least 6 months. LOVE Salon Blu (tana specifically!) for my hair!

    I also homeschool my two oldest. :)

    And you were in my neck of the woods recently! We’re in RI. Newport-ish area.

    Anyway…I just thought it was interesting. I would have emailed…but couldn’t find your addy?


  8. I followed the link to your blog from danielle… Our son Jacob has right hemiparesis and has gone through the Constraint Therapy Program with Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island – 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks. There are only two programs like this in the country (the other is in Alabama). If you find that the summer restraint program is helpful for Gabby, you may be interested in checking out the other program as well. I have links to it on my blog and video of my son during the program in my February archive. He’ll be going through it again in August so I’ll be posting more video of his progress then…

    • Kelly O'Melia says:

      Wow, Bethany thanks so much for this info! I loved watching the video on your blog of the little boy who underwent constraint therapy in Alabama. I haven’t yet watched the video of your son. I’m assuming you saw good results if he will be going through it again in Aug.? I just received an email from a lady named Jill who is interested in learning more about the programs available and I plan to direct her to your website. You definitely seem to have more experience than me! Thanks so much for reaching out and I will continue to follow your son’s progress.

  9. Cindy Francis says:

    Hurray for Gabby! Glad to hear from you all.

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