Jacob is now 2 1/2 years. He is big and strong and loves his grandmother and me. His left hand and arm is okay. His problem is with his right arm and hand.

Jacob’s right hand had 4 fingers and no thumb and his hand turned 90 degrees toward his body. He is missing the large bone in his right arm from the elbow to the wrist. So he only has the one small bone. His right shoulder is smaller and weak. His right arm is shorter and weak. He has almost no gripping with his hand. He can hold things, like cookies, between the fingers on the right hand.

A surgeon at Vanderbilt University Nashville preformed 5 operations on his hand. The purpose was to straighten his hand and wrist and to make a thumb from his first finger. These operations were not successful. There was not enough muscle, tendons and bone to support these changes. The surgery did not improve his hand or arm. I think we put the little guy through a lot of trauma that didn’t help. His right hand now has a thumb and three fingers.

Jacob may be slow and not progressing at a normal rate. He may have some mental development problems. He is attending preschool twice a week and a special training therapy twice a week. So, he is gone out of the house for four mornings of the week. He loves school and his teachers. He loves dogs and other kids. He plays well and is doing better at following the rules at home and at school.

Jacob’s four-year-old sister had a hard time accepting her new bother. I think the parents sent so much time with Jacob that it affected her. Jacob’s parents have had a hard time coping with his condition. They are still working through their guilt that they could have or should have done something differently. When a doctor holds out some hope, you want to grab onto it. We had to try everything we could.

The challenge now appears to be for his parents and us to assist Jacob to become a strong and coping individual. I have the feeling that everyone is doing too much for him and that may be why he is slow in developing his individual skills.

I saw the true story of the young girl that lost both her arms in an accident. Her mother made her feed herself to teach her to cope on her own. The lady is now a mother herself and does everything with her feet. She credits her mother with the courage to made her cope with her condition and to become a fully functioning adult.

We did get some information from the “March of Dimes” organization. They raise money for the study of birth defects and have some information available. They are located on the web. You have a tough road ahead of you. I wish you success and that your child grows into a wonderful child and adult. Just like all children, their success depends a lot on their parents.