Our names are Denise Ordoñez and Ruben Carrete, and we are the proud parents of Luciana Carrete-Ordoñez.
Luciana has two older brothers, and although physicians warn not to compare, we couldn’t help but notice a difference in the strength of her legs at nine months old. Her siblings began walking at nine and thirteen months, yet Lucy sat in the same bouncer they had and never tried to jump, stand, or twirl. When attempting to help stand her up, she would quickly bend her legs and drop to the floor. She had minimal to no strength in her legs when standing and this went on for some time. Our pediatrician recommended exercises to increase her mobility and to motivate her to stand and move her legs. When trying various exercises, we found no resistance when having her push back with her legs. Our concerns began to grow.
At about fifteen months, Luciana slowly started walking. We noticed she would fall a lot and her legs were very weak. Her legs became noticeably bowed, which resulted in a side-to-side waddle versus a normal forward stride. A few pediatricians agreed that this issue may be resolved on its own by the time she turned two years old.
Wanting the best for our daughter, we obtained the medical opinion of an orthopedist and were told she may have Blount’s disease. This is a condition found in children that affects the growth plates around the knee. It was scary for us to hear this because the solution for this was surgery a few years down the road. Blood work and further testing revealed Lucy had a vitamin D deficiency, shifting the diagnosis from Blount’s to rickets. We started on a vitamin D supplement and waited for three months to see if this would fix the issue. Lucy also started using Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis, also known as KAFO Braces, to aid in correcting her leg bowing.
Finding a pediatric specialist in the Rio Grande Valley is very hard and after four months, more lab work, and X-rays, an endocrinologist narrowed down Luciana’s diagnosis to hypophosphatemic rickets. This is a disorder of bone mineralization, resulting in softening and weakening of bones, usually because of a vitamin D deficiency and low levels of phosphate in the blood. There are several forms of this disease, and we are currently pending genetic results to see how to best handle this rare inherited or genetic mutation.
Presently, Luciana’s vitamin D levels are stable but her phosphorous/phosphate levels are of great concern. Genetic testing will help us determine if her bones are simply not absorbing the minerals and whether a supplement could fix it. A more severe case would be that her kidneys, playing a vital role in the absorption of these minerals for proper bone growth, are not performing correctly. Once the results of genetic testing are completed, Luciana’s team of specialists will mediate a treatment plan.
We have had a difficult journey due to the lack of specialists in our community and the sizable expenses involved in seeking help outside of the Rio Grande Valley. Luckily, we have found outstanding therapy treatment opportunities at Moody Clinic. Luciana is currently receiving physical therapy to improve mobility and strengthen her leg muscles. Having weak bones means Luciana needs to be able to balance herself as much as possible. We also want her to feel comfortable with and without braces. She currently sees Dr. Brissa Elorza twice a week and is seeing significant progress. Without braces, we are finally seeing a forward stride!
As grateful and optimistic parents, we ask you to please donate to Moody Clinic and support these necessary services in our community. The quality of service we currently receive at Moody Clinic is like no other. In such a short period, we have seen immense improvement and a boost of confidence in our daughter. We strongly feel that other parents going through similar circumstances would be blessed to receive the same local opportunity. Brownsville is fortunate to have an incredible place like Moody Clinic. We humbly ask you to please join us and help the children of South Texas. We don’t know what we would do without Moody Clinic.
Please donate today, and give the gift of therapy to another child like Luciana!