Brooke’s Jumping for joy

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SIX MONTHS on and Carnoustie girl Brooke Ramsay is exceeding expectations after recovering from a life-changing operation.

Brooke (8) underwent a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol in July and at gait analysis to check on her progress, her parents had quite a surprise.

Dad Stewart Ramsay explained: “Sheila Gibbs, who was doing the gait assessment said that if it wasn’t for the names at the top of the sheets, she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Brooke and Amy.

“What they do is attach sensor units to the various muscle groups and when they play back the images on computer, they have an option to play just the sensors which make a stick figure.

“When you compare it to the pre SDR footage, it really emphasises the progress she has made.

“It’s a reminder for us of how far she’s come on.”

However, months of hard physio appeared to take its toll, and Brooke’s parents noticed a plateau in her progress.

Stewart added: “The gait analysis was better than we expected to be honest. We knew she’d been making steady progress, but this has been an eye-opener.

“Basically, over the last month we felt there was a bit of a plateau in her progress.

“There was a definite change in her attitude. She wasn’t mucking about or anything, but there wasn’t the same effort going in, she was a bit tired and fed-up, so we took steps.

“Her consultant sent her a very encouraging e-mail, and because Brooke is the kind of person who likes to please, it worked and we saw this steady progress return.”

On Monday evening, Brooke surprised her parents by going all out in their home gym after coming home from an hour of swimming-based physio.

Brooke spent around 15 minutes each on her treadmill, stepper and stationary bike.

Stewart said: “The amazing thing was, it was her idea. We don’t want to overload her, but she wanted to so away she went.

“That was nearly two hours of hard work. Obviously, before the operation, she just wouldn’t have had the movement to do all that, or the muscle strength to do that.”

In January, Brooke will be continuing her horse-riding physiotherapy at The Brae riding centre.

Stewart said: “We’ve been lucky and given a 12-week slot at the Brae in January. It’s enjoyable for her, but the benefits to her posture and her strength are there to be seen.”

This was especially apparent last week, when Brooke and her sister Amy participated in the Stage Stars Christmas dance and drama show at the Dibble Tree Theatre.

Stewart said: “It’s like with her running. She couldn’t get the movement right before. When she ran it was just a fast walk, but we’ve had her running and at that show with all those different moves, although we could see a slight difference, anyone else would be hard pressed to see it. She did really well.”

Things are looking positive for Brooke and her parents are looking forward to their next official assessment in January, when they will return to Frenchay Hospital to meet the team there.

Stewart said: “The next big step is the six-month assessment in Bristol, which will hopefully show that we’re on the right track. If all goes as well as it has over the last six months, we’ll be laughing.”