Martha McCarthy

Martha McCarthy

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Martha has Life Changing Hip Surgery

Martha underwent bilateral femoral and pelvic osteotomies at the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital on Monday 13th June. The operation took two surgeons working simultaneously nearly six hours to complete. During this time they cut the head from both of Martha's femurs and repositioned the ball joint at the correct angle, cutting away approx. 1.5cm of bone from each femur. The right hip socket was then opened up and reconstructed using the bone taken from the femur. The ball joints were then relocated into the hip sockets and held together securely with a number of metal plates and pins. These are likely to stay in place but may need to be removed after a year if they cause discomfort. They also performed a tendon release on her right hamstrings which will hopefully help Martha to extend her leg fully.

Martha arriving on the ward after surgery

Martha spent two hours in the recovery area due to her temperature dropping during surgery. Once back on the ward, Martha's pain was managed by a combination of an epidural and intravenous (IV) morphine. She was also on IV fluids, regular paracetamol and her usual epilepsy medication.

The first few days were quite tough for Martha as she'd lost a lot of blood during the surgery and needed a blood transfusion. The morphine based pain relief (both epidural and IV) didn't agree with Martha - it made her very itchy and uncomfortable.

Day 3 with slightly more colour after transfusion

Once Martha was able to come off the epidural and IV medication on day 4 she really turned a corner. The nurses were able to successfully manage Martha's pain medication orally and she seemed so much better being able to finally get into her chair and go to the ward play room for some fresh air. Martha also spent some time with the ward play specialists and even went to the ward class room for a short time.

IV free and enjoying the ward play area

Martha was discharged from the hospital after 6 days and has spent the last few weeks recovering at home. She has had regular visits from the community nurse to change her dressings and from her community physio to see how her legs are recovering (we aren't expecting to start intensive physio until after she has seen her consultant at the beginning of August).

Happy to be welcomed home

Martha and her family would like to thank everyone at the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital who cared for Martha so well during her time with them. We couldn't have asked for anything better and we are really grateful that the NHS is able to provide this sort of life changing operation for children like Martha.

We are very optimistic about the future, with the restrictions of Martha's old hips now gone we have every hope that she will be able to start standing, taking steps and transferring between chairs/equipment in the future.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Easter Fun with “Oliver” at South Hill Park

Martha took advantage of her Easter break to attend a matinee performance of Oliver with her sister and dad at our fantastic local arts centre South Hill Park. Martha’s talented mum, Angela, was in the band for the production - skilfully playing the violin. Martha had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the show. So much so that she “sang along” to most of the musical numbers – this added to Martha’s enjoyment of the show but perhaps not so much for the audience members sitting close to her J

Martha on an Easter trip to Windsor with her mummy, daddy and sister.

Martha's Magic Quiz 2016

Martha’s family and supporters turned out in impressive numbers for what has now become Martha’s annual fundraising event. We had lots of very positive feedback from people who attended and we have raised enough money to pay for a full three week period of daily  intensive physiotherapy at the Footsteps Centre in Oxford and some weekly privately funded physiotherapy at home. Martha really benefits from these and they will be even more vital if Martha has to have surgery on her hips later this year.
Martha's Mum thanking everyone for supporting Martha

A full house at Martha's Magic Quiz


Martha’s Health in the Spotlight

Martha has a number of on-going health issues that have taken some attention in the last few months. These have required travel to multiple hospitals, seeing many consultants and having numerous medical tests. At the beginning of 2016 Martha had a number of visits to the Chelsea and Westminster to further investigate her recurring kidney infections. Martha had a “nuclear medicine” test where they inject nuclear material and then monitor its journey through her body. We are pleased to report that Martha’s kidneys were given a clean bill of health during this process, but we are still working hard to keep the infections at bay. Martha also attended the Nuffield Orthopaedic hospital in Oxford around the same time to review the on-going problems she has with her hips. Further X-rays and a CT scan were carried out and we expect to have the results and a plan of action from the consultant shortly. We have also been working to try and better control Martha’s epilepsy.

Martha and Orla in Martha's Bed

Martha still has multiple seizures each day, despite being on the maximum dose of her current  medication - Epilim. Following a review with her epilepsy consultant we have agreed to try a different medication (Keppra) to see if this will better control Martha’s seizures. We are currently in the transition phase of introducing the new medication and will start to reduce the original medication shortly. We are hoping that this will reduce Martha’s seizures to a level where they are not impacting her day to day life, as this will hopefully promote her development.

Family Visit to Robin Hood

Martha and her family attended a matinee of the Quince Players 2016 pantomime Robin Hood. Martha’s parents were both involved in the production and Martha attended the performance with twenty of her family for a fun afternoon of comedy, music and dance. As always, Martha thoroughly enjoyed the event and we are always grateful to the Quince Players for their on-going support for Martha and our family.  

Martha was awarded Star of the Week at school

Martha Turns Nine Years Old

Martha turned 9 years old on 16th January and had a lovely day with her family opening presents and having a birthday cake and party food.

Martha having fun on her birthday

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Martha's Poorly Over Christmas

Martha was poorly over Christmas and spent several days from Boxing Day in Frimley Park Hospital.

Martha in Hospital
Martha had a NG tube fitted so that she could be rehydrated while the hospital staff worked out which antibiotics would be right for Martha.

Martha is now feeling a lot better and has returned to school for the start of term.

Martha will be going for further tests at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital later in January to continue investigating her on going medical issues.

Dick Whittington with Peapods

Martha and her family attended the annual Peapod's visit to the pantomime in Reading, this year Dick Whittington, starring Martha's friend Justin Fletcher.

Martha with Justin Fletcher
After the performance Martha and family got to meet Justin Fletcher. Justin talked about their day together filming for his latest series of Something Special to be shown on Cbeebies from January 2016.

Fun at the Sebastian's Action Trust Christmas Party

Martha and her sister really enjoyed the annual Sebastian's Action Trust Christmas party, this year held at Northcote House in Sunningdale Park.

Martha and Orla making hats and having faces painted
The party was themed around Alice in Wonderland and Martha and Orla were able to take part in craft activities, a photo booth, have afternoon tea and get a present from the Mad Hatter.

We'd like to thank Sebastians's Action Trust for inviting us to their party and for their continued support.

Martha Stars in the BBC's Something Special

Martha was chosen to take part with her Mummy and sister in the Cbeebies television programme Something Special with Justin Fletcher.

Martha, Orla and Mummy with Justin Fletcher
The family spent the day filming on location at Val Wyatt Marine in Wargrave and had much fun on the boats with the film crew and Justin.

The finished programme will be aired on Cbeebies as part of the 10th series of Something Special starting January 2016.

Martha Enjoys a Day at the Beach with Peapods

Martha and family enjoyed the annual trip to the south coast with Peapods who arranged to hire a beach wheelchair to allow Martha and the other disabled children easier access to the beach and sea.

Martha and her family would like to thank everyone at Peapods for their continued support

Martha and Mummy on the beach

Martha's Summer Holiday

Martha enjoyed spending time with some Disney friends during her summer holidays.

Martha meeting Belle

Martha and family meeting the top mouse