The road to recovery has allowed Reggie Fast to find new hobbies and interests, such as cooking. (Photo courtesy of Deanna Wood)

The road to recovery has allowed Reggie Fast to find new hobbies and interests, such as cooking. (Photo courtesy of Deanna Wood)

Perthes surgery brings family closer togehter, brings unexpected changes

After over a year of recovery, Reggie Fast is heading back into surgery this summer, this time to remove the hardware installed when doctors repaired his left hip.

Reggie underwent surgery at the BC Children’s Hospital about one year ago to realign his left thigh bone, due to complications of Perthes Disease, a rare childhood condition that restricts blood supply to the head of the femur. When this happens, the bone cells die (called avascular necrosis).

During the surgery performed, a femoral derotation osteotomy, surgeons rotated the thigh bone to alleviate the restriction and allow blood flow back into the area. The bones are currently held together with a plate and screws.

The expectation was that Reggie would be in a wheelchair for 12 to 18 months, but, thanks to a fast-healing body, he spent just three months in a wheelchair, and has been cross-country skiing, biking and swimming to keep active. He also likes playing on the monkey bars.

“I can skip two bars,” Reggie told The Times. “I do as many as I can skip, I try to see how far I can go.”

He added he looks forward to possibly doing gymnastics in the future, as he likes the flips and doing cartwheels.

“It’s been hard,” said Deanna Wood, Reggie’s mother. “I as a mom know that it’s totally taking a toll on him.”

She added they’ve had to deal with other issues too, such as Reggie’s headaches, anemia and tiredness from the recovery. They also had an emergency x-ray performed because he was feeling pain in his other hip, but it still looks good, said Wood.

It’s also taken a toll on Wood, having to tell her child he can’t do things other kids are doing, like playing soccer. She recalls a moment when they dropped off his brother at soccer practice. Reggie looked at her and said he couldn’t wait until he is able to run and jump.

“He said, ‘I do but I know I shouldn’t right now. I can’t wait till I can do it and not have to worry about doing it,’” Wood recalled. “Just freedom.”

Despite the lows, Reggie’s journey to recovery has brought the family closer together, said Wood. They’ve recently started a hobby farm, and she noted it’s been a wonderful experience for the kids, learning empathy and responsibility.

An unexpected change, said Wood, is Reggie’s excelled in school. He had always been a good student, but Reggie has pushed himself academically and been a good support for his classmates as well.

“Ms. Endacott (Reggie’s teacher) said he’s just been a superstar at school,” said Wood. “He’s so excited to learn.”

Reggie’s upcoming surgery will be removing the hardware, and, as the area heals, the hope is his femur will re-grow and allow him to perform high-intensity activities again such as running and jumping. It’s unsure at this time whether Reggie will need to be in a wheelchair once more or if crutches will be needed, though the surgery itself is supposed to be much easier than the previous one.

The family will be heading back to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, hopefully for the last time.

“Hopefully his recovery will be quite fast and I hope we never have to see Children’s Hospital again,” said Wood.

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