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news News Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Wednesday, April 15, 2020 5:34 PM - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 5:34 PM

Patient with prosthetic makes huge steps forward in recovery

Mika's story

Patient with prosthetic makes huge steps forward in recovery

"Look at my new foot! I have toes!" Those were the first words Mika said on April 8, after being fitted with her very own customized purple prosthesis from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu.

“She was ecstatic to have a foot, and she just took off with her walker and was headed out the door!” Mika’s mom, Allison, said with a laugh. “It was very exciting. We couldn't wait to see her take her first steps again and become a little more independent,” she added.

The journey to Mika’s second “first steps” began nearly half a year earlier when Mika developed fulminant viral myocarditis a week before her third birthday. The rare heart condition required Mika to undergo emergency treatment at two different children’s hospitals, including Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford in California. Unfortunately, a complication resulted in the loss of Mika’s right foot.

As Mika’s heart health steadily improved, her parents’ concerns soon changed from whether or not their daughter would live, to whether she would ever be the active little girl she had always been. Sensing their fears, an orthopaedic surgeon at Lucile Packard recommended Allison and her husband, Mark, contact Shriners Hospitals for Children because of the organization’s “great” reputation in rehabilitation and prosthetic services.

Mika’s first appointment with Craig M. Ono, M.D., and the physical therapy department staff members at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital was in January 2020.

“It was a struggle in the beginning because Mika kept saying she didn't want to walk. She couldn't walk because she only had one foot. She said she wanted to walk like before, and she wanted her own foot back. It was very hard to hear those words from her,” Allison remembered. “But as we now know, Shriners [staff] won't accept negativity – or failure,” she added. “The team never entertained Mika's negativity. They just kept pushing forward.”

One way in which the Honolulu Shriners Hospital team helped inspire Mika to keep progressing was by involving the toddler in the creation of her new foot. “She said she wanted a purple foot from early on,” Allison said.

Keeping her daughter’s request in mind, Allison chose a design from the wide selection of child-themed prosthesis wraps in the pediatric orthotic and prosthetic services department.

“Mika said she didn't like the first design I chose,” Allison laughed. But after some browsing, Mika picked out the winning look – a light purple prosthetic decorated with mermaid kittens that connects to a purple and pink foot.

“As long as she will be able play, dance and hop, she is happy,” Allison said. Mika is on her way to do just that, Allison reported, thanks to the teamwork of all those who have been involved in her care at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital.

“The team has really pushed her and encouraged her,” Allison said. “Mika has a very strong personality, and when she doesn't want to do something, she will not do it. There were a lot of tears, and I'm sure more to come, but the Shriners [Hospitals] team has been so patient with Mika. They just keep pushing her to go farther and do more.”

To hear the progress Mika has made in three months is nothing short of extraordinary.

“When we first walked through the doors at Shriners [Hospitals for Children in] Honolulu, Mika wasn't standing, let alone walking. She was reserved and scared. She was very uncomfortable with herself. She didn't want anyone or anything touching her leg,” Allison said. “And now, she's walking! She can take a few steps without holding on to anything. It's amazing how Shriners Honolulu has helped Mika, and us, accomplish so much in so little time.”

Mika with therapistStaff members working with MikaStaff member working with Mika