Jake and Jamie Wenisch and their sons, Brody, 5, and Kasen, 2.

Brody hopes for his ‘best day ever’

When he can walk again!

Five - year - old Brody Wenisch loves Monster trucks, Batman and Wonder Woman action figures and cartoons.  He likes to color pictures, ride in the combine with Grandpa Darrell, and play catch with his Daddy. 

“Brody pitches to his Daddy. He has a very good arm,” said his mother, Jamie Wenisch, during a recent interview.

He cannot, however, run and play like most youngsters.  “He’ll never be able to participate in physical sports,” said his mother.  “As he grows older it will become more difficult because he will want to participate in active sports with his friends. I think that will be hard.”

Brody is suffering from bilateral hip dysplasia caused by a connective tissue disorder that has caused deformation / misalignment of his hip joints. 

 “You look at him and you don’t see what’s physically wrong, but inside his body is a mess,” said his mother.  

 The little boy seems to have accepted his ailments, but he looks forward to better days. “The best day ever,” he says will be when he can walk again.

What Brody’s parents, Jake and Jamie Wenisch, expected for their son — surgery, eight weeks in a cast and a few months of recovery —  has turned into more than a year-long journey with more to come. 

The journey actually began on July 2, 2011, when Brody was born with a club foot. Clubfoot describes a range of foot abnormalities usually present at birth in which baby’s foot is twisted out of shape or position. Clubfoot is a fairly common birth defect and is usually an isolated problem for an otherwise healthy newborn. Doctors are usually able to treat clubfoot successfully without surgery, though sometimes children need follow-up surgery later on. Clubfoot and flatfeet can also be signs of a connective tissue disorder. 

The Wenisches consulted with doctors at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.  Their baby was only 13 days old when his foot was placed in a cast.   

At the age of six months, Brody had surgery to release a tendon in his heel of his foot. 

“Brody had flatfeet and he didn’t start walking until he was almost 19 months old,” said his mother.   When doctors were evaluating his flatfeet, the diagnosis of connective tissue was made.  “It was a shock. We weren’t expecting that at all,” said Jamie.  “Brody always complained that his legs hurt,” said his mother.  “He would play outside for about half an hour and he would be done,” added his father.  The Wenisches thought their baby’s flatfeet were causing the knee pain, when in actuality it was caused by the connective tissue disorder in his knees or hips.

Last August, Brody was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. Both of his hip joints were dislocated because of a connective tissue disorder. He needed surgery to correct the problem.

On October 27, Brody had his first hip surgery to put his left hip back into its socket and his body placed in a spica cast.  A hip spica cast is a sort of orthopedic cast used to immobilize the hip or thigh.  Brody calls it his “naughty cast.”   He spent four days in Children’s Hospital where he had help with pain management, while his parents learned how to manage the spica cast. “It was a very difficult time,” said his parents.   

On November 12 Brody had surgery to repair his right hip. He was hospitalized five days for pain management.  

On November 25, Brody had a new spica cast put on his body. 

On December, 23, Brody was freed from the spica cast. 

Unfortunately, on January 28, 2016, Brody’s right hip dislocated again and he went back to Children’s Hospital for another surgery to tip the femur bones in both hips to get them back into the correct position. He was hospitalized six days. Along with the surgery came eight more weeks in a spica cast. He was very weak after being in the cast for 16 weeks.

Brody had yet another surgery on March 3, 2016, to fix the right hip bone and make a defined socket.

On April 12, Brody was freed of the spica cast once again. 

He is currently in intense physical therapy twice a week to relearn how to crawl, walk and run and to strengthen his muscles.   “Now he is able to walk with a walker,” said his father.  “Or he can walk by holding onto a piece of furniture,” added his mother. 

Later this year, Brody will have another surgery to remove the screws and plates in his hips.   In the future he will need to have his knees and the balls of his femurs replaced due to deterioration of the bones.

. Genetic testing is being done to identify the type of connective tissue disorder. There is no cure for the connective tissue disorder, said his mother, and he will likely be involved in a program physical therapy all of his life.  


Benefit planned for

Wenisch family

A benefit for the Jake and Jamie Wenisch family will be held Monday evening, August 15, at the Springfield Golf Club.

Brody Wenisch is a student in Amber Kretsch Vogel’s pre-school class at Springfield Public School.   His teachers, “Miss Amber”, Crystal Plaster and Jennifer Zollner, and a friend, Kori Lang, are organizing the benefit that includes burger and hot dog meals, a silent auction, and superhero games for kids. Brody is a superhero fan, so kids are invited to wear their favorite superhero costume.  There’ll be a variety of items offered in the silent auction including gift baskets, merchandise and services.  The public is invited to participate in all events. 

“The Wenisch family has made many trips to Children’s Hospital, they went from a two-income- family to one because Jake needed to leave his job to care for Brody and his specialized medical needs,” said the teachers.  And, even though the Wenisches have health insurance, there are medical bills not covered by insurance. 

It was not a difficult decision to decide who would stay at home to care for the children, noted Jake.  “I have a bad back. I couldn’t physically lift Brody,” Jamie said.   “We hope Jake can go back to work in October,” she noted, but that depends upon Brody’s future. Jamie is employed at Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield, working in health information, a job she has held for six years. 

“We are so thankful for those teachers who came to us and are willing to arrange this benefit, and get us to accept the help. They knew we wouldn’t ask for help. It’s difficult to ask for help,” said Jamie.  “We are very grateful and so humbled by everyone’s love and kindness.”

“When people come to us and ask what they can do for us, we ask for prayers,” Jamie concluded. “Prayers have gotten us through this far.”









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