Maddie Brown Brush Defends Daughter's Foot Amputation Surgery: 'Not a Lighthearted Decision'
The Sister Wives star opened up on Instagram Tuesday about her and husband Caleb Brush's decision to have their daughter — who was diagnosed before birth with oligodactyly, a congenital anomaly defined as the presence of fewer than five fingers on a hand — undergo surgery as a result of the condition.
" 'You cut her foot off?' 'If she was functional, why did you amputate?' 'Wait, where is her foot?' 'Was it really necessary to cut her foot off?' These are all questions I have received since Evie's surgery," began Brown Brush, 24. "I understand the questions and at first glance, I would ask the same thing."
The reality star went on to explain the nuances of her daughter's specific case that led her and her husband to decide in favor of amputation — namely, the fact that they "were looking at the possibility of a dramatic difference" as she grows in her tibia bones, the left of which was "about 1/3 shorter than her right" and "bowing."
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"Some families and people opt for a lengthening surgery, but Miss Evie's difference was in the grey area of if that was even possible or not," Brown Brush continued. "With at least 4 major surgeries and the possibility of having to amputate in the end, we chose a Boyd amputation."
"This was not a light-hearted decision, we spent the better part of the last year educating ourselves, talking to doctors, prosthetists, other families, and other amputees as we came to the decision we did," added the mom of two.
Brown Brush — who also shares son Axel James, 3, with her husband — admitted that she "classified amputees as one category" before her daughter's experience, explaining of her thought process, "You amputated because there was no way of saving the limb."
"I think that goes along with #limbdifference education," she said. "Sometimes it's about quality of life. Due to this, I wanted to give a more in-depth explanation and answer all at once. I hope it will all bring awareness to a part of the #limbdifference world."
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Aside from the bowed tibia (shinbone), when Evie was born, she was also missing a thumb and a toe, and one leg was missing a fibula (calf bone). Additionally, two of her fingers were fused together.
Last October, Brown Brush shared with PEOPLE that she and Brush were "shocked" at their daughter's diagnosis of fibular aplasia, tibial campomelia and oligosyndactyly (FATCO) syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects bone formation in utero. The family had to wait until Evangalynn turned 1 to find out the best way to treat her, the TLC star previously told PEOPLE.
Brown Brush shared the news of Evie's surgery to Instagram on Aug. 24. In the photo, the baby's left leg and right arm were bandaged as her mom held her in her arms in the hospital. The reality star also revealed that Evie was home and "recovering beautifully" after her procedures.
"Evie received some major gifts for her 1st birthday," Brown Brush wrote on Instagram. "Her surgeon laid the groundwork for her new foot and mobility it will bring, by way of a boyd amputation. Another gave her some extra mobility in her hand, by clipping her webbing she had in her right hand."