By the exclamation point following that title you might think that this news is something I am excited about. However, in reality, it is just a sign of the relief I feel just to have the date on the calendar. All of these years of waiting and fighting and wondering – we have a date set now for what will be the largest fight and the biggest question mark yet. March 17th, 2014. Hopefully the luck of the Irish will be with us on the next St. Patrick’s Day, because our beautiful will-be 12-year-old will be checking in to University of Michigan’s newly re-built Mott Children’s Hospital that morning for a Thoracic spinal fusion.
I am already very happy with the staff there – and I have only made one phone call! My daughter loves her new surgeon Dr. Li, and when I called the scheduler, she was so helpful. She even said that if we needed to call JUST FOR A PEP TALK OR MORAL SUPPORT that we should do so anytime and she will have a nurse call us. How wonderful for such a large, well-reputed hospital to go so far above and beyond. I feel comforted knowing that it seems that this hospital knows the significance of this surgery and that they will partner with us 100% of the way. Of course, I will be writing on the experience (if my daughter gives permission) and have faith that this will be the best balance of conservative surgical intervention and alternative therapies. We hope to fuse just the thoracic region (which, happily, is the part of our back we need to bend the least) and then, once she is healed, we will travel back to Luke at Orthotic Solutions for a new brace to be made. Yes, we plan to brace AFTER surgery (a suggestion of our Doctor as well). That way, we can keep the other parts of her spine from revolting against us and curving during her final growth spurts.
My daughter has been nothing short of an inspiration through all of this – she doesn’t complain about the bracing, about the exercises, about going into surgery, and about bracing again afterward. She just accepts that “not everything in life can be easy”. (She also doesn’t complain about her homework and daily chores, but that’s what all kids have to deal with) I’ve been truly blessed with a daughter like this and I know that she will take the next year in stride and to the best of her ability. She will probably handle it all better than her Mother!