I bet if you are reading this you probably have a child (or yourself) in the throws of VERY stressful spinal checkups and bracing and you are thinking that the author of this title is a bit crazy (or insensitive). Well, read on…I only feel I have the right to say this because many years later, I am finally looking back on all those many stressful visits to the Orthopedic surgeon and now I can actually say that I DON’T lose sleep for nights before we go. It’s a novel concept. So, the point of this post is – there is HOPE! Many parents call me or email me (or post responses to blog posts) and it’s almost hard for them to get the words out – parents are so OVERWHELMED by this disease. And, most people that parents of Scoliosis patients (or the patients themselves) encounter do not get it – first off, many don’t know what Scoliosis is. And, when they find out, most cannot help but think “well, that’s not SO bad”. Hey, I get it – it’s not Cancer (thank the Lord). But, it is a VERY big deal when you first get a diagnosis and VERY stressful for a long time afterward. We just happen to FINALLY be at a point where we can breathe a sigh of relief. I call it the “eye of the Scoliosis hurricane”. We know there was a lot of difficulty behind us, and we know there is a good chance there will be ahead of us, but in the brief, calm respite in between, we will be thankful for a bit of peace.
We went last Friday for the kids’ checkups – for my daughter, it was 3 months post-surgical. Everything looks great. She still has a left shoulder that protrudes up a bit (and the muscles are very tight and her Mom needs to spend more time massaging them!). But, she is doing great otherwise. No pain, and very little tingling in the extremities. She is allowed to run and jump now! She was so happy, she ran out of the Doctor’s office and around the parking lot before we made the drive home. She is still not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds or twist, but running is fun when all you’ve been allowed to do is walk in straight line. As I mentioned in previous posts, the Doc is still not recommending any additional bracing. This will be the first summer in about 5 years that she can go without a brace! She can wear whatever she wants – tank tops, sundresses. Whew! She has earned it!
My son is also doing great. His curve has stayed about 12-15 degrees (down from 25 a couple years ago, thanks to proactive bracing and an expertly-made Rigo-Cheneau brace). He’s been down to this level for over a year. He only gets an x-ray once a year now, so the checkup was mainly visual and with the Scoliometer. The Scoliometer reading actually improved 1-2 degrees, so the Doc thinks he may be improving still! Because my daughter had weakened vertebrae from so many years bracing (an unfortunate side effect of a necessary treatment), we are not having our son do proactive nighttime bracing for the time being. While his curve is low, we want his spine to re-strengthen. So, that means no bracing for either one until a time that is to be determined. Wow. I have to say, tackling this S-word (Scoliosis) every day for the past 6 years has become a way of life for me. It is very odd to have the bracing and other aggressive therapies off our plate for now. (Along with the fear of surgery – a BIG stress off my plate).
Many of you reading this are just starting your journey, looking for answers. I want you to know that I understand where you have been – I’ve been there and I don’t minimize your struggle. I am here for you so you can learn from the mistakes and the triumphs we have had. And, I will continue to blog and communicate. But, I am also taking a little time to enjoy the “eye” of our storm…while it lasts.