Most Moms have experienced the big, bad, dark torment of Mom guilt at one point or another in her life as a Mom. It’s practically unavoidable. But, in the world of Scoliosis, when there are so many choices for our child’s path, we set ourselves up for a special brand-name Scoli guilt – and, possibly it’s successor – regret. I am kind of in a puddle of the mucky mom guilt right now – and I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into regret later, but it will be some time before I can tell.
I didn’t talk much about our latest bracing adventure for my son because it’s been much too crazy and emotional of a Spring for me (for many reasons). However, it’s past time for a recap. I’ll just start by saying that my son grew nearly 7 inches last year! No joke. His previous brace was way too small, but we all know that insurance only covers one per year, so we waited. Thankfully, his upper curve stayed in the high teens and his lower curve in the mid 20s, so I felt pretty good about how he weathered that growth spurt. However, we anticipate another big year of growth and the Doc wants him to keep bracing at night. Well, the dilemma we faced was this: due to insurance changes, we were looking at close to $5,000 out-of-pocket, plus travel expenses, to go to Luke at National Scoliosis Center. Now, let me just say that he is worth every penny and more, and I still highly recommend that families go there if they can. But, we were still faced with a dilemma. With the amount of growing years left, we could be faced with out-of-pocket expenses equaling a year or more of college. How do we choose? With our son’s curves being so low, could we forego the “Corvette” model brace for one that might still do the job and not cost us out of pocket?
I did some pretty extensive research and decided we would stick close to home this time and I thought that where we were thinking of going would still treat the Scoliosis condition in the 3D rotation. I really wanted something better than the traditional Boston brace. However, what we ended up with is essentially a Boston brace, with some additional pads put in to help rotation. Not really what I expected and definitely not nearly as comfortable as what we were used to from Luke’s braces. And, no doubt it is not nearly as effective. *sigh* My son is not very happy, but he’s tolerating it and he knows that we made this choice purely to manage both his curve and our finances as much as possible. We took a gamble, and we won’t know if it will pay off until our year is over. If his curve increases, we will definitely return to National Scoliosis Center – the quality just cannot be beat. But, it’s so hard not knowing. We want to give our kids the best of EVERYTHING, but sometimes we just can’t. Or, we can in the moment, but it would be at the risk of something else in the future. It bothers me how it seems that the best treatments for Scoliosis are also the most expensive because insurance companies don’t recognize the benefit of the newer and better treatments. And, the immensely talented Orthotists like Luke need to get compensated for their time and talents.
For me, it came down to this: when moving from point A to point B, both a corvette and a jalopy can get you there. The corvette may be more reliable and the ride smoother, but you’d have nothing to spend on a house when you got to point B. The Jalopy may emphasize every bump along the way and make you nervous that you won’t arrive safely, but, chances are, you will get to Point B and still have money left for a mortgage. OK, my son’s current brace is a little bit better than a Jalopy, but you get my point. Sometimes we Moms have to compromise – and, it kills us to do so. And, even if we know we made the best decision for right here and right now, we still worry – have we done enough? I guess I will see at his 6-month checkup. Until then, I can’t look back. I will just have to await the learning experience that is to come and trust in my prayers and my instincts as a Mom.