Here We Go Again
Some of you may remember when my oldest daughter Mallory underwent spinal fusion surgery a couple years ago. She was born with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and by the time she became a teenager, the condition worsened. Generally, a 50 degree curve is classified as severe and surgery is recommended. Her final x-ray showed a curve of 85 degrees. So... I guess that's ultra-severe? Cases like her's are dangerous because the curve becomes so extreme that normal cardio and pulmonary functions are jeopardized.
Fortunately, we live in the shadow of the University of Iowa--home of the one of the leading spinal surgeons in the world. In March of 2012, Dr. Stuart Weinstein was able to "straighten her out" literally and she has made what can only be described as a complete recovery.
Unfortunately, we have to once again call on Dr. Weinstein. My youngest daughter Megan, who had a more mild case of scoliosis, has recently progressed into the same severe form as her older sister. Her most recent x-ray taken this past spring showed she had about a 50 degree curve. Since she's right in the middle of a growth spurt, that number will no doubt go up when she's x-rayed again prior to her scheduled spinal fusion surgery next week. While scoliosis affects something like 3% of people in the United States (9 million people), only 30,000 undergo spinal fusion surgery annually. I'm not sure of the stats on families who fall into the "repeat customer" category, but that's where we are!
After my wife Donna and I got over the initial "you've gotta be kidding me" stage, our emotions have bounced around from anger to sadness to fear and anxiety. I tell people that there's good news and bad news this time...
The good news: we know exactly what to expect.
The bad news: we know EXACTLY what to expect.
The surgery itself is a 6-7 hour procedure with a week stay in the hospital followed by a lengthy and restrictive recovery. For 6 months she's not allowed to: stretch, bend, twist, reach, jump, or fall. That means she can't tie her shoes, wash her hair, pick up something off the floor or lift anything more than 5 pounds. Until June 2015, we basically have to treat her as if she's an egg.
So next week, the journey begins.