Friday, July 13, 2012
Bailey shares her adolescent / young adult scoliosis surgery story
"I was diagnosed with scoliosis about 14 years ago, at the age of 12. None of my physicians before had even speculated that I could potentially be suffering from this disease. As a young adult, especially a female about to embark on her formidable middle school years, this news was a little hard to swallow. I would have to wear a back brace 22 hours a day both at home and at school. I wore this for 4 years, which led into my freshman year of high school. My mom has always told me that I had the best mentality about wearing the brace, but I think that was because I was aware that if I wore it for a few years, it would prevent my curve from progressing and I wouldn’t have to worry about having a deformity. I knew what I needed to do. When the day came that I took the brace off for the last time, I was elated. I met with my doctor and he informed me that because my bones had finished growing, I was in the clear for any serious future issues and I didn’t have to schedule any more appointments with him. I was free and in the clear to finish my high school career and any future endeavors brace-free! However, I had wished I been more concerned about follow-ups and just keeping a routine eye on my condition.
Eight years later, I started to have headaches that caused alarm because I don’t usually get them. My mom thought perhaps it had to do with my back, so we scheduled an appointment with my scoliosis doctor to see what he could tell us. I unfortunately wasn’t able to see him, but met with his P.A. where I was informed that my headaches weren’t caused by my scoliosis, but in the x-ray he had just taken he saw that my curve had progressed about 12 degrees. As you could imagine, this was a complete shock and was what I thought the brace for 4 years was in place to prevent. It was determined that I needed surgery. Not so much for the pain I had been enduring, but the thought of my curve progressing so much that I would have a deformity is the factor that meant the most to me. So after being referred to many doctors across the country, we found Dr. Hey and new immediately this was where I needed to be for my surgery. He and his staff were incredibly welcoming and patient in answering our many, many questions. I had never had stitches or broken bones before this surgery, and I really felt at ease and comfortable with the fact I was going to have this surgery with Dr. Hey.
Now, a year later I can honestly say that I am feeling the best I have in a long time. Knowing that my scoliosis is fixed and I won’t be twisting anymore is a priceless feeling, but in addition, I also don’t have any of the pain I was feeling before. The incision is also quite impressive. Scoliosis surgery is a pretty invasive surgery, and to have minimal scarring is icing on the cake. Any and everyone who has seen my scar are immediately shocked at how minimal it is. I did do about 3 weeks of regular physical therapy and have started back with yoga.
If I had to give advice to someone, particularly a young, adolescent girl, I would have to say be responsible for your body. As much as we as patients put trust into our physicians, it is our body that they are dealing with, and who knows it better than you. I feel like I perhaps dropped the ball when I was released from wearing my brace. My doctor never told me to have a follow-up appointment, so I didn’t think I needed to until my headaches started. The headaches were unrelated, but it made me aware of a 12 degree progression. Don’t let that happen to you. Stay aware of your body and take every precaution to make sure you catch the problem before they turn into something much more serious."