Saturday, September 3, 2011

Orthopediatic Outlook - Stormy Skies Ahead

I am still processing the results of my latest orthopedic appointment emotionally but mentally know what has to happen. The little kid inside me, however, swings back and forth between, "this needs to happen," and, "NO!" I'm about to send my emotional self to her room to finish out the tantrum.

The latest appointment was to go over the findings of a series of x-rays. There is a little osteoarthritis setting into my shoulder; not surprised. My short leg is 14mm shorter than my long leg; hasn't changed. My spine has become unstable. WHAT?!? Yes, unstable. After over 2 decades of stability it is collapsing. Gravity is no longer my friend. I am an adult staring into the abyss of corrective spinal surgery. I hated hearing the words Harrington Rods spoken aloud after so many years of believing I escaped their cold surgical steel clutches.

But. mentally, I knew this was coming. I could feel it in the increasing pain and unidentified anxiety. The strange "you are too young for this" diagnosis of bursitis just 3 weeks ago that prompted me to demand a new spinal evaluation. The knowledge that gravity works and it was only a matter of time before the curves increased. The nurse who laughingly refused to remeasure my height last year when it was 1/2 inch shorter than I knew it should be. I knew. But I refused to accept.

Now, I have no choice. My curvatures are each over 60 degrees. This is no longer a case of avoiding surgery but needing to embrace it before my spine kills me. Some of my internal organs are in danger of being damaged. There is a potential I will break a rib on my hip bone - good thing I have strong bones! Straightening my spine will also eliminate pain, correct problems with my hips and shoulder, and on the petty side I'll be MUCH taller (at least 3 inches) and no longer be 5 pounds overweight for my height. Hey, I have to find a ray of sunshine in this somewhere :)