21 April 2011

My sweet, curvy boy


DJ's X-ray
Originally uploaded by daniinnc2010
A couple weeks ago, I noticed DJ was slumping over as he was sitting on the edge of my bed. When I told him to sit up straight, he said he was. That prompted me to take a closer look at his back and I saw that he had a hump on the right side.

Two trips to the doctor and two sets of X-rays later, the diagnosis is scoliosis. Apparently, it is more common in girls, but of course we don't do anything normal. There is no way of knowing what caused it; 80% of scoliosis is idiopathic. The doctors speculated that it may be due to the massive growth spurt that DJ had over the past year.

The good news is that DJ only has one curve. It isn't as noticeable as if he had a corresponding curve at his hips. The bad news is that it is 59 degrees, which pretty much guarantees he will have to have surgery; they start looking at surgery for anything past 40 degrees. DJ will be fitted for a brace soon. The brace doesn't correct the curve but it can prevent it from progressing further. Basically, if the curve stays the same after a few months of wearing the brace then we may be able to put off surgery until he is 17. If the curve gets worse despite the brace, then he will probably be having surgery by the end of this year.

How do we feel about all of this? Isaac is acting like it is no big whoop. Perhaps he will be a little more upset after he gets the brace, which he has to wear for 23 hours a day. According to my research, he won't have to miss too many of his normal activities. My only concern in that area is that next year is when we will be taking the kids on another cruise, and DJ spends practically all his time in the water when we go on vacation. He won't be able to do that with a brace on.

As for me, I'm about as numb as I was when I found out about my MS. When DJ was born, the first time I looked at him I had this sense of foreboding that something would be wrong with him. We made it through his failure to thrive, his rickets, his brief skin sensitivity phase, and his bout with RSV. Since I've always seen this cloud of doom hanging over his head, I'm just relieved that the diagnosis isn't something worse. I know that the brace is going to be annoying to deal with and that recovery from surgery will be painful, but the upside is that at least a surgery exists to correct scoliosis. Furthermore, the surgery has improved vastly. As recently as 10 years ago, kids had to stay home for six months with a home health aide and learn how to sit up and walk all over again. Now the recovery time is more like four weeks, with patients moving around in the first week. I thank God that my son was born in a time with medical advances such as this.
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