If you know the saying; "Bent but not broken" then you will know what I'm talking about.
If not, then let me fill you in, scoliosis is what I'm referring to. My daughter Emilie was diagnosed with "Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis" in 2016. Her curve was already at 33 degrees when confirmed with her orthopedic. So, from there she was fitted with a brace that she was supposed to wear 23 hours a day! She cried, I cried, we fought, I pleaded for her to wear that blasted brace! "Baby, please! It will help you. If you don't wear it you will have to have surgery!" Guess what?? She didn't wear it like she should have worn it.
Fast forward to May 2018, there was no sense putting off the inevitable we needed to go see a surgeon.
First, yet another xray of my "curvy girl." The x ray shown, isn't that great. She has 2 major curves; thoracic was measured at 78 degrees, and her lumbar was measured at 45 degrees. Mind you, when found 2 years ago, she only had one curve. She grew and curved very quickly. And, wasn't wearing her brace.
So, we met with Dr. Lovejoy with Nemours Children's hospital and after a few more tests, she was scheduled for spinal fusion. Surgery date: June 21, 2018. I was a nervous wreck every single day!
Of course I needed before and after pics! These were taken only a couple days before surgery.
|The hump on the right is her ribs, her spine was also twisted
The day of surgery arrived and off we went to Orlando (only an hour from where we live) fasting as well. I fasted too, I felt it was unfair that the family could eat but she couldn't. I made Chris and Andrew eat in private, because we didn't have to be there until 11:30 am. I wasn't hungry anyway, I was a ball of nerves!!
Back we went, and found out surgery time was 1:47 pm. They gave her an IV and filled it with happy meds a few minutes before they took her back to surgery.
|Before the "happy meds"
Thank god for the meds they gave her, she was actually funny, when they wheeled her out.. giggling even. If it weren't for that, I would have cried like a baby! But, I held it together.. for now!
The hospital had this amazing app called: EASE. Basically a nurse would sit at the computer in surgery and keep me up to date on her surgery. The procedure would last between 3 to 5 hours.
|First message I received
About 15 minutes after the surgery and she was brought back to recovery, the surgeon came out to tell me how it went. He said, that it went really well and he was able to straighten her as much as he could. I'm keeping in mind, that her spine will NEVER be perfectly straight.
They had to fuse from T3 to L3.. below is a diagram to understand better..
I'm still doing good, keeping the tears at bay, but I really want to see my baby, and finally about 30 mins later Chris and I were able to go back!
I tell you what, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see! As soon, as I laid eyes on my sweet girl, I lost it. A nurse held my hand and told me that she did amazing and she will be just fine.
I took this picture right after my breakdown in the recovery room. I knew Emilie would want to see.
Soon, we were moved to a private room. And there my friends is where the funny parts happened.. At least until the drugs they gave her during surgery wore off. Below are a couple videos she allowed me to share!
This first video is when my sister and my niece came in to see Emilie right after recovery. Thankfully they came to watch Andrew, as he couldn't go into Pre-Op or recovery.
This video is of Emilie trying to send a hello video to her really worried BFF. But, she got sidetracked and remembered she missed her boyfriend Cameron
This video is of her explaining why Cameron's hugs are just so good!
And the last video is her talking to her BFF on speakerphone.
The next day some one from physical therapy came in and it was time to move! Here's where the brand new baby feeling comes in. I was horrified that she would slip, fall or twist!
But, she did amazing, we had to learn how to do what they call a "log roll" I really wished we practiced this at home before surgery!
I had planned to stay with Emilie while she was in the hospital. Chris and Andrew would drive home and make sure the dog was okay.
But, because Chris is such a wonderful dad and would do anything to make his little girl happy, the next day he brought Cameron (the boyfriend) with him!
|She looks sad, because it was time for Daddy and Cameron to leave
It was the single most terrifying process I've ever had to witness and I know there are children out there with much more terrible diseases. I can't even begin to imagine what their parents are going through.
|Emilie wanted to know what her back looked like.
She was admitted on Thursday and released on Sunday evening..
I was so scared to bring her home, even though I was so exhausted from being in that hospital for 3 nights. So off we went!
As of today, June 29th we are 8 days post op! She took her first shower today and her pain is minimizing every day! She is down to one 5mg of percocet a day.
I've been sleeping in her room with her. I was planning on moving out tonight, but she asked if I could stay one more night. Well, of course I can, how often does a 14 year old girl want their mom sleeping in her room? Almost never! So, I will be taking advantage of this bonding time with my baby!
Finally, an after picture of her back. I took this today 8 days after surgery! I'm so pleased with her posture, but she isn't! She needs to re-learn how to hold hold her back, it will take some time, but she will be straighter!
I wanted to share her journey with anyone who may be going through this. If you're at the early stages when your curvy girl has to wear a brace, please show her this! Emilie did finally admit that she should have worn her brace!
Getting a t-shirt made for her:
"I conquered spinal fusion and I'm all screwed up!"
Emilie, I want you to know that you are the bravest young lady I ever met!