Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I have scoliosis

I was born with bony deformities in my spine and ribs which caused a progressive curvature of my spine. It was discovered at age 9 months. As I grew, the curve grew worse and worse. At ages 3 and 11 yrs, I had spinal fusions. The purpose of these surgeries was to halt the growth of the spine and therefore the curve progression.

My back looks a bit like the one pictured here, except that my left shoulder is even lower and head tilted more. As a result of both the curves in my spine and the surgeries that I had I am shorter than average. I am 4 ft. 10 in. tall. The only real limitation I have is that my lung capacity is reduced. I get winded walking up two flights of stairs. (by being winded I mean that I have to stop walking because I feel like I'm about to keel over.)

I've never had pain due to scoliosis, though some do, so I count myself as very fortunate in that regard. These days, there are exciting surgical options for kids with scoliosis that actually straighten the curve. I have watched some TV shows about these new procedures and I think it is just wonderful what they can do now. Since I am fused pretty much up and down my spine, I'm stuck with mine. (that's okay with me).


Priscilla said...

Wow! I admire you for posting that. You sound like a totally awesome person to keep persevering through the trials.

God is good isn't he?

My own father is a survivor of polio and my mother is a suvivor of spinal bifita...I admire them too!

Tracy said...

Well, you come from a unique family too don't you? Is your mom pretty disables with spina bifida? does she have some paralysis?

Priscilla said...

Actually...my mother was very fortunate. She was able to walk all her life and people really didn't notice a problem. She is not able to turn her head as freely as most people. For example, she cannot look over her shoulder by turning her head. She can turn her head to the side, but then she must pivot her shoulders to look behind her. The funny thing is, I never noticed this until someone pointed it out to me while I was in my early 20's!

She did have a curved spine which left one of her hips slightly lower than the other...and she has always been short of breath and never could really run or anything like that. As she has grown older, her diaphram stopped functioning because it grew rigid. About 4 years ago she was put on oxygen 24 hrs a day. She carries a tank of oxygen with her wherever she goes. She also must sleep sitting up. All these things are the result of spinal bifita coming back to haunt her.

Overall...she was very blessed and fortunate to be as able as she was!

Martha said...

Wow, Priscilla, your parents sound alot like mine! (Oh, yeah, they are mine.) funny, I never thought much about Mom looking over her shoulder that way until you wrote that and I'm 42. Our mom actually has the rarest type of spina bifida there is. The hole in her spine developed (high between her shoulder blades), and she also had a sac on the outside of her back, which they tied off when she was born, but the spinal cord remained inside of her spinal column where it belonged. This is why she has no paralysis and could function normally most all her life. I never thought either, about the fact that both of my parents had rather severly noticable blemishes to their bodies. Mom has a big pit in her back and Dad's left leg (I think it's the left one) is shorter and shrunken. They were always perfect to me.

Tracy said...

I don't know much about spina bifida, but the few people that I have known with it were paralyzed. Thanks for the explanation.

I've never really thought of myself as disabled, there's just not another word to use... I just know that it's something obvious about me that people notice when they meet me. I shared it here because it's kind of integral to the story I'm telling. I included it in my profile on Matchmaker because I figured it was only fair that people know something that would be obvious if they met me. I didn't want anyone to think that I was hiding something on purpose when they found out later. Also, I decided I really didn't want to bother writing to someone who was bothered by it. I also am not bothered by questions, but people feel uncomfortable asking them, you know?

Priscilla said...

Yeah...I could see that. Thanks for explaining it, Mart. I don't think much about Mom having spinal bifita...and I know what you said was told to me, but I couldn''t remember.

Yes...it is Dad's left leg. How funny it is that we have to stop and think about these things...because you are right, they were perfect to me too. I never saw the blemishes unless I thought about it, which I rarely did.

I think this is a great illustration of how God sees us. Perfect. Tracy, you are perfect to Him!

Hmmm. I can't think of any questions. If I think of one, I will be sure to ask.