Oscar’s spine surgery is one month from today, on February 8th. He was first diagnosed with scoliosis when he was two, a minor 10 degree curve that “just” needed quarterly monitoring. Seven or eight orthopedic surgeons (in five different hospitals and three different states) and two stints of bracing later, he’s progressed to a 39 degree primary curve with a 38 degree upper compensatory curve. On the x-rays his spine looks like a giant S-shaped snake.
Fully clothed his scoliosis is hard to discern. His duck-footed walk is more related to PWS. The enormous dent in his side, just above his left hip, is only apparent when he removes his shirt. But, when he leans to touch (or not touch) his toes, the right half of his back is raised significantly. As the doctors keep reminding me, scoliosis is a three dimensional phenomenon, so O’s spine is not just bent, but twisted too.
And so we are headed to NYC at the beginning of February where Drs. Antonacci, Betz and Cuddihy (ABC for short) will perform a relatively new procedure called vertebral tethering. The tethering, as opposed to the more traditional rod, will correct Oscar’s lower curve with tension with the hope that the upper compensatory curve will “fall in line.”
I’d taken a hiatus from writing (you’d noticed, right?!) but the surgery is unearthing the emotional current from which my writing usually flows. And so here I am again. Stay tuned.