Friday, August 3, 2012

Neavey’s Spine Saga: Part 1

A new Neavey saga, and the topic of a series of three (for now) new blog posts, started about a year and a half ago when we had our regularly scheduled 6-month check-in with Neavey’s orthopod (or bone doctor, as we sometimes refer to him).  The appointment was uneventful, and the doctor said we could wait a year to see him again. 

About 5 months later (in July of 2011) we noticed that Neavey was hunching over more and her body looked more crooked.  Neavey has always had very minor scoliosis, which the orthopod warned us might get worse when she hit puberty (Neavey turned 13 in April, 2012). We scheduled an appointment with the orthopod to have Neavey checked out.  At this appointment we got the news that Neavey's scoliosis had significantly worsened.  The doctor was alarmed by the fast progression and said that surgery could be necessary in the future.  He wanted us to meet with a spine surgeon soon to have Neavey evaluated and to hear options. He referred us to a surgeon that he described as one of the best in Houston and, “the one I would take my child to.”

Neavey's scoliosis xray from about
a year ago at her appointment with
the surgeon (two images merged).
Her spine has worsened considerably
since then.

We made an appointment immediately. The soonest they could see us was in  September. We dreaded the appointment for the 6 weeks or so until it occurred.  Once we met with the surgeon we actually felt relieved when he told us he thought he couldn’t help Neavey, that she wasn’t a good candidate for surgery and there was no effective treatment for her scoliosis. In fact, he was less concerned with her scoliosis than her kyphosis (basically a front to back curve, creating a hump effect or hunchback).

Neavey's kyphosis xray from
the same day

Normally, of course, hearing from your child’s doctor that “there is nothing we can do” isn’t exactly good news, but we mostly felt relieved she wouldn't have to undergo surgery. The doctor also said he suspected Neavey was nearly done growing, and he thought there was a good chance that the curves wouldn’t get that much worse anyway, which of course left us feeling still better.

We walked away from that appointment prepared, yet again, to let Neavey’s disease do to her what it would while we did for her all that we could, helping her stay as strong, happy, healthy and engaged as possible, for as long as possible.


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