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Sarah—Clearfield, UT

There were a lot of events that led up to my having Scoliosis surgery. In the sixth grade a district nurse checked all the girls in gym class for Scoliosis. A letter was sent home to my parents saying that I had a slight curve in my back that should be checked on. My dad took me to a Chiropractor who said my curve was not serious and that it could be treated with some adjustments. But my family moved to Utah before we could make an appointment.

In 7th grade, I was checked for Scoliosis again but this time the letter never made it to our mailbox. Eighth grade rolled around and I went to see the pediatrician for a track physical and shots. The doctor saw my curve and took an x-ray of my back. He told my mom I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon and gave us a few names. One of those doctors referred us to Dr. John Smith.

I went to see Dr. Smith. He looked at my x-rays and talked with my parents. He asked me if I ever felt awkward while running or playing sports. I said I had always been clumsy but I thought that was just me. He asked if I had any back pain, but I said I just had the normal aches and pains from a hard day or so I thought. I told Dr. Smith that I noticed the legs of my shorts were always different lengths but since I wore mostly cutoffs I figured I had just cut them wrong. Also my posture drove my mom crazy. She would always tell me to stand up straight.

Dr. Smith told my parents and I that I had a 45-degree curve and that we had two choices: 1. Wait and see if it progressed which it had a high likelihood of doing, or 2. I could have surgery. We went home that night and talked about the options. My mom joined an internet group and so did I. I joined a teen group where you could chat or post things. I didn't do a lot of talking but I listened. My mom and I even visited iScoliosis.com. After all our researching we decided I should go ahead and have the surgery.

Last December (2001) I got to the hospital really early and had some blood samples taken. It was kind of a rough morning because I found my cat dead earlier that morning. At the hospital they weighed me and took my blood pressure. In the hospital waiting room I played video games and started to watch the movie "Shrek" I don't remember but my dad says I said goodbye to him and talked to my anesthesiologist. What I do remember is waking up from the surgery. There were a lot of bright lights and loud voices. All I kept thinking and saying was I wanted quiet, my glasses, and my dad.

In the recovery room I tried to watch TV but was worn out and in some pain. The chest tube in me felt like a chunk of lead. I wanted the pain button right next to me, I was afraid it was going to roll out of my reach. The day after my surgery my dad went home for a little while to tell my family how I was and I watched "Cartoon Network." It took me an hour to realize it was in Spanish and I didn't understand a thing they were saying!

The afternoon after my surgery they moved me to a more private room. My mom came to see me with my 6-month old baby brother. On Sunday, my whole family came including my other two brothers and my sister. My 7-year old brother was full of questions and had fun raising and lowering my bed. My 13-year old sister, who is my best friend, was kind of shy about the whole thing, but I was glad to see her. While they were visiting, we watched movies and I enjoyed that.

I normally enjoy eating (I am sometimes referred to as a pig!) but I didn't have much of an appetite, not even for chocolate pudding with whipped cream. I went home Monday night after being in the hospital over four days. Every bump and turn of the ride home hurt. I was very glad to get back to my own bed. I only missed a little bit of school because of the Christmas holidays and actually got a chapter ahead of my math class! I came back 3 days after school resumed, and only went half a day the first day in case it was too hard on me. It was funny walking down the halls and having friends run up to me and saying "Sarah I didn't know you were back!" The only annoying part is not being able to do track or other sports. I can't do much of anything for 6 months.

I have to say; if I had to do it all over again I would still have the surgery. If I could totally change the past I would go back to 6th grade when we got the first letter and get treatment, and I know my parents would too. If we had treated my Scoliosis earlier I may not have had to have surgery. But I feel very blessed to be able to live in this time, where there is technology available to help fix Scoliosis.

After reading this please keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, or nerve damage are some of the potential adverse risks of spinal surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information.

  • Published: May 21, 2002
  • Updated: July 31, 2008