Recently, my son wrote a personal essay as part of the writing workshop experience at school and he decided he wanted to share this essay with the world. The essay is about his journey with congenital scoliosis. Well, I have never been prouder to turn my blog over to someone else... our guest blogger this time around is my son, Paul, and his piece is entitled...
My Curved Journey
When I was eight months old I was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis. When I started sitting up my parents noticed that I kept leaning to the right. My mom kept trying to sit me up straight but I kept tilting (my dad thought I was still learning to sit up properly but he was in denial). That is when my parents decided to bring me to the doctor to get my back checked out. The doctor examined me, took an X-Ray and discovered that five of my vertebrae were connected on one side. That was the beginning of my curved journey - my scoliosis journey - which includes my first surgery when I was 16 months old and my recent VEPTR surgeries.
Scoliosis is when your spine curves abnormally. Instead of your spine going down in a line it looks more like a "C" or an "S." Some kids get scoliosis when they are 12 or 13 but I was born with it, which is why it is called congenital scoliosis. Congenital means to be born with something. Congenital scoliosis is tough to deal with because for the kids who have it, they have many years to grow, which is why it is a curved journey.
After I was diagnosed the doctor kept an eye on my curve for a few months. When the curve got worse, it was time for my first surgery. When I was 16 months old I had a partial spinal fusion, which means that the doctor stuck together 5 vertebrae that were causing my spine to curve. Even though I don't remember it, my parents say I was strong and I recovered quickly.
My spine remained steady for a few years but by the time I reached first grade the curve was back and worse than ever!! This time the doctor put metal rods in my back called VEPTR. VEPTR stands for Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib. These rods have to be expanded every six months as I grow. Even though it is not easy, I am thankful that this surgery exists to help me and other kids. One of my dreams is to grow up and become an inventor and create the "No Back Surgery" injection to cure congenital scoliosis with one shot.
Although I have been through a lot, I live a normal life with lots of friends, lots of fun and a loving family. I know I can do anything because my past experiences have made me the strong person I am today!