Among the list of medical issues that Jack has, one is scoliosis. Unfortunately, this is an issue that regularly follows CDH and Jack is no exception. We knew of his curve at an early age due to all the x-rays he was given. But, there were many other medical issues that needed to be addressed first. Tracheal reconstruction, bowel resection and coarctation – not to mention the repair of the hernia itself. It took a while to get to the non-life threatening repairs. One of the most recent being his hip surgery and subsequent spica cast. But before we went to see his doctor for his hip, we had to see his doctor about his spine. This is when we heard that Jack’s curve was severe enough for a Mehta cast. This is a cast similar to his hip cast in that it is a plaster cast used to immobilize him as he heals and grows. There would be no cutting involved in the surgery, but they would have to put Jack to sleep and straighten his back before casting him. He would then get a new cast every couple of months as he grows. But since the hip surgery was more pressing, that would happen first.
Following his hip cast, Jack was given the physical ability to learn to walk – which he did in record time considering his set-backs. Since this past summer, he has been walking as his primary method of mobility and is slowing defining muscles which he had never properly used before.
We all went back to the orthopedic surgeon’s office this past Friday to discuss the next steps in Jack’s great body make-over. More x-rays were taken and we sat in the waiting room and the exam room waiting to see the doctor and trying to keep Jack’s mind off the fact that we were back at the hospital. And I do have to say that the first appointment of the day is by far the best. There really was little waiting.
The doctor came in and only took a quick look at Jack. He seemed to already know what he was going to say. Jack’s top curve had not changed overall from the x-rays taken nearly a year devious. This was good. The bottom curve, however had IMPROVED by nearly 10 degrees. Evidently, the use of his back muscles to walk had strengthened enough to straighten his back a little. Not only will Jack not get his cast, the doctor wants to give it another 6 months. If the curve continues to improve, he won’t be getting a brace either!