Unlike most childhood memories that are formed from enjoyment, playfulness, and worry free occurrences, mine is one of worries, anxieties, and uncertainties.
My most vivid memory from childhood is of my spinal fusion surgery due to scoliosis, because of the many different experiences and emotions I went through at that time. My yearly physical in June of 2009 turned for the worse when my pediatrician, Dr. Moore, delivered the most unsuspecting news. The news was that he suspected I had scoliosis. He referred us to a well-known pediatric orthopedic surgeon who specialized in scoliosis.
His name was Dr. Gregory Mencio at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. After two, long, agonizing months of waiting for our first appointment with Dr. Mencio, the day came and went with answers yet many more questions. The day started with high anxiety and fears of the unknown. After finally arriving at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, twenty minutes late for my scheduled appointment, we then searched for a parking place for ten minutes.
After finally finding a parking spot on the fourth level we then rushed to the elevator in the parking garage to find we had to go down to the second level to cross the walking bridge into the main entrance of the doctors building. Once inside we then had to take another elevator to the orthopedic department on the fourth floor. While sitting in the waiting room I noticed the different disabilities some of the children had and reality started to sink in.
After a stressful appointment with Dr. Mencio we learned that I had Adolescent Thoracolumbar scoliosis, which is a curvature that includes vertebrae in both the lower thoracic and the upper lumbar portion of the spine. My upper curvature was 71 degrees with the lower curvature being 64 degrees.
There was hope that a brace would prevent the curvature from getting worse until the growth of my spine was complete. So, two weeks later I was being fitted for a brace that was sp…