Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Introduction

Hello, my beautiful readers! My name is Bailey. I'm currently 16 years old and I live in Georgia, USA.
This is me! 
In this blog thread, I will tell about my transition throughout my life by having kyphosis and a major spinal fusion. I hope this can help people understand what it is like to have gone through this and possibly let people make up their mind about if they should get this surgery or not.  :-)

I will also go through the steps of my way to my surgery and now which is after. I will focus mainly on my diagnosis, pre-op, post-op, now / the future. Before I got my surgery I wish I saw a blog or video about the process through the journey of this procedure. To anyone who may be going through this I hope you can relate to my experience or perhaps learn from it!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Growing up

When I went through my growth spurt it all happened very fast. My length rocketed at a young age, so I was very tall. My doctors think that is what contributed to me developing kyphosis.
This is what kyphosis looks like.

Kyphosis is not a well known term, and it can often be mistaken for scoliosis. Kyphosis is the forward curvature of the back or more recognized as a hunchback. Back in middle and high school I was known as the "Hunchback of Duluth". Pretty harsh for something I didn't know was fixable. I was not only insecure about my back, I was also in a lot of pain.
My curvature.

I went to numerous doctors to try to fix my back and they told me as because I was so young, a brace is the only way I could be able to stand up straight. I absolutely refused to wear a brace so I just dealt with the tremendous pain and awful posture for years. As my curvature progressed, the more pain I was in.

Finally my parents and I had enough of this pain so we all did research on ways to treat my condition and we finally found an answer. We brought what we found to my doctor and he suggested that I get a spinal fusion. My parents were horrified by the news, while I was ecstatic for it. I would have a chance to have a straight spine.
Where my fusion will be.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pre Op

About one month before my surgery I had to start preparing for the surgery. I had to work on what I ate, my hygiene, and being super cautious of not hurting myself. This process seemed to take forever. It felt like it would never happen. I was having major anxiety and stress because of the risks of the surgery.

The risks were very scary to my parents and I. The possible outcomes were that the surgery could paralyze me, give me an infection, or even die. I had my share of nightmares about all of these issues.

The night before my surgery I had to shower thoroughly and wipe my back with a disinfectant cloth. After 12 p.m. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. That night I probably only got about three hours of sleep.

My day started at 5:00 a.m. I had to be at the Egleston Children's Hospital by 6:30 a.m. to start to prepare for my surgery. After the forty-five minute drive we arrived at the hospital I would spend the next few days in.

As I walked into the cold operation waiting room my heart felt like it was going to explode. I was the first surgery of the day, so there was no one else there. After we filled out all the consent paperwork they took me back into the pre-op room. I remember it was in room number 7.

Before I put on my hospital gown they asked if I was nervous. I was very scared, but I said no because I didn't want to drink the nasty liquid that made you loopy.

Dr. Bruce and I
We waited until five minutes before my scheduled surgery time when they came in to wheel my back to the operating room. It seemed like it took forever until I got back into the operarting room. I was shaking and started to cry a little bit.

They had me get up from my bed and walk through the big doors into the room where my surgeon will slice into me. It looked exactly like this...
I saw my surgeon washing his hands and preparing my hardware for the surgery as I laid on the table for the nurses. After I was positioned very carefully on the table they started hooking me up to all the machines. They put a mask over my head and pumped laughing gas in the mask and I started to finally calm down. When they stuck in my IV port they showed me my screws that were going to go inside of my spine. That is the last thing I remember from before my surgery. This last memory really stands out to me in my mind.

I warn you that my next post will contain graphic images, so read with caution.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Post Op

My surgery was roughly three hours long. I don't remember much from the first month with having a metal spine. I was on crazy amounts of medications, so I was drugged up most of the time. My family and friends have told me many stories of what happened after my surgery, so the best I can provide is what I've heard from them.

My surgeon was the coolest dude. After they put in my rods and screws, Dr. Bruce took pictures of the inside of me. I am going to include those pictures, so please be aware you will see two very graphic images. 
Dr. Bruce holding the drill.

The metal rods holding my spine straight.

My parents cried when they first saw me. My face was very white and swollen because I was laying on a metal table for three hours. The first day I was in and out almost the whole day. The only thing I remember from that night was the horrible pain I was experiencing. 

Post Op in ICU.
The next morning my nurses put me in a wheelchair and I had to sit up for about thirty minutes. The feeling of sitting up was so weird. I felt like I could fall over at any moment. I didn't feel pain as much this day because I was on so much medication. 
My aunt supporting me through sitting for the first time!

After I sat up for a while I got to lay back down. They took out my catheter and blood drainage tubes. Later this day I was to get up and take my first few steps. It took over ten minutes to get me standing. The feeling was so uncomfortable I threw up every time I got up for three days straight. I thought this would be my life forever. It was really scary and hard to comprehend that I would be in pain for a great deal of time.
Post blood drainage tube.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Homebound

After six days in the hospital I got to go home. I was on Percocet (Oxycontin) for the next two weeks. While I took this medicine I don't remember anything, so I can not tell you about my first weeks home. The only thing I remember was telling myself that i was capable of walking. I did not walk as much after my surgery and I did not heal as fast as I could of. This really put affected my recovery because it took me longer to go back to my normal routine
Post Op Princess. 

I had lots of visitors come when I got home. My friends, family, and puppy were a huge part of my recovery. People came over and brought me food and tons of flowers. The coolest thing someone brought me was my grandma Glenda's Miss America Crown.

I am very thankful for the amazing support I had during my recovery.

After three days of being home it was finally time to remove my bandage to reveal my scar. My scar is at least 12 inches long and they closed the incision with glue that seemed to take forever to come off.
The day my bandage came off.
The next month my life consisted of walking around and just chilling in my big recliner. Going places was really hard for me because it hurt and I was uncomfortable when I would move. I mostly stayed at home for the rest of my summer. I wish I remembered more of this time, but I do not because I was on so much medication.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Currently (March 2016)

Right now as I write this post it is the beginning of March. I am currenlty eight months post operation. My recovery was hard and long and each day it affects me. I am no longer taking any pain or nerve medication for my back.

Having this surgery was one of the hardest things I've been through and most painful things. I look back at it and I do not see much of myself being in pain. I can picture joy and relief that I am now better.

I have a beautiful scar down my spine, and that is my favorite part of my body. It fades more and more each day, but I do not want it to fade and call me crazy I wish it was more visible. It shows myself and others that I went through something tough and I have a wonderful reminder of how wonderful life for me is now. My favorite quote that means a lot to me is, "Scars are tattoos with better stories." This quote made me embrace and love my scar the way it is and appreciate to have this as a souvenir of my journey kicking kyphosis' ass.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Was It Worth It?



This period of my life was hell. I am not going to sugar coat it by saying that it was not all that bad, because it was, trust me. The surgery and recovery were absolutely brutal. I would never ever want to go through this again in my life and I pray that I do not ever have to get more of my spine fused later on.

Do I wish that I never got the surgery? Absolutely not I am so relieved that I got this surgery. It has changed my life so much in so many good ways.

I may not be able to move my back or bend over, but I do not miss being able to move and bend in ways I cannot anymore. I do not even realize that it is a limitation because it became a part of me.

I hope whoever is reading my blog will be informed about this journey. If you are in the same position I have been in, I hope my blog can give you the support and information throughout the process to wether or not you should get the surgery. I greatly encourage this surgery to anyone who has scoliosis or kyphosis. It has changed my life for the better.

If you have any questions about this please comment on any post of mine or email me at Malice1999@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to talk to you!

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