A Rather Feeble Introductory Post

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If you are reading this, you are probably either one of my family, or a friend. Either way, you probably know already what this blog is about. But, if you don’t know me personally, or you don’t have any idea what this blog is about, then read on.

I was diagnosed with scoliosis in February this year.

Although for the last month or two beforehand I had noticed that my waist and hips were uneven, I hadn’t really thought much of it, and it wasn’t until my mum saw my back one day that I really realised that there was a problem. Mum has mild scoliosis herself, so she knew what was wrong with my back. The GP confirmed that it was indeed scoliosis, and I quickly had xrays which were then sent on to Starship Children’s Hospital, and the scoliosis specialist there.

Despite the first batch of xrays being lost, I got an appointment for an MRI scan fairly quickly, mostly due to the fact that my mum kept on ringing the hospital up to remind them I was still waiting. We could see that my curve was progressing very quickly, and it was very difficult to wait patiently.

I had the MRI in April to confirm that there was no underlying cause for my scoliosis, and everything was fine. When the surgeon finally saw my xrays he put me on the Class A priority list, which made me feel pretty smug. At least we hadn’t been ringing up about nothing!

In late May, I finally got to see Mr Haemish Crawford, the scoliosis specialist up at Starship. He measured my curves at about 75 and 42 degrees, and told me that I would need surgery. This wasn’t really a surprise to me, as I had been doing a lot of research, and knew that my curves were pretty big. This is one of the xrays I had taken that day:

Once I knew I needed surgery, all I wanted to do was get on with it. Unfortunately, with the long waiting list for this type of surgery, nothing happens quickly, even though the surgeon had said that it would be this year sometime. At first we thought my surgery would be in October, and so I prepared myself for recovering in the fourth school term. However, my surgery is now scheduled instead for December 13. Although that is a bit later than we originally thought it would be, time has flown by, and it is now only 13 days until that date. I’m getting a bit nervous, but I’m still excited for the end result.

At my last appointment in October, my curve was measured at about 88 degrees, with fairly severe rotation. I actually have two curves, but the lower one is much more severe than the top, which is just a compensatory curve. This means that, when the bottom curve is straightened, the top one should straighten of its own accord. Because of the stiffness of my curve (which was shown on some side-bending xrays I had done), the surgeon is going to do two procedures instead of one. First of all he will go through my side (the anterior approach), remove a rib and collapse the lung on that side so he can get to the front of my spine, and then remove disc material from from the stiffest part of the curve, so that it will straighten more easily. After he has done that, he will then go through my back  and carry out a normal posterior fusion, probably from about T7 to L4.

So there are 13 days to go until surgery. I can’t wait… although, thinking about it, I’m actually dreading it all as well.

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20 responses »

  1. I am your mum’s cousin, Lynne. Doers that make is second cousins? I’m not sure. Anyway, I will follow your progress with interest, but also with lots of prayer. God is a wonderful Friend and will certainly be guiding every second of your journey.

  2. Hi there,

    I’m so pleased to see that you are keeping up the writing and your blog looks beautiful. We’re keeping you (and your Mum and Dad and “large number of sisters”) in our prayers as you go through this next step along the journey. The lovely thing about God is that he always goes ahead and prepares the way for us, then takes our hand and walks through the difficult times with us, so we never have to face anything, either exciting or dreadful, alone. God bless you “Angle girl” (is it blog etiquette to use your name or do I have to use your on-line name? Hmmmmm). If you don’t mind, we’ll follow your blog (please) … and maybe see you Sunday as well.

    Kirsty S

  3. Ruth, your mom told me about your blog, so I’m a follower. Writing has been so healing for me, may the Lord use this blog and your health for His honor and glory. I will be praying!

    The Lord says in Isaiah 40:4, “the crooked shall be made straight.” Physical things in our life always bring spiritual light to our eyes, as well. As He uses physicians to heal your spine, may He use the Word to speak to your heart and give you understanding and encouragement.

  4. Thank you Ruth for sharing what lies ahead of you so well. It has given me a better understanding of the surgery you will face shortly and I am very glad that there are not too many more days to count down and you will be in recovery mode. Psalm 34:4 has been a most meaningful verse to me in years past when I was facing turbulent times. Both John and I will be praying much for you and for your Mum and Dad too. I look forward to following your blog and I am so glad we have a caring and faithful God who will be with you in the days ahead. May you rest in His care and faithfulness right-angle girl. Penny xxx

  5. Loving the blog design! Great idea to keep a blog – it’ll be good to read how you’re doing. Praying for you as you wait and prepare for the surgery.

    love Robyn 🙂

  6. As you wait the next few days will probably go fairly quickly and we will be praying that all will go well and for the surgeons attending you. Your blog is looking wonderful, and your courage in sharing with others what you are and will be going through remarkable. Thank you for sharing and making it easier for us to understand all about Scoliosis. God Bless and may you have His peace go with you. right-angle girl.
    Love Lois & Geoff.

  7. Hi
    You won’t know me, my name is Ray Haverfield.. I am a good friend of Dad and Mum and known them from Uni days.. over the water. That also tells you I am an old codger!! Crikey, nearly as old as Dad.

    My niece had scoliosis and it was surgically repaired. It happened when she was a little younger than you are now. They waited a year or so for the operation because they wanted her to have finished most of her growth phase. She had to have it done twice as they had issues the first time around. But she is now perfectly healthy and normal. Does all the normal life things of a near to 30year old woman she now is. I asked her about it and other than a certain inability to bend to certain angles it has very little effect on her life.

    So be encouraged. God is good and has provided healing by means of highly skilled people who can repair this fairly common condition. Look to the end.. be certain of the love of God and His care for you. Be patient patient.. because patience is a virtue.. and screaming and yelling doesn’t actually help.. but you are allowed to be a bit frustrated at the time it takes to get this completed.

    What an odd name for a hospital btw.. !! Does it look strange with all kinds of aliens running around??

    Blessing Ray

  8. Thank you all for your really encouraging comments! It’s so wonderful to know that there are so many people praying for me and my family, and I really appreciate it.

    Lynne: I did a quick Google search, and I think that we are first cousins once removed. Don’t take my word on that, though, as I find it all a bit complicated to understand! It is lovely to hear from you. 🙂

    Mrs Kirsty: Thank you! I think it’s fine to call me Ruth – after all, ‘Right-Angle Girl’ is a bit of a mouthful! (… or a type-ful? A lengthy name, anyway!)

    Mr Haverfield: Mum and Dad have mentioned you quite a lot – you were Dad’s best man, weren’t you? That’s wonderful to hear about your niece, and really encouraging as well. The aim of this surgery is to allow me to live a pretty normal life, as opposed to an eventually disabled life. I’m praying that this will be so! And it is a pretty odd name for a hospital, isn’t it? No aliens, but it’s a cool place to look around. (There were jungle scenes painted on the MRI machine!)

  9. Dear Ruth,
    I was nursing with your mum (and we got up to some antics back in the days when she wasn’t old enough to be your mum!!) and have loved following your adventures as a family – I am over the ditch in Sydney, and will be keeping you on my heart as you go through the next few days and months recovering. I loved the verse someone else quoted above about the ‘crooked being made straight” and that will be you – I have nursed many scoliosis kids being made straight over the years and surgery these days is 100% on ‘the good old days” so you’ll have to post a picture of the new Ruth…. our love goes with you into that theatre…
    Jenni Cromie

  10. Hi Ruth along with so many others we will be praying for you particularly on the day of your surgery, and then through the recovery weeks. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.
    Love
    Cathy

  11. Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for sending me your blog. All the best and I will pray for you. And I’m happy to give you lots of theory work to keep you busy during your recovery 😉

  12. We will continue to pray daily for you and your family Ruth, thank you for putting this information together so that we can be better informed of your progress.

  13. Hi, I found your blog by chance. I am from all the way in the states. I have severe kyphoscoliosis, which is two severe curves that measure really high. I’ve had 11 spinal surgeries so I know what you will be going through. I pray for a speedy recovery! This surgery will change your whole outlook.. just remember to do whatever the doctors say. Recovery is sometimes slow, but well worth it, in the end. Take care and good luck.

    you can follow my blog at: bersbellablog.blogspot.com

  14. Hey Ruth! My name’s Katie and I had a spinal fusion 1 year ago. My curvature was 107 degrees, but after my surgeries, my curve was 35 degrees. My 2 surgeries were a week apart. The 2nd one was the actual fusion, the first surgery was to released my spine. Feel free to ask if you have any questions, and here is a link to my youtube channel. Good luck.-Katie

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SquigglyBuddies14?feature=mhee

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