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Thread: need advice

  1. #1
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    need advice

    My sixteen year old son is having the hardest time emotionally with his scoliosis. His diagnosis was a surprise and he was already severe enough to need surgery. He is very athletic and likes contact sports. He is very depressed now, having a terrible time concentrating in school and convinced his life is over. I am so worried that in his current state of mind he won't have what he needs to power through the recovery from this surgery(planned for late February). I am endlessly trying to keep him positive to no avail. Does anyone have any experience with this and any ideas on how to help him through it?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkare View Post
    My sixteen year old son is having the hardest time emotionally with his scoliosis. His diagnosis was a surprise and he was already severe enough to need surgery. He is very athletic and likes contact sports. He is very depressed now, having a terrible time concentrating in school and convinced his life is over. I am so worried that in his current state of mind he won't have what he needs to power through the recovery from this surgery(planned for late February). I am endlessly trying to keep him positive to no avail. Does anyone have any experience with this and any ideas on how to help him through it?
    Hi.

    Very sorry to hear this.

    What levels will be fused? If mainly thorax, he might not notice much difference after recovery.

    Did the surgeon say there would be any permanent physical restrictions? Surgeons vary on this issue and another top guy may not suggest the same restrictions. There is one guy in California who imposes NO restrictions for at last some kids even in the immediate post-op period because the instrumentation is that good.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 10-19-2012 at 01:48 PM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  3. #3
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    for some reason we have not been told what levels will be fused only that he is in the high fifties as far as his curve. I think it is a thoracic curve, but one doc said its more of a thoracolumbar curve, I know on x ray it looked like an s. Our opinions seem to say no contact/collision sports(his main sport is wrestling). he also plays baseball but he is catcher and some docs said he will not be able to play catcher due to lack of flexibility. So interesting that there is a doc that imposes no restrictions, wow! I don't think after he goes through all of this anyone would want to risk any damage.

  4. #4
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    sorry to hear what your son is going through but before you do anything, I would encourage you to contact Dr. Keith H. Bridwell St. Louis, MO for second opinion.
    phone: (314) 747-2560. He supposed to be one of the best surgeons for spinal deformity. I have over 50 deg curve myself and very painful right now and I was recommended to Dr. Bridwell who is currently reviewing my MRI. I have reviewed his website and he is very dedicated in that area.

    I understand what your son is going through, I was very young too when my Ortho discover my scoliosis but he keep saying that I was too young to do surgery but every year my curvature kept on progressing and he didn't do anything about it and now it is worst. I am very much older now and I have only one choice surgery. What I am trying to say is, if you can help your son now go see the best of the best doctor so that he can recover sooner and get his life back since he still very young. I was also very much into sport, track and field, soccer, long jump/high jump etc. and it is very hard to hear that you might be able to do all the sport that you love doing but tell him not to give up hope. He can still do some of those sports after his back is corrected because he will heal faster since he still very young. if he not feeling too much pain now, encourage him to keep on doing some other light sports but no weight lifting.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkare View Post
    for some reason we have not been told what levels will be fused only that he is in the high fifties as far as his curve. I think it is a thoracic curve, but one doc said its more of a thoracolumbar curve, I know on x ray it looked like an s. Our opinions seem to say no contact/collision sports(his main sport is wrestling). he also plays baseball but he is catcher and some docs said he will not be able to play catcher due to lack of flexibility. So interesting that there is a doc that imposes no restrictions, wow! I don't think after he goes through all of this anyone would want to risk any damage.
    First I want to make sure that the surgeons meant the rest of his life and not just during the post op recovery period while fusion is occurring.

    Second, I have definitely read on this forum where some surgeons say no more contact sports for the rest of their life. I am not sure if those were just for long fusions or not. My understanding is once the fusion happens, it would be hard to affect that area of the back although the levels immediately above and below might be vulnerable. One of my daughters went to a dance at about 2.5 weeks post op and a short friend pulled her down to hug her (she is very tall). That caused much pain below her fusion and although it healed, it became obvious that the areas at either end of the fusion are still subject to injury.

    My daughters have T4-L1 fusions and their only restriction is bungee jumping (and trampoline which the surgeon said nobody should do). I wonder if all surgeons would tell your son to avoid wrestling after the fusion has undoubtedly occurred. I think there is some variation in what they would say on this issue.

    As for function, we would have to ask various folks with fusions that end at various places as to whether catching in baseball or wrestling would be affected. It is my sense that until you get very far down into the lumbar (L4 and below), flexibility is affected but not excessively so. But I don't know that.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  6. #6
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    Our surgeon said he hadn't had any boy patients who were wrestlers so he really did not have the information. But since the soprt requires a lot of bending and twisting under pressure, and is a contact sport it is most likely a problem. He was referring to forever and not just the recovery period. After the recovery period he would be able to return to baseball although may have difficulty playing his position due to the flexibility loss. It is great to know that more flexibility remains when they do not fuse the lower part as I think his curve is higher up so hopefully he will be left with some range of motion. Just finding this whole rollercoaster so overwhelming and feeling so sad when I see how crushed he is by the whole thing.

  7. #7
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    Well, there will still be plenty of things, including some sports, he can do and I think focusing on those might help. Life is so unfair.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  8. #8
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    I just wanted to say that I was there a long long time ago. Same story.

    Sigh....I agree with the wrestling....the twisting forces are too high especially from the legs.

    I just deleted a huge thread. My thoughts on this would take a whole chapter in a book. (when I retire I will write one)

    He is in shock, no doubt....

    If you need to talk, PM me.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  9. #9
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    I wish I could add something other than best wishes to him and to you as you prepare for surgery. Fortunately our son wasn't into team sports besides soccer, so that's not been an issue for him. It was a disappointing to him to know he won't play soccer at the high school level with all the headers required & how aggressive the players are, but he still enjoys tame soccer games w his friends, and he's also morphed into individual sports such as surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking. He's been cleared to (snow)ski in December. Drum line in marching band dominates his life; and even with that he's building back up to being able to march w quads; hopefully that's next year.
    Amazing to hear about the surgeon w no restrictions - most dr's seem to have very few for kids; ours limits contact sports & trampoline/bungee, with a caution on jetskiing - no going over wakes, go easy, etc.
    I hope he finds some peace about it and that he'll soon realize how much better off he is to have found it out young - that his body will bounce back easier with a more effective outcome with youth on his side. Hopefully too he'll eventually find passions other than the wrestling, and you never know about catching - we barely notice a flexibility issue anymore.
    You have interviewed several scoli surgeons, haven't you?
    All the best,
    LeighAnn
    Mom of 14yo son diagnosed Oct 2011
    Surgery 1/3/12 w Dr. Geof Cronen,
    Tampa General Hospital T3 to L1
    Jacob's pre surg curves: T58 & L31 12/28/11
    photos & xrays in "First-Time Surgery" thread "Before & After"

  10. #10
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    hi tkare
    just a couple of suggestions...
    i am probably prejudiced as a licensed social worker...but i would suggest your son have access to a counselor...possibly the surgeon could recommend one...IF/WHEN he needs to vent to an objective person, outside of family, to explore any feelings of anger, fear, sadness, etc...and if his depression is specifically related to the surgery (and wasn't
    a problem before the scoliosis diagnosis) it should be easier to treat, with more positive
    outcome...

    also, if possible, connect him to another teen who has scoliosis...be great
    if surgeon has one or two who already had similar surgery...the doctors get permission from patients who are willing to offer support to other patients, and then phone numbers are exchanged...it might really help your son to have another person around his age to talk to about all this...another boy would be best....

    i am wondering if the levels to be fused were explained to you...but it makes sense that, regardless of which levels, wrestling is the one sport that would never be allowed...too much close contact,too much pressure, bending, twisting, too rough...of course, that could still leave lots of other sports that would be allowed after healing and fusion, but i doubt that would bring your son much comfort in the beginning process of getting used to the whole idea of living with fusion....i think acceptance of the need for the surgery, and actually going thru with it, will be a gradual process...
    it can be overwhelming for adults...so it is that much more so for kids...


    best wishes in all your decisions...
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 10-20-2012 at 08:36 PM.

  11. #11
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    Thank you everyone for all of your advice. I have interviewed several surgoens. I have also contacted to doctor to try and get a name and number of another boy who has gone through this to speak with my son. I know this whole thing will be a rollercoater for my son and us and am hoping that in time he will accept this and see that his life will still be good following this surgery and recovery, and that there is life after wrestling(although I do know that will be of no comfort to him now).Really thanks everyone, this is an amazing support for people going through this!

  12. #12
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    As Jess suggested, I would HIGHLY suggest that he see a counselor and work out some of his uncertainty and worry and address his depression.
    Also, his scoliosis doctor needs to put him intouch with a couple of boys who have had the same surgery that he will have. Peer support is so important.
    Lastly, HE needs to make the decision about when and how and the details about the surgery with his doctor. Give him as much CONTROL over this whole thing as you can.

    Get going with the psychological counseling.

    Best of luck. Being a parent is a tough job. Give him lots of hugs.

    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  13. #13
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    Hi Susan. We do have him already meeting with the social worker at school weekly, but thinking additional support would be helpful so we may try to have him meet with someone else too. I have also put in a call to the doc to put us in touch with some other boys and I am hoping that will also be helpful. I think because this was something that was not even on our radar he really is in shock about the whole thing. I know I am, I keep thinking I will wake up and it will all be a dream. He has asked for medication to help him focus in school because he is finding his mind is just elsewhere and he can't concentrate. We have given him "permission" to check out a bit with his studies if thats what he needs right now and explained that when this is all over he will be able to focus again. I just know with his attitude about the whole thing, it will make recovery even harder. I think having him make some decisions with his doc may be a good idea and give him some ownership of this whole thing.

  14. #14
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    tkare...i am a social worker, and i worked in NYC public schools for
    years, first as a teacher, then as a social worker...
    a SCHOOL social worker has her hands tied in many ways...
    school social workers are supposed to address school issues....
    but she/he can refer you to an outside counselor...
    that could be a social worker, psychologist, or a psychiatrist....
    you could choose someone who takes your insurance...
    IF your son needs any medication to address depression or anxiety,
    that would require a doctor who can write prescriptions...they
    often work in conjunction with a counselor...
    his issues are not being caused by school...
    and an outside counselor would be the best choice...

    jess

  15. #15
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    Jess I think you are right it is beyond what a school social worker can hope to deal with and while it certainly is having an effect on school it would be best to see someone outside of school as well. Will get on that asap

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