Scheuermann’s Disease, Please?

I must warn you from the get go, this contains a HIGHLY GRAPHIC IMAGE, from a surgical operation. Reader beware.
So most of you probably don’t even know what Scheuermann’s Disease (or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis) is, right? Don’t worry, I didn’t until I got diagnosed. In the most politically incorrect way possible, it’s the medical way to describe a hunch back caused by the vertebrae being wedge shaped. Now, don’t ever refers to it has a hunchback, because it’s the one term all sufferers will tell you, we HATE! But it’s the easiest way to describe fit without sounding like I have a PHD in orthopaedics. Now, you can also get a postural kyphosis, so it’s best to know the difference. When someone with Scheuermann’s bends over, the curvature in the spine worsens, whereas someone with postural kyphosis can stand up straight if they try, and it lessens when bending. Treatment for postural kyphosis will only ever consist of physio or a back brace whereas Scheuermann’s Kyphosis can be treated with physio or a back brace if 1) it’s caught early enough 2) is less that a 75-80 degree angle. Anything larger than an 80 degree angle, or in adult cases causing pain, the next option is spinal fusion. So with the science lesson out of the way, I’ll explain my experience with this condition.

I first started noticed it back in High School, I never had very good social skills (EUPD at its early stages) and whenever girls wanted to kick off on me, or the boys just wanted to taunt me the usual insult flung my way was “hunchback this” and “hunchback that”. It made it kind of hard to ignore. I found myself wearing hoodies even in the hottest of weather, PE I shyed away, especially during swimming. It all stemmed from the bullying, which scarred me for life and effected how I’ve lived the rest of my life so far. Nights out? Ha no. Family day at the swimming baths? Ha no. Go on holiday with the girls? Ha no. Sex life? Ha no. All because the fear of anybody calling me a hunchback again just wouldn’t leave. Even the people I’m most comfortable around, I don’t like them seeing it. Something that seems so minute actually played a massive part in my life.

Once I’d finally got a flat on my own, and a sense of stability, I felt I was in a position to explore surgery because I actually had a stable home to go to. The curvature in my spine is at a 90 degree angle, with large curvature in both the thoracic (upper) spine (kyphosis), and lumbar (lower) spine (lordotic), along with slight scoliosis (s shape in spine). This was found in x-Ray’s, then an MRI. My surgeon and I discussed what I would like to do, we went through the serious risks, including paralysis, chronic pain worse than it already is, nerve damage etc, as well as the potential positives. I came to the decision that this curse has had a hold of me for far too long, I want a summer in vest tops, and to go swimming with my foster Mum and her baby, what’s life if you’re watching from the sidelines?!

We followed with some X-rays of my spine being extended to see how effective the surgery will be, and I was told I had to do a minimum of 3 months nicotine free as this increased the success rate from 40-60% to 75-95%. We agreed I’d keep coming in for X-rays until I’m nicotine free (I’m currently on an ecig, cutting down) to see if my condition worsens. So that’s where we’re at so far, but he advised I do my own research to ensure I was 100% sure with my decision.

I, of course, did as as I was told. I mean, this an 8-12 hour surgery, it’s not something to take lightly. And that’s where this all-be-it sudden post has come from, I’ve spent all night doing my own research, and inside from a few short blogs on YouTube from years ago,  there is actually so little about what you’re about to go through. I was hoping to find blog upon blog about people’s in depth journeys both physically and emotionally, but there’s nothing, especially not from adults. I honestly couldn’t believe it! So the post is one of many about what this journey truly consists of,for those looking for someone’s experience through it all. And with that said, I’m going put this into perspective, the following picture is what happens  in the corrective surgery.

If it doesn’t scare you, you’re inhuman. Of course it will have you terrified but the question is, are you willing to face that fear head on, in order to correct this condition? Ask yourself that before you commit to anything.
Until next time:

Laura x

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