The first part of the consultation is always an x-ray. We book in and after a quick gown change Sibs is then photographed with her brace on. The CD of the x-ray is then prepared and we head back to the waiting area. We read the same magazines as last time...and probably the time before that(!) before being called into the consulting room where Sibs gets into another hospital gown for a quick examination.
Dr A then studies the x-ray images on his screen, fiddles about with the mouse to take some measurements and compares the results from our last visit.
This time he informed us that the degree of the spinal curve had increased....
I could see that Sibs was disappointed but we were quickly reassured that this wasn't a big concern as we just needed to put things into perspective. Meaning - Sibs has grown 3cm in six months and the curve has increased by 1%. With a (self confessed) margin or error for his measuring, Dr A was not at all perturbed by the increase. Yes, in a perfect world the percentage would be lower and decreasing, but this is real life.
She is still under the 'magic' number of a 40% curve which is the goal to prevent surgery.
Her skeleton is still maturing and Dr A believes that she still has some growth to go so the next six months will be a pretty crucial time. There's nothing that she can do apart from wear her back brace as much as she can. Her body will grow as it will and we just have to wait and see.
On a 'normal' day my little superstar wears her brace close on to 24 hours. It's off when she showers and when she does some sporting or dancing activities but that's it. I don't take for granted that she is committed to wearing it. I know that she is trying so hard to prevent any surgery.
As I've mentioned in previous posts we are extremely fortunate that her scoliosis is relatively pain free and if her curve hovers around a mid 30s degree then any discussion around surgery is likely to be for the cosmetic look of her back. Sibs has indicated that this is not an issue for her and I'm so glad. In an upright position there is no sign of scoliosis. It does not prevent her from any of the activities that she enjoys and apart from some clothing issues she is coping beautifully.
Just in the last few weeks she has managed a pretty busy schedule of rehearsals and performances in a dancing show in the city. It's probably the longest periods of time that she has not worn her brace in the whole of the last year. She would spend a day at rehearsals and after a quick shower would be back in her brace as soon as she could. I was a little apprehensive that she would experience some back pain being without the support of the brace but thankfully this wasn't the case.
Watching her on stage was a joy. She smiled all the way through and I could see just how much she enjoyed it, actually, make that loved it!
In some of the potentially unforgiving stage costumes I have to admit that I was looking out for the shape of her spine and whether her movement appeared restricted. Biases aside - she did great!
We are approaching the hot Summer months now, so I know that it will become uncomfortable again. We'll just have to start cranking up that air con! I know she also gets frustrated at not being able to wear some of the let's say 'skimpier' summer outfits, but secretly I'm actually ok with that one!
So that's where we're up to. No major changes, no major decisions to be made just yet.
Oh and of course, each hospital visit is obviously followed by a treat at the nearby chocolate shop. Can't go past the thick Italian hot chocolate whatever the weather!