In 2010, I was told that I needed to wear a Boston brace to stop progression of a 27 degree curve in my upper spine. I would be fine, because if I wore the brace as many hours as they said, it was likely I would avoid surgery. In the four uncomfortable years that followed, I continued to wear the brace, outgrowing it twice, but the curve in my back progressed. After my bones stopped growing and they discontinued the brace, my upper curve was almost 50 degrees! After all the sleepless nights and sores from brace wearing, MRIs and X-rays, and numerous doctors visits, I still needed to get a spinal fusion surgery to straighten my back. I was so frustrated and scared.
However, the doctors at HSS were extremely patient and understanding, and I quickly accepted the reality of the operation. On July 27, 2015, we arrived at Hospital for Special Surgery for my surgery. Before I knew it, I was in the recovery room, and my spine was straight! My parents were showing everyone the before and after X-ray pictures! The following week was difficult, but the nurses and staff were so caring and compassionate, making sure that I was as comfortable as possible, all hours of the day and night.
Once out of the hospital, my recovery progressed from walking a few steps to eventually going to physical therapy after school. Five months after the operation, I start fencing again on my school's Varsity Fencing team, which finished in the Elite Eight of New Jersey. This summer, one year after my surgery, I started rock climbing, a new hobby of mine that I find really rewarding. And my most recent accomplishment is having completed my first Sprint Distance Triathlon, a 1/4 mile swim, a 10 mile bike, and a 5K run.
Though this journey was a long 5 years, and may have caused me a lot of stress and discomfort, I came out of it so much stronger. I am so thankful for Doctor Widmann and the whole staff at HSS for performing a perfect surgery, and for the amazing recovery that I wish for everyone.