Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I feel like if you could see me right now, I would appear like some sort of mad scientist-type.  I'd be wearing a smudged lab coat and hauling out gigantic charts and graphs from a big closet somewhere.  My hair would probably be standing on end, my glasses (if I wore them) crooked, and I would have a dull pencil behind my right ear.

Seriously:  that's how I would look.

That's also how I feel about the task of explaining the conversation I had on the telephone with Jackson's orthopedic surgeon this afternoon.  Nevertheless, I will try my very best.

First and foremost, the first sentence the doctor spoke to me today went something like this:  "Mrs. Heath, I made a mistake.  I measured Jackson's x-ray from the wrong point when I told you the RVAD was 51 degrees.  It was actually 26.  I am sorry for the anxiety I probably caused you and your family."

That right there, folks, is proof to me that prayer -- and specific prayer -- really, really works!  We have had lots of people praying over the past few weeks -- specifically -- that the doctor had made a mistake.  The daunting possibility that Jackson's scoliosis may have actually progressed 24 degrees in his first cast was just something I couldn't wrap my mind around -- so a mistake was absolutely the BEST CASE SCENARIO.

Well, Jackson's doctor humbly admitted his error ... and it was if our world was turned back around -- and right-side-up!

That's the easy part to understand; here's the difficult part -- the numbers.

Forget every number I have told you in the past.

There have been several misreadings and miscommunications between the doctor and his nurse (handwriting issues) and the mistake made by the doctor himself.  We must start fresh.  From this point on, I'm going to try to present Jackson's scoliosis measurements in bullet form for better understanding.  
Still, there are two things you must keep in mind:

1.  x-rays taken standing always show larger (but more accurate) measurements than those taken lying down

2.  when looking at scoliosis correction, you must compare two like measurements (i.e.: standing to standing, or lying to lying x-rays) ... think of it as the "apples to apples" principle


1.  Jackson's x-ray taken standing on 7/28/11 showed a COBB (curve) of 44 degrees, and an RVAD (rib slant) of 27 degrees

***we had to wait until 9/8/11 for Jackson's first casting, during these two months of waiting ... Jackson's scoliosis did progress, but we do not have "apples to apples" x-rays for comparison***

2.  Jackson's x-ray taken lying down PRIOR TO CASTING on 9/8/11 showed a COBB of 22 degrees, and an RVAD of 30 degrees (obvious evidence on RVAD progression as it was larger while lying down than it had previously been while standing)

3.  Jackson's x-ray taken lying down AFTER CASTING on 9/8/11 showed a COBB of 14 degrees, and an RVAD of 20 degrees

4.  Jackson's x-ray taken standing OUT OF CAST #1 on 11/18/11 showed a COBB of 40 degrees, and an RVAD of 26 degrees

5.  Jackson's x-ray taken lying down PRIOR TO CASTING on 11/18/11 showed a COBB of 11 degrees, and an RVAD of 20 degrees

6.  Jackson's x-ray taken standing AFTER CASTING on 11/18/11 showed a COBB of 7 degrees, and an RVAD of 10 degrees


I have color-coded the "apples to apples" comparisons -- the only measurements that really mean much at this point.  The blue measurements show standing (more accurate) x-ray measurements.  However, it should be noted that Jackson's scoliosis did progress after the first x-ray was taken, so our correction numbers are probably better than they appear.  Anyways, this comparison shows:

COBB 44 to 40  (4 degrees of correction--probably more)
RVAD 27 to 26  (1 degree of correction--probably more)

The orange measurements show lying down x-ray measurements-- and for "apples to apples," they are our very best reference point at this time.  This comparison shows:

COBB 22 to 11  (11 degrees of correction)
RVAD 30 to 20  (10 degrees of correction)

PRAISE THE LORD!!!  Jackson's first cast actually was a success!!!  There so absolutely NO progression!!!  And ... there was correction!!!  We are so very thankful today!!!

The doctor told me today that from this point on, he will be reducing the number of x-rays taken to only those necessary to reduce Jackson's radiation exposure (thank you!) ... so I may not have so many numbers to share next time.

And, just to be perfectly clear:  they will use Jackson's standing x-ray measurements to pace treatment -- those numbers are still a COBB of 40 degrees and an RVAD of 26 degrees.  So -- we still have a very long and probably arduous journey ahead -- so your prayers are very much needed and appreciated!  Thanks so much!

1 comment:

mom said...