Wednesday, October 1, 2014


One week.

It's been one full week since Jackson has worn his brace.  And that's okay.  That's okay because he is officially declared BRACE FREE!!!

{and, obviously, all smiles}

Last Wednesday, our family traveled to Greenville Shriners Hospital for Children for Jackson's brace check.  We followed Dr. Pete's instructions to have Jackson remove his brace 24 hours before his 8:30am appointment for x-rays and a follow-up.  Leading up to this trip ... I did a lot of praying.  I prayed, first and foremost, that Jackson's spine was continuing {and will continue} to grow straight.  I also prayed for wisdom imparted upon his doctor to determine the most opportune time to allow Jackson to transition out of his brace for his first orthrotic-free trial.  Lastly, I prayed for courage.  More on that later.

This photograph of Jackson being x-rayed makes me so proud.  Thus far, from initial detection of {potentially, at that time} Progressive Infantile Scoliosis to today, this has been a 4-year journey {almost exactly}.  I addressed my suspicion that Jackson might have a spinal curvature just days after his 4-month well-baby check-up.  Today, he is 4 years, 4 months old.  Time surely has slipped through our fingertips.

Jackson at his first Shriners appointment.  Crazy!
{notice that he has the same hair-do too}

Would you look at this beautiful x-ray?  Insane.  I now TRULY find straight spinal x-rays a sight to behold!  You'll notice that the film taken on Wednesday shows a 7 degree curve.  That curve, however, is right-sided ... the opposite of Jackson's scoliosis.  This is considered OVERCORRECTION and is a very, very good {and rather rare} thing to achieve.  This means that after Jackson's 9 serial Mehta casts corrected his spine to a perfectly straight 0 degrees, his TLSO brace used Jackson's own growth as a corrective force {just like casts do} to actually create a gentle curve in the opposite direction.  This, from my understanding, will aid Jackson's spine in resisting the gravitational tendency to return to his left-sided scoliosis.

And if you prefer incredible comparisons ... here is Jackson's pre-casting x-ray (50+ degrees, left-sided scoliosis) and his current x-ray (7 degrees, right-sided overcorrected spine).

After reviewing this wonderful film, Dr. Pete made the decision to allow Jackson to enter his first orthotic-free trial.  This simply means that we discontinued the use of his TLSO brace altogether.  Dr. Pete does not believe in part-time bracing for kids like Jackson {every case is different}.  He has explained to us that he prefers not to mask any chance of scoliosis relapse ... but prefers to catch it immediately if it occurs and begin serial Mehta casting again to achieve a straight spine.  Mehta casting works best when children are rapidly growing.  Therefore, the younger the child ~ the better the response.  PLEASE KEEP JACKSON'S GROWING SPINE IN YOUR PRAYERS!  We are choosing JOY right now.  This is certainly and unapologetically a time of celebration!  However, PIS is not an "over and done" condition.  There will always be a potential for Jackson's scoliosis to return until he is finished growing.  Because of how well Jackson's spine has responded to Mehta casting {glory be to God}, he has about a 90% chance of being PERMANENTLY cured.  However, we have many, many more years of Shriners follow-ups and vigilant monitoring of his spine ~ our next one is in 4 months.  This is a huge medical milestone for Jackson as he has been in casts/braces for over 3 years of his life.  

This is also a big spiritual milestone for me.  Here's where I explain my praying for courage.  Those of you who know me personally understand that I am a worrier.  For a long time now, I have had the reassurance that Jackson's scoliotic spine was being "held" in some sort of plaster cast or plastic brace.  Now, that physical "insurance policy" is gone.  It was bittersweet placing Jackson's brace into the bottom of his bedroom closet already cluttered the pounds and pounds of plaster casts {which I seem to be saving indefinitely}.  But, I choose joy too!  I also chose to trade in that man-made "insurance policy" for a Heavenly promise found in 2 Timothy 1:7.

When I was in high-school youth group "back in the day," this was my "life verse."  Now, it returns to me under different life circumstances but the same profound meaning.  It's been written on my heart for recall in times like this.  I'm so glad it's there.

I choose JOY.
I choose TRUST.
I choose TRUTH.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers!