Friday, July 24, 2015

Immeasurably More ... April/July X-Rays

Confession time:
I should have posted a scoliosis blog update in April.

But I didn't, for many reasons.

I was afraid of needlessly worrying so many PIS parents who follow Jackson's story.  I never wanted to shed doubt on Mehta casting as treatment for PIS.  I didn't want to confuse everyone for something even Jackson's doctor was unsure about.  But mostly ...

I just didn't want to entertain a "what if" I was hoping would never become reality.


On April 15th, 2015, Jackson had another orthotic-free follow up at Shriner's Hospital for Children in Greenville, South Carolina.  We all had very little anxiety that anything had changed with Jackson's straight spine.  We planned to take a quick x-ray and to spend the afternoon enjoying beautiful Greenville.

But that routine x-ray looked like this:

Jackson's doctor was able to measure about a 7 degree, left-sided curve.  Unfortunately, because Jackson's scoliosis was left sided, the doctor was concerned that there was a small chance this could represent a recurrence of the scoliosis.  If so, Jackson would be his first "cured" patient to ever experience a relapse of his/her progressive scoliosis.  We were shocked.  Jackson's doctor expressed to us that he thought it "extremely highly unlikely" to be a recurrence, but he was still worried.  He asked us to return for another x-ray in 3 months rather than 6 months (we thought we were about to be released into bi-annual care).  At this 3 month follow up visit, he planned to take another x-ray to determine if this small visual curve represented "true" scoliosis or poor posture during the x-ray.  The doctor briefly discussed with us a potential for more Mehta casting, a full-time brace until age 16, or a part-time brace until age 16 depending on how the curve looked in 3 months.

How many of you believe that I went home okay with this?  Quick the contrary!  During the first two weeks after hearing this news, I was devastated (and downright depressed).  I played out every scenario of Jackson's future in the worst possible ways.  All I could envision was Jackson growing up forever imprisoned by his condition and struggling to make friends.  I also felt like we had wasted almost 5 years of our lives treating a condition that was returning only 7 months after being deemed "cured."

Through the help of some very trusted friends and mentors, I finally got a grip on my thought life a few weeks after coming home.  What helped the most was deep prayer ... and practice (because I believe this takes practice) BELIEVING that God had already cured Jackson ... and that His healing was complete.  We chose to only share our heartaches with prayer warriors ~ people we trusted to lift Jackson's spine up to the Lord and to BELIEVE with us!


On July 20th, 2015, we returned to Shriner's in Greenville.  On our way there, we got struck in traffic AND behind a terrible car accident ... making us almost 2 hours late for Jackson's appointment.  Anxiety ran high.  The staff at this Shriner's is incredibly accommodating and understanding, and they willingly moved Jackson's appointment so that he could be seen.  When we disappeared into the x-ray room, I had already made up my mind that regardless of how crazy/helicopter parent-ish we came across, Justin and I were going to coach Jackson through proper standing for his x-ray.  Everyone (doctor included) felt that Jackson had not been standing properly in April.  Our first answered prayer came by having an amazing x-ray technician who understood the importance of this film.  She helped Jackson to stand straight and was incredibly patient.  What a blessing.

Here is this week's x-ray:

Still see a gentle curve, don't you?  Look closely at what direction it is going!  To the right.  This is the opposite side of Jackson's PIS.  In other words, July's x-ray VERY closely mirrors his original brace "graduation" x-ray that showed 7 degrees of OVERCORRECTION to the right.

I love the assurance these two images give me when viewed side-by-side.  They are almost identical!

Jackson's doctor assured us that after looking at this new x-ray, he was sure that April's x-ray was showing a postural curve due to the way Jackson stood during the film.  He was no longer concerned about a recurrence of Jackson's PIS ... and we could wait the full 6 months before returning for a follow up.  Wow!  Six months is the longest we have ever gone without a Shriner's visit since Jackson's BIRTH!  Praise God!

Yes, Praise God!
LOOK at what He has done.  

This is a side-by-side comparison of April's "concerning" x-ray and July's "overcorrected" x-ray.

Nothing short of a miracle.
Certainly an answered prayer.

Evidence that:
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21