Nicholas’ scoliosis patient story.
I was born with Scheuermann’s disease which is a form of scoliosis that affects the curvature of my back laterally. No one knew I had it, not my friends, family, nor the doctors. However, I knew my body and I knew something was wrong when I would slouch my back due to the pain standing upright caused.
In the seventh grade I started football. When I would wear the protective pads, after a while my back would begin to hurt from the pressure. It suddenly became “normal “for me when my back would hurt even more just while sitting down or walking for extended periods of time. Two years of discomfort later, I made my high school football team. However, that wasn’t without my pain continuing to increase. Eventually, due to the pain in my back, I couldn’t bend over to stretch let alone play in the games. I would ice my back for hours upon hours a day hoping I would feel better and, therefore, perform better, but still the pain never fully subsided.
The aching in my back had become persistent all day long, every day. The pain became physically apparent when I learned to semi-cope with the pain by arching my back. This led to people bullying me, calling me a “hunch back” for my first half of high school. Then I hit my breaking point – physically and mentally. After several doctors were unable to diagnose me with what was causing this ready and not imaged pain, I visited Dr. Federico P. Girardi. He told me that my rapid growth spurt was what was causing my back pain and developed the arch in my back.
Three appointments, seven hours, two rods and twenty-five screws in my spine later and on April 9, 2017 I was finally on the road to recovery. I opened my eyes to the agony of my own pain. Falling asleep for another hour, I woke up again but this time from the urge to vomit due to the morphine pump I was attached to. Two hours after that, I woke up again and it was time for progress to flourish. Step One: Learning how to walk again.
The next day my own determinability drove me to walk again. With the aid of a walker, accompanied by an insane amount of pain, my feet shuffled against the cold hospital floor. The following day I walked the entire floor without the walker and the feeling of confidence was an understatement for tomorrow’s challenges. Tomorrow came and I couldn’t move. I exceeded my limitations and paid the consequences for it. I was forced to continue to take the painkillers prescribed to me in order for me to continue to move around. It was vital for me not to stunt my own progress in regard to healing.
It was now time to rip the bandages off – literally. As the hospital staff began to take my bandages off and remove the five-inch-long drain out of my back, an overwhelming sense of emotion began to take over me as I clenched with the palm of my hands onto the railings of my hospital bed. After four years, I could now envision a future without pain. The aspects of life I had taken for granted, then and still to this day, instead feel like precious gifts. I realized as my experience was coming to a hopeful end, that the ability to walk in the hallways of school, run on the football field, and stand up straight and be hugged are not abilities that everyone possesses. I once lost those abilities and with the talent of medicine and my own perseverance, gained them back.