Today was the day that months of months of waiting finally paid off as we travelled to our much anticipated second opinion appointment with a surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children ("Sick Kids") in Toronto.
As it turned out months and months of waiting culminated with hours and hours of waiting. Our appointment was for 10:00 and we were told to be there at 9:30. We got Jodi's dad to come over last night so we could leave early enough in the morning and he could take The Dude to school for 8:30. We left a smidge after 7:30 and got to Sick Kids at 9:38.
Did I mention that driving to Toronto sucks?
We arrive at the orthopaedic clinic at 9:40 and wait in line until 10:00. After a good 15 minutes to get registered and get all of the images copied over from CD we go off to x-ray, where we wait some more. From x-ray we go back to orthopaedics and we wait there, and wait, and wait, and wait. Sometime around 11:50 we get to go to a room! We wait there for another ten minutes or so before we are greeted by a very pleasant Nurse Practitioner named Kim (I believe it was Kim. Jodi noticed her name but I only got her title. All you psychology/sociology nerds can judge me later, I'm telling a story here).
Nurse Practitioner Kim was wonderful with Avery and put her through a barrage of tests, the whole time telling us that she had spoken with the surgeon and would be bringing him in shortly. At around 12:25 or so Kim left to get the surgeon and I ran out to put more money in the S.S. Minnow parking meter thingy (it only lets you pay in three hour tours).
The surgeon returned a few minutes after I got back and gave us the news that we knew was coming: the only way to fix Avery's curve is through surgery. This was not unexpected but I know that I found it reassuring nonetheless.
We did find out a few other things while we were there as well:
- Her spine is probably only going to grow another couple centimetres so this is a good time to have the surgery (she's going to be all legs, just like her mother)
- Spine angles in her range typically get 70-80% corrected (as opposed to only 50% correction if her angles were worse)
- The doctor feels she has more flexibility than she was showing during her bend tests today (anxiety and having been sitting in a car and chairs all morning factors)
- She's not likely going to need a brace after her surgery (they only brace afterwards in a select few cases)
- Her spine is also rotated (in addition to curved). Rotation of the spine for a curve this large is expected and they'd be worried if it didn't
And that was that. Since this was a second opinion appointment there wasn't any further paperwork required and she was discharged and off we went. To give you some of an idea of what Avery's spine looks like now I took this low-res screen shot off my laptop from her MRI on October 26:
|The only thing fixing this curve is surgery.
As you can see, there's no doubt about it. Because of the "S" curve in her spine she bends to one side better than she does the other. As Jodi eluded to in a previous post Avery and I were at yoga two weeks ago and Avery tried to do some wall work (yoga against a wall - it's much harder and gives you an indication of your true range of motion). Well, she was unable to do a posture that she previously had no trouble with. It was the first physical manifestation of her condition that she had experienced and it was in front of a whole bunch of people she didn't know. This brought on a wave of emotions and she broke down in the middle of class and I had to bring her home. As a parent it was incredibly hard for me to watch so I can only imagine how hard it was for her to experience. Anyway, she went back next week with my mother and they didn't do wall work and they both had a great time.
Up next: On Thursday Avery does her cardio-pulmonary baseline tests and afterwards she gets her blood and antibodies typed and I get my blood tested for compatibility.
P.S. Driving into Toronto sucks.