On Tuesday, July 28th, I am having a spinal fusion. Because my muscles are weak, as I was growing up, they didn’t support my spine growth, so my back grew crooked. At five years old, I got veptr rods put in my back to correct my scoliosis. When I had the veptr rods, I had to go in to surgery every 6 months to get my rods lengthened as I grew. At about eight years old, my veptr rods were replaced with MAGEC rods. MAGEC rods are magnetic rods, and every 3-6 months, I went to get them lengthened. However, the lengthening process is quite different. With MAGEC rods, you go to the doctor’s office to get them lengthened, and the doctor uses a machine that is able to lengthen the rods through my back with a magnetic force. There is no surgery involved. This past year, we have known that my rods can’t grow anymore, so we knew that it was time to do my spinal fusion.
During my surgery, Dr. Vitale will take out my MAGEC rods that are currently in me, and replace them with permanent rods that he will fuse to my spine. This should be the final back surgery I will have to have.
This past week, I have had several preoperative appointments to get clearance for my surgery. This included seeing my cardiologist, pediatrician, ENT, pulmonologist, orthopedic surgeon and my plastic surgeon. I also had to get blood work and a COVID test, along with x-rays. Let’s just say it’s been quite a busy and stressful week!
This past Monday, I saw my ENT, Dr. Rickert, at NYU Langone. At this appointment, Dr. Rickert looked down my trache with a scope to make sure my airway looked nice and healthy for my surgery. He always lets me look into the camera, as you can see I am doing in the picture:)
Also on Monday, I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Tan, at NYU Langone. When I was at the cardiologist, I had an echo and an EKG to make sure my heart looked good! She also sent me home wearing a heart monitor so she could review my heart activity to have that information on file as a baseline for future tests.
Yesterday (Thursday), I had my COVID test. The nurse did a nose swab on me, which basically means that she put a cotton swab up my nose and moved it around for a few seconds. I have been scared for this test for a very long time, and I have talked about it to my friends and family constantly and watched many videos of “how badly it hurt”, but people actually make it out worse than it is! As you will see in the video below, I said “ow” a few times, but at the end I smiled and said it didn’t hurt. It was mostly just uncomfortable. The COVID test was definitely MUCH easier than I thought it would be! The results came back really fast, and thankfully I do not have coronavirus.
My final appointment yesterday was with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Vitale, at Columbia Presbyterian. He has done all of my previous back surgeries, and is an amazing surgeon. At Columbia, I also got blood work and x-rays done.
I plan to keep myself occupied by writing about my experiences during my many days in the hospital and transition home. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts regarding my surgery and recovery! I hope that blogging about this will be helpful to some people that will be getting this procedure in the future.