October 11, 2017...it started out as an off day for me to take all three kids to their well visit to our wonderful pediatrician. She's in Atlanta, so they got to miss school an extra day after Fall Break, and we were excited to spend the day together and run a few errands. Our pediatrician had already completed exams for the two littles, and was halfway into Carson's exam, when she explained to him she was going to do his scoliosis screening since he was approaching middle school age. He was straight as an arrow and before she could move on to something else, Cullen bounced up out of the chair and declared "I want to be screened too!"...Effie quickly followed his lead. With great patience, our pediatrician happily obliged and had them come over for a quick look. Cullen was complete and on his way...Effie bent over. I remember saying to her "Effie, stand up straight...you're not holding your shoulders level"...then it hit me...I looked at our pediatrician and she looked at me--we both saw it.
How did I never see this before? I'm a nurse midwife...I see patients all the time...I spend a ton of time with Effie...how? We left the office with a change of plans in search of a Children's Healthcare Radiology facility to get a specific x-ray. We found it and before we left, we already knew there was some degree of scoliosis...now we just had to wait for the report and the phone call. It came and with two curves noted, we now have to see a specialist. Less than a week later, I've managed to get her in to a specialist. There's so much information it's hard for me to process it all. I'm up late and up early cramming information...needing to learn anything that I can. Due to some abnormal reflexes, the scoliosis specialist has ordered an MRI to rule out a spine deformity. As of the day I'm writing this entry, it's a week away. Provided the MRI is normal, we will remain with this specialist and another thing he has ordered is a brace which we will be fitted for in 2 weeks. She will need to wear the brace for 22 hours per day.
I'm struggling with all of this. My normal pretty positive and cheery spirit is dampened. I know it could be worse and truly am thankful that it's a diagnosis we can do something about. But my sweet girl...she has had several things dealt to her...she has struggled more at times than others, but has never waivered in her sweet spirit. I know God has big plans for her, and that He is preparing her for something that I can't even imagine. And yet here I sit still praying for understanding and guidance. This morning I went to wake her...she always stretches out and then reaches for me to hug her...I leaned in to put my arm around her small delicate waist...her body is so soft...so snuggly as always, and suddenly my eyes, filled with tears, burning. As soon as the brace is made and gets here, how often will I actually get to hug and squeeze her without a hard shell brace in place? Will that lack of physical touch affect her in the future? I choked back the tears, kissed her head and quickly darted out to wake the boys before she saw any tears.
Mothering is not for the faint of heart...frankly I think I get it wrong more days than I get it right, but I keep trying. I am determined to make this diagnosis count for something...I plan to use the blog to document our journey..the good...the bad....and the ugly. To hopefully help Effie relay how she feels and work to help educate others that may be facing this. I am determined to turn this into something positive. We went for our first run since the diagnosis today...it was therapeutic for me to turn that music up and let my mind wander. But surely I know that although bent, she surely isn't broken.