I was talking to my cousin, who recently had complicated spinal surgery for an advanced case of Scoliosis. He has had this condition for years but never found a doctor who could help, and now he is having trouble walking due to advances in the condition.

Before the surgery, he went to several neurosurgeons to see how they could help him. Many told him after looking at his MRI and other films that they could not help him and that he was too complicated and too old.

The last doctor he went to see was from Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia. He was worried about what this doctor would tell him as he needed help. He felt like his spine was collapsing, and if he did not get help, he would end up in a wheelchair. He is a very positive and active man and was hopeful someone could help him.

As the doctor reviewed the films, my cousin and his wife waited patiently. They watched him go over each film and saw him shake his head. My cousin said to the doctor, “I bet I know what you are thinking. The doctor turned to him and said, you do? My cousin said, I bet you are thinking; “What am I getting into?” The doctor smiled and said – precisely what I was thinking – but something needs to be done.

He then sat down and talked to my cousin and his wife. He told them what he thought he could do. He said, ‘It would be a complicated surgery, but if everything goes well, I think you will be much better than you are now.’

My cousin said he was willing to .take the chance as he could no longer live like this. He has a severe case of Scoliosis, and it was impacting his life in a way that was not acceptable to him. Otherwise, he was healthy but was feeling the repercussions of the condition.

My cousin had the surgery and is doing well. He is in an acute rehabilitation program and progressing well. His spirits are good, and he is doing his best to stay positive, follow the doctors’ orders, and work hard with the therapists, helping him re-learn how to walk and be safe now that his spine is more stable.

As I talked to my cousin, I was reminded that when healthcare works, it works well!

I am grateful he took the time to research specialists in the area and interview them till he found someone who could help him. The doctor was honest and did what he could to help my cousin.

As I was writing this article, I did some research to learn about Scoliosis. I learned that June is National Scoliosis Month! The National Scoliosis Foundation is putting out materials to educate the public about this condition and its treatments.

So, I thought I would share this story with readers so you could take some time to learn about Scoliosis and what to do if you, a family member, or a friend develop this condition. Like most conditions, finding it early and getting treatment early is critical.

Here is a link from the National Scoliosis Association. https://www.scoliosis.org/information/helpful-links

Best, Anne Llewellyn

Have a good week!

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