Sunday, 19 June 2016

Brave battle to heal a body

JUNE is Scoliosis Awareness Month, so for Inverell’s Lauren Mangano and her mother Kym, it was a perfect time to tell their story of Lauren’s experience with the disorder, and of her terror when, six ago months today, surgeons prepared to straighten her spine.

Lauren just after surgery.

X-rays, before and after her operation, of Lauren Mangano spine.

Lauren just after surgery with her brother Chris while being taken back to the ward.

Lauren just after surgery with her brother Chris while being taken back to the ward.

Scoliosis is a progressive, lateral curvature of the spine affecting both children and adults. In children the condition can rapidly progress as the child grows.
For 14-year-old Lauren, the first sign of scoliosis was detected in x-rays for a suspected shoulder injury following a fall at age 10. Kym actually asked the radiologist if Lauren had moved while the x-ray was being taken.
“He said no, but that we would have to go and see about it, and from that we noticed that the top of her spine had curved,” she said. In 2011, Lauren was referred to a specialist at John Hunter Hospital who diagnosed scoliosis. She had with a 17 degree curve. Lauren said the first thing they did was Google scoliosis.
“It looked scary and painful,” Lauren said.
And she did suffer pain that greatly restricted her sport as the curve in her spine increased. 
Surgeons decided to operate in 2015 to realign her hips and straighten her shoulders after the curve in her spine reached 77 degrees. Lauren said when that day arrived on December 14, she was terrified by the risks. 
“I didn’t know what was going to happen afterwards,” she said.
“I kept thinking ‘what happens if something goes wrong? What happens if they hit a nerve in my back? I could be paralysed’.”
It looked scary and painful.
- Lauren Mangano
Surgeons untwisted Lauren’s spine as much as they could, inserted two titanium rods into her back, pinned them in place and fused parts of her spinal column.
But nothing went wrong and Lauren’s fears never eventuated; and Kym said her daughter grew six-and-a-half centimetres overnight.

“One of the first things she said afterwards was ‘I’ve got a waist’, because of how she was she never had one before,” Kym said.

Although Lauren still suffers with muscular tearing as her body adjusts to its new position and the rods dig into her back when she sits at school, Kym said she is a great deal better than before.
“When I leave school I want to go to university and become a nurse, or go into the scoliosis clinic and help kids that have the same problem as me because I know about it and have been through it,” Lauren said.

Source : The Inverell Times , 14th June 2016 

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