Hi friends, Reaj here. I wish I could say, “I’m out of the office for two weeks because I’m going to Bali for vacation”. Sadly, this is not the case. I have shared with some of my clients that my oldest lamb, Caleb, who is 13, has Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. We have had specialists monitor his progress for a few years with x-rays every 6 months and later bracing for 18 hours daily. The brace was uncomfortable, hot (especially in Arizona in the summer), and very hard to enforce our tween to wear because he hates everything about it. After 6 months of Caleb wearing the brace there was a glimmer of hope that his spine curvature had improved as it lessened by 10 degrees. Time went on and he continued to sprout and by September last year we were told that the Thoracic curve had increased to over 60 degrees and Spinal Fusion Surgery was inevitable.
Our family has been preparing for this ever since and this spring has been especially challenging for our family. I cannot thank our family and friends enough who have been with us along the way. Especially, his dearest friend A who loves him, prays for him, and encourages him when Caleb will not let me in. You all truly enrich our lives ways I never thought imaginable. I thank you for your understanding and hope you have not felt too left out with the unanswered phone calls or text messages.
This long narrative leads us to this coming Tuesday, June 6th. The date that has been on my calendar since last fall. It has literally been a count down day in our household. Caleb’s curves have now progressed to 69 degrees from T5 to T11 and 73 degrees from T11 to L3 and Caleb will have two titanium rods screwed into each side of his spine to allow the spine to fuse and straighten. This will allow his spine to straighten considerably but will not make it perfectly straight as the curvatures are so severe. Surgery time is estimated to be around 5 hours after which he will be taken to the PICU at Honor Health Hospital Shea in Scottsdale for 3-5 days and then very limited activity for 6 weeks post-op.
Ironically, June is Scoliosis Awareness Month and green is the color used to signify awareness. In an effort to show Caleb how many people love and support him near and far, it would be awesome if you could wear any shade of GREEN on TUESDAY, JUNE 6th and post a selfie either on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #IGotYourBackCaleb so that I can show him he is not alone. My hope is that it will bring a smile to his face. We have family and friends far away that we know would love to be here to show their support but are unable to, your prayers are felt and requested. If you are on Instagram, check out the hashtags #ScoliosisWarrior #ScoliosisStrong #BentNotBroken and read stories from kids all around the world who have struggled with Scoliosis and/or Spinal Fusion Surgery. Their stories, strength, realness, and positive outlook on their disability have been remarkable to read.
I anticipate being able to answer and return calls after June 17 and hope to resume business as usual shortly thereafter. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
“Do not be afraid for I am with you. Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will STRENGTHEN you and HELP you. I will HOLD YOU UP with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10