Regardless of whether or not you read the blog, please remember Caleb in your prayers. He is 17 and this is a very very very serious surgery. Below is an excerpt from the "My Story" section on the blog. The blog is on Caringbridge.org, it's a neat website that enables families to keep in contact when going through illness and surgery such as Caleb's. This post was written by my dad from October 10th:
Our son, Caleb has a disease called Scheuermann's Kyphosis. We have
created this site to keep our friends and family updated on his progress.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated. We will be making journal entries during Caleb's surgery and his recovery, so check back often for updates.
In layman's terms, Scheuermann's Disease is a condition where the
patient has an abnormal forward curve in the spinal column. As the disease
progresses, the patient will begin to have a "hunchback" appearance. Eventually
the internal organs and spinal cord may be compromised and as in Caleb's case,
chronic pain may be experienced.
After trying various forms of treatment including bracing, we were told that Caleb needed surgery but that the amount of correction would be minimal. In other words, they could "help" to relieve the pain but basically he would need to learn to live with the condition. Caleb was scheduled to have the surgery in Memphis in August of this year.
As the time for the surgery approached, Trish and I continued our research, reading
everything we could find about Scheuermann's Disease on the Internet.
Eventually we came across a blog written by the mother of a young lady from
Michigan with Scheuermann's disease by the name of Molly. Molly's parents had
located a surgeon in North Carolina, Dr. Lloyd Hey, who believed he could
correct Molly's condition. In July of this year, Molly and her family traveled
to North Carolina for the surgery which was a total success!
Encouraged by Molly's success, we contacted Dr. Hey who reviewed Caleb's X-rays. He believed that significant correction could be made and that he could eliminate Caleb's pain. He also suggested that we might want to contact Dr. Lawrence Lenke at
Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Lenke is one of the world’s foremost leaders in spinal deformity surgery. He is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in complex reconstructive spine surgery for children and adults. You can read more about Dr. Lenke at http://www.spinal-deformity-surgeon.com/
We immediately contacted Dr. Lenke and in late August he saw Caleb in his
office in St. Louis. Dr. Lenke advised us that he believed he could make a very
significant correction to Caleb's condition through the use of a relatively new
technique called Vertebral Column Resection . Dr. Lenke explained to Caleb the
risks associated with this surgery including the possibility of paralysis. Caleb
is 17 years old and we believed it was important that he make the final decision
about surgery. His initial reaction, was "no way" but after some consideration,
he said "yes". This is not Caleb's first major surgery, so he understands that
this is not a walk in the park!
Since Dr. Lenke sees patients from around the world and because Caleb's surgery would require 8 to 10 hours, scheduling would be a challenge. His first available date was March 12, 2009. His assistant said there was a slight possibility of October 16, 2008 being available, but that date was contingent on the progress of another patient who was requiring multiple surgeries.....in other words, October 16 was a long shot!
Today, we received a call from Kathy in Dr. Lenke's office. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for the October date, Caleb is scheduled for surgery on October 16, 2008! Our first series of prayers have been answered. Because Caleb's pain has
increased, it was growing more and more evident that he needs this surgery as
soon as possible.