wings and things

Ming’s scoliosis decision

on November 23, 2013

Yesterday Ming made the decision to have the surgery on his spine and we will know when in the next week or so. The decision was not make lightly and no longer has anything to do with aesthetics (originally he was more upset to see that his straightened spine was now five degrees more crooked than it was post surgery in February 2012.) Now it is more to do with the ache at the site of where he fractured a length of titanium when he lifted something too heavy on our farm some months ago.

Apparently the fractured piece will not be replaced but instead will be mended with some sort of screw, then anchored to neighbouring vertebrae with more titanium and surrounded by bone from the bone bank. The operation will only be two hours this time, with no spinal cord monitoring required (the original surgery was around nine hours).

There is no guarantee that he will be straighter but there is hope that the pain will go away. The surgeon is now insistent that he stops all manual labour, not just now, but forever, which is something we were naive about last year. I guess we thought that once he’d healed he would once again be able to do anything he wanted to do; we didn’t understand the foreverness of his scoliosis condition, or perhaps we just didn’t want to accept it.

As with everything, Ming is coping much better than I am with the prognosis – surgery or not – but I am doing a very good job of hiding how sad I feel that my great, big, strong footballing, motorbike riding boy will never be able to bend, turn, lift etc. like most people can. So, yes, I am a little tragified but he isn’t and is very philosophical, which is great.

It’s all going to be fine.

Ming's Christmas present 2010 - 'Black beauty'

63 responses to “Ming’s scoliosis decision

  1. You’re absolutely doing the right thing. Nobody should be living in pain if there’s a way to take it away. I’ve lived with back pain for over 20 years and I never know when the pain will come back and how long it will stay. As for Ming, it sure forces him to think about his life path and what to do with his career. I guess this is one of life’s hurdles we have to get over every now and then.

  2. bulldog says:

    Wow a big decision he’s made, but it shows he has grown enough to make such a serious call that is going to affect the rest of his life…

  3. janeslog says:

    Titanium is very strong but can break. Ming will always have to beat that in mind so that it doesn’t break again. Ming should also think about things before doing them to see if they might cause damage to his rods and screws. Better safe than sorry.

    I have titanium screws in my left ankle. When I get off the train at Mount Florida station in Glasgow on my way to work, the distance between the train floor and platform is over 1 foot so I have to hold onto the handle of the train before jumping onto the platform in case I put too much pressure on the screws. I might look like on old aged pensioner getting off the train but it is better than lying on an operating table again.

    In the NHS hospitals in Scotland they tend to give orthopaedic operations with local anaesthetic rather than general anaesthetics now. Having has both, I think the local is better because you are in and out in no time and probably saves the NHS a bit of money because they can treat more patients in a day.

    If he has the choice and local anaesthetic is okay, he should get that instead of a general one. he will be out in no time and probably get over the operation much quicker.

    He will hear the drilling and be able to watch the surgeon and staff walking about, but will not really be aware of what’s happening as he will be well sedated. A nurse will be sitting at his side.

  4. mimijk says:

    Jules, my back is fused (stenosis, not scoliosis) from my neck down to where the sun don’t shine. And though I’m much much older than Ming, you’d be amazed at how spry and relatively limber I am. He will be more so – perhaps not competing in gymnastic at the Olympics, but certainly able to do far more than you are imagining. Prayers and hugs, m

  5. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Ahhh…Yes, it’s all about the pain and I know only too well, exactly how he is feeling (having had intermittent pain for over 30 years and almost constant back pain for 9 years.

    I DO so hope he will eventually be pain-free. I can assure you, Julie, having to avoid manual labour for the rest of his life is nothing compared to a life of constant pain/ache. Ming is so young. Having a restricted life is much better than having a constant pain life. Know matter how much you smile or joke about it, life is not easy with chronic back pain.

    I wish him all the best and hope that you will feel better soon too. At least this time around, he knows to be very, very careful after the surgery.

  6. Colline says:

    I am hoping that the surgery takes away the pain. I guess now he will be more careful with lifting of heavy things (though his is so hard to do in the heat of the moment).

  7. fgassette says:

    My prayer is for complete healing.


  8. My thoughts are with Ming and of course you. 🙂 I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the surgery turns out to be a success. xoxo

  9. lensgirl53 says:

    I have said a prayer for Ming. I personally know back pain (not scoliosis) and how it can affect your life. My husband, too, has had three spinal surgeries and has had fusion in his neck. Of course, him being a man and all, he still does those things that he probably should not. I hope Ming will take the advice of his physicians and live at his fullest in spite of it all. I am glad he is philosophical and has a good attitude. God bless you and Ming.


  10. I recieved this prayer by email once and it was a blessing to me. I send it now to you with a few modifications:

    Dear God:

    The lady reading this is beautiful, classy and
    strong, and I love her.

    Help her live her life to the fullest.

    Please promote her and cause her to excel above her expectations.

    Help her shine in the darkest places where it is impossible to love.

    Protect her at all times, lift her up when she needs you the most,
    and let her know when she walks with you, she, Ming and Ants will always be safe.


  11. It sounds like you’ve given Ming all of the tools he needs to be confident and sure of himself. I’m glad you have all at least gotten another step closer to getting rid of his pain.

  12. elizabeth says:

    Julie, I can’t imagine your fears and anxieties over this surgery and prognosis. Praying for you and especially Ming to come through this surgery unscathed. Sending love and hugs to you both, (((Hugs)))

  13. as a mother i understand your anguish for ming. you have raised an amazing young man. you and anthony must be so proud.of him. in the long run it may be a blessing for him to know and accept now his limits rather than later.

    you all are in my heart and thoughts each day. warm hugs and love to you my friend.

  14. Terry says:

    I am hopeful his pain will lesson but saddened by the prolonged use of his body

  15. tootlepedal says:

    Give my regards to Ming and say that I salute his courage.

  16. Lynda says:

    Julie, I too understand about back pain. Mine does not hold a candle to his, I am certain of that, but I would be taking the same course as he if I thought it would make me feel better. I am sure that you will, but please keep us posted on his surgery date and time. xo + prayer for you both!

  17. While he will have limitations it is so good that he will not have the pain. Living within those limitations may be hard at first … but Ming sounds like he will cope…. It’s always harder on the ‘mother’ ….. feeling for her albeit grown ‘child’… Diane

  18. Prayers, fingers and paws crossed, the surgery works and the other end sees you both relieved. Love, Paulette

  19. No manual labour ever may take a bit of getting use to but he doesn’t want any more problems so you know he will do it he will take more care after the surgery as he now knows what happens if he doesn’t. I hope he will be out of pain after the surgery, back pain is terrible and makes life so much harder than it needs to be

  20. Trisha says:

    Doing the surgery seems like a good choice. He’s too young to have to live with chronic pain, if it can be helped. Still, the forever-ness of his prognosis must be so hard to accept. My thoughts are with you both.

  21. Sorry he requires more surgery, and I’m sorrier still to find your strapping young son will have to settle for being unable to do manual labor. That is a hard blow for all of you. I send you thoughts of peace and acceptance. And cyber hugs, lots of cyber hugs.

  22. FlaHam says:

    Julie, It is quite obvious that Ming comes from a strong family. That he has the character of his dad, and the heart of his mom. He will find a way to take this in stride, and make the best of it. And he has great moral support. I know it is difficult, I know it is scary, but you’ll will make it fine. Take care, Bill

  23. My son was diagnosed with cancer when he was 20 and the hardest part for me was wanting to just sit in a ball and cry; and yet not being able to as I needed to remain strong for him. It was a very difficult balance. (Quiet private moments of sobbing in the loo helped). I know that you will find the courage to remain strong for him and, with your support, he will get through this.
    Thinking of you.
    (PS. After surgery my son became cancer free and has been now for 9 years).

    • jmgoyder says:

      Omg – what you have been through – so glad your son is cancer free now – and I know what you mean re the loo-sobbing! Love to you Elizabeth and thank you so much.

  24. 😦 Tough stuff. Glad he is taking it so well.

  25. Anonymous says:

    As a chronic pain sufferer & one who has limited movement from a broken pelvis…I had to learn to reinvent myself. Before they stopped my pain, I couldnt be anything. All I was was pain. I pray that when Mings pain is gone, he will be able to be strong of mind & reinvent himself & find the path he was born to follow. My thoughts & prayers are with you & Ming. -Amy

  26. Ann Koplow says:

    Thanks for the word “tragified,” the rest of this post, and the wonderful photo. All my best wishes are with you and Ming.

  27. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    On you, Ming!

    It’s so strange, I don’t actually KNOW you, but I feel for you. I think Ming is brave, & I truly wish him the best.

  28. niasunset says:

    I hope too dear Julie, this surgery works well. My best wishes for you both, Ming is a strong and brave young man, I am sure, everything will be fine. Love, nia

  29. tersiaburger says:

    It is so difficult and heartbreaking for a mother to see her child in pain. It is difficult to mourn their losses (of mobility) and remain strong for them. Hugs my dear friend.

  30. Dear Jules, you know my medical history with implants and that I don’t let it identify me.
    Neither will your Ming. He’ll not allow his circumstances to defeat him.
    . Your son has the fortitude and resilience I wish I could see in all young people today.
    His attitude towards life is his beautiful saving grace..

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