In June of 2012, I noticed Starla’s back was forming oddly. I didn’t know at the time that was a rib hump. She was nearly 6 months old then. Many blew it off and I didn’t know if it was a big deal or not. In December, 2012 my chiropractor ordered an x-ray of her back. I took the x-ray to her pediatrician who diagnosed her with infantile Scoliosis. She was days away from turning one year old. We were blessed by the fact that her pediatrician was honest enough to tell me that he didn’t know who to send her to. As soon as I got home, I googled Infantile Scoliosis and found ISOP. The following week I was in contact with a hospital which applies the Mehta Cast to patients and had our first appointment January 2, 2013.
It was very hard to go through these first few appointments. We were told Starla’s curve was 30 degrees with rotation and the doctor wanted to wait and see how her scoliosis would develop as she grows. We understood the wait and see and were hopeful that we would see improvement. But we also questioned at what point we decide to cast. She continued to grow but the curve continued to stay at 30 degrees. Being a Christian married couple, we always make big decisions together. This decision was a challenge for us. One of us had faith God would heal her without treatment. The other felt God telling us to cast her. It was a challenge to get on the same page it required several difficult conversations. Ultimately, we decided that if the doctor recommended casting, we would move forward with the treatment.
Starla’s first Mehta cast was applied May 21, 2013 at the age of 16 months with her pre-cast x-ray revealing a 37 degree curve. It was a rough day as I assume it is for every family. We were filled with emotions. Emotions of thankfulness that she was getting the treatment that could cure her, emotions of grief that she needed to be in such a hospital getting treatment. Fear of how our lives would change and hopeful that we started treatment early enough.
The procedure went much faster than I had anticipated. The doctor was paging us after just 15 minutes. I panicked because I thought something had to have gone wrong for them to page us so quickly. When he entered the room, he told us everything went very well. He got her curve completely straight and rotation completely straight, too! What a miracle! We had been warned prior to casting that he would focus on the rotation with the first cast and not to expect great improvements with the curve. So, to have both completely straight was astonishing! It confirmed in our hearts that we did the right thing in treating her early.
We are currently finishing up our first full week in our first cast. Starla is the same person she was before. She plays and laughs. She eats and sleeps. She falls over more and can’t get up. She has learned she can’t pick toys up off the floor and whines until she gets our attention to hand her a toy. She has learned to roll over in her crib but is still not strong enough to push herself up. I feel that we are reliving the milestones we accomplished nearly a year ago. But that is ok. She will figure these things out and we continue to find little ways to help make life a little more comfortable. We have given her a sponge bath and have learned how to floss. I feel we have learned about all we need to in this first week. It was scary at first but I am trusting that it will get easier and easier and become more normal.
I haven’t thought much about the next cast. I know to expect her curve to return most likely to the 30’s again out of cast. I am hopeful she will become straight again once in the second cast. At that point, she will be 18 months old. I plan to start charting her numbers in and out of cast. I am hopeful we will see the trend to start dropping and continue that downward slide to zero. I am personally hopeful she will be straight out of cast in a short one to two years. I know there are no guarantees but that is where our faith continues. We have faith that God brought this treatment to us so quickly and that He will use it to heal our daughter completely. We have faith that she will be a walking testimony of God’s healing power.
To any parents out there just beginning to get your child evaluated, please keep strong. Have hope and push for treatment. If you are a parenting team, hold on tight to each other and don’t let the stresses of the condition divide you. Your little child needs you both. If you find a doctor dragging his feet in treating your child, PLEASE get a second or third opinion from another Mehta Casting specialist. Reach out for help if you are not sure what to do. There are many families out here who have left their own foot prints in this scoliosis world and would love to take your hand and give you a tour of the possibilities. Your child can be cured. It isn’t a guarantee BUT the sooner your child gets treated with a Mehta Cast, the better outcome he or she will have. So, let the tears flow when you need to, but forge ahead in treatment. You can find a great support system if you reach out and ask.
Finally, Hugs to you and your little one.