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When Your Child Needs Surgery

By EMMA PRICE

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November 13th 2013, was the day that I had my five hour orthopedic surgery. I avoided this surgery for six years. I was terrified and unsure of what was going to happen during, after surgery and in the months of physical therapy ahead.

At fourteen years old, I twisted my left knee for the first time. For a week after this, I couldn’t put weight on my left leg and my knee swelled. I went to physical therapy and got new stretches/exercises that helped for a few years.

At the age of eighteen years old, I twisted my knee for the third time. After it healed again, it became difficult to put any weight on it, due to feeling like it was going to twist again and again. At this time, I started therapy for my knee again. I used therapeutic tape, different stretches and strengthening exercises to keep my knee from twisting again. Once again, these things helped a little bit but didn’t stop the continuous ache in my knee. After two years of trying these things, it was determined that this was a problem with my bones and that surgery was the only way to fix it.

My orthopedic doctor decided that I needed femoral and tibial derotational osteotomies. I also had hamstring lengthening on both legs. He broke my femur bone and realigned it with a rod and screws. He then broke my tibia and realigned it with plates and screws. He then cut my hamstring muscles on both my legs to release me from pain and give me range of motion.

I woke up with a bright pink cast that went from my toes, up to my mid calf on my left leg and knee immobilizers on both of my legs. Also, I woke up with two IVs, an epidural for pain and a catheter. I was in the hospital for 5 days. I could not bear any weight or take off my knee immobilizers for three weeks. After that, I started rehab.

Rehab was slow, steady, hard, painful and worth it. This rehab consisted of three times a week of physical therapy and water therapy. I had to learn how to walk again. From a walker, to quad canes to a second surgery to finally heal my broken femur, after over a year of continues rehab, my goal of independently walking without continuous knee pain was reached.

Do you or your child need surgery? Here are my tips:

1. Try physical therapy first

Physical therapy might help relieve your pain or issue that is going on, such as stretches, exercises or taping.

2. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon/ask all of your questions

This is so important. This will ensure that you are getting the correct treatment and that the orthopedic surgeon you are in front of, is the correct doctor for you. No question is stupid. There are never too many questions.

3) Be kind to your body

These surgeries are difficult and hard on your body. It will take time and physical therapy to get you back to where you were/or in a better place. You will get better. You will get through the pain. Hopefully, it will make you better or your life easier.

EMMA PRICE

Emma Price is a college student and blogger. She lives with Cerebral Palsy and anxiety. She hopes to help people through her writing by showing the beautiful and hard parts of living with disabilities and inspiring people to go after their dreams. Follow along on her journey on Instagram and at  beyondthebraces.wordpress.org.

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