The Brace- Friend and Foe

The Foe of Scoliosis, The Redeemer of Spine Curvatures, and  it’s always got your back like a loyal friend. Presenting the one and only….Providence Brace! It’s been Brian’s nighttime companion for a little over a month now and their relationship has definitely had its ups and downs.

Brian has grown almost 4 inches over the past year, necessitating the brace. The orthopedic surgeon had forewarned us of the likelihood of Brian having scoliosis about 8 months ago when X-rays showed the curvature of his lower thoracic/upper lumbar region of his spine.  I was able to clearly see the curvature  progression myself on the subsequent X-rays- it was undeniable and painful to see. The curve started at 16 degrees…Doctor said that 25 degrees was the magic number for bracing and Brian wore his brace for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day.  Coincidentally, my final chemo infusion for colon cancer was on the same day 6 years ago. I completed my journey and Brian was about to begin his- the irony was not lost on me.

As you can imagine, the first week was rough for Brian to sleep. He woke up frequently, was irritable, and sweaty from the brace, even though a bonus prize of 2 special undershirts to keep Brian comfortable and prevent rashes came with this $3000 customized contraption. In a few weeks, however, he developed an awful heat rash, so we switched to under armour shirts, then the rash came back again, with a terrible itch. My husband saved the day when he came across a Gold Bond spray that thank  goodness, has been working very well so far. Brian is finally sleeping much better too, so thank God for that! Brian has been stoic in putting on his “armor” nightly, and doesn’t complain perse, but what my husband and I both notice is the sadness, almost resignation , that Brian displays when we strap him in each night. His big blue eyes peer at us intently as we go through this nightly ritual ,wondering if we might change our minds and not have him wear this thing.

I tearfully lamented to a few friends this past week that bracing Brian has been hard for him and hard for us. I greatly appreciated their listening ears because I’ve been really struggling with this. Even though we know that “this too shall pass,” things will get better”it’s for his own good”, etc. and all of those other platitudes. He has been wetting his bed frequently too, a silent, yet loud protest to the brace. Yes, I’m sure this will pass as well….

In the final analysis, anytime our Precious Marvels go through challenges, we parents are in the trenches with them, feeling their pain, wishing we could make it go away. It is instinctive to protect our children not only from harm, but even from helpful tools, like a Providence Brace, because it is initially daunting, even though it is for their own good. We will eventually look back with pride at how Brian once again conquered another new challenge, but in the meantime, we are relying on Providence to see us through one day  and one  bracing at a time….











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