My name is Yetunde Omorode and my daughter is Venus Omorode aka Titanium Vee… and we are Scoliosis Warriors!!
Venus was diagnosed with severe scoliosis tail end of our summer vacation in Atlanta in August 2011. I had noticed she had a bounce and tilt to her walk and also complained of backaches. Until one night she ran screaming to my room that her shoulders were not leveled. I looked at her and became worried but tried not to show it, comforted her and told her to get to bed as it was very late in the night and we would discuss in the morning. I immediately googled “unleveled shoulders’ and to my horror, scoliosis popped up!!! I remember scoliosis from Biology in secondary school and also remember during labour in 2000, I was unable to be administered the Epidural because my spine had shifted from where it’s supposed to be and I was told I had mild scoliosis.. PLEASE NOTE. SCOLIOSIS IS NOT HEREDITARY!!!I improved my posture and got the epidural for my third child, spine shifted.. Yay!!
Anyway, I searched for the nearest spine specialist and booked an appointment. She was assessed 2 days later and diagnosed with a Cobb angle of about 75 degrees. She was a month to her 12th birthday and it was devastating news. The doctors told us her body did a good job disguising the curve .But we trusted in God!
My Reaction? I was calm. I just believed there was a way forward and God will guide us through. Venus was heartbroken and scared but shook it off and became aware and wanted to know more about scoliosis and help herself. She was super pro active at that age!! My husband was super supportive too! The entire family was our Rock! We were not in denial.
First course of treatment for Venus was the Spinecore Brace. She got fitted for one in Atlanta which she wore for 22 hours everyday. She only took it off for showers and swimming. She hated it!! Though not as rigid as the Boston brace, it was like a stray jacket! Lol! But she wore it and was on pain meds the first few weeks as she was in pain.
We followed up the next 2 holidays with Intense Physiotherapy Sessions for 2 weeks in Atlanta to help reduce her curve and improved flexibility. I didn’t see much difference so I started my research especially as surgery wasn’t an option then.
We discovered the Clear Institute who believed in non-surgical treatments for scoliosis using breathing techniques and exercises with several equipment and apparatus. I made contact with Dr Strauss in New York and we enrolled Venus for 2weeks for the Scoliosis Bootcamp. It was an eye opening adventure to the world of scoliosis and the non surgical treatments available.
Sadly, by the time we got to NY, her curve had progressed to 98 degrees, we were shocked! This was predominantly due to the fact that Venus had hit puberty and puberty progressed alongside scoliosis! Whattttttt???!!!!!!!
Venus attended 2 Scoliosis Bootcamps consecutively during her holidays.She missed out on hanging out with friends and family but she kept pushing. She also saw a Lagos based Chiropractor during holidays for adjustments and stretches and a masseuse for massages too. The Bootcamp was intense 2 sessions a day 6 days a week, we only had Mondays off. She was strapped on so many equipments like the Ekard table, Scoliosis chair, the gun and so many more.It was gruesome, but the hardworking paid off. Her curve reduced to 79.6 at the end of the Bootcamp.
One day while I waited to pick her from Bootcamp, I got a divine revelation for my daughter’s healing and it was going to be through Surgery!! I blocked it out as I never wanted surgery to be an option.
Eventually, God directed us and we met with Dr Colin Nnadi in the U.K. for consultation. He was based in Oxford. Venus and her surgeon hit it off immediately and I was pleased and we set the dates for Pre Op assessments and Surgery. Surgery was June 28th 2014.
Venus had a Spinal Fusion surgery with 2 titanium rods fused in her back with about 30 hooks and screws. She was in surgery for about 9 and half hours!!! Once again the surgeon came out to confirm her body really disguised the scoliosis too well.
Venus was in ICU for a few hours and next day she had to start Physio to learn to walk, sit, stand, climb, so many actions we take for granted. She was in pain but kept going, kept pushing, she was discharged in 5 days, 3 days ahead of discharge. She was a star in the hospital; never had they receive so many flowers, packages and visitors for any patient as they did for Venus. Friends and family supported us!
Post op was tough but she scaled through it and resumed school in October thanks to Ebola outbreak.
She resumed back as a boarder and her school was super helpful especially the boarding house team and her friends and classmates!
She’s 3 years post op this June and back to playing tennis, netball, soccer and volleyball, still swims and loves to dance!! She does have mild backaches but only when she over does any physical activity but I haven’t heard any complains in a while. She is not on pain medication either. She doesn’t shy away from showing her scar. She loves to show her scar. Venus in the past 5 years has successfully diagnosed about 10 people with scoliosis from her school and outside, some have had surgery, some receiving treatment as surgery isn’t needed and one of her friends is having her surgery in July. Venus is a fighter and strong. We don’t call her Titanium Vee for nothing. One of the best things she says about having the rods in her back is that she loves when she passes through security at airports and she beeps!! She always has to be put aside for a pat down and then she tells them she’s got rods in her back and they officers are always eager to hear her story!! Hehehehe
Life as a scoli mum has been very enlightening as I have always been open about this experience, never hid it and that’s how I got all the directions which aided this Scoliosis journey. I knew my onions when it came to scoliosis so when anyone came to me with trash talk, I educate them! Lol!
Scoliosis is getting very rampant now and I’m glad more awareness is being done. Sadly, most times it’s diagnosed late.
Early detection is key for Early Correction.
In the US and U.K., I know every start of the academic year, the school nurse carries out the scoliosis test on all students to check, the earliest diagnosis is referrals from the school nurses to GPs.
Schools in Nigeria need to adopt that too. The healthcare system here needs to be reeducated with more information and awareness about scoliosis. Scoliosis support groups are very necessary to help counsel and advise patients and their families.
I am super proud and encouraged with the works of Beyond a curved spine with the awesome job with Scoliosis Awareness … You Rock!!!