Is It Worth The Risk | Teen Ink

Is It Worth The Risk

October 24, 2023
By ramwriter06 BRONZE, Newark, Delaware
ramwriter06 BRONZE, Newark, Delaware
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Getting older with cerebral palsy has come with some challenges as your body grows.  When I was five years old, I had Bilateral Osteotomy surgery on my hips, which was basically hip reconstructive surgery.  I do not remember a lot about it but that was my first major surgery and the recovery time was about a year.  In middle school, my hands started to contract inward, so I lost basic motor functions in my hands.  I felt frustrated and angry because I could not do things for myself anymore that I had been able to do when I was younger.    

After some research, my parents found there was a wrist fusion surgery that would straighten out my hands and give me function back.  Over dinner for a few nights, we talked about it.  Did I want to see if I was a candidate for the surgery?  I was scared.  Looking back on it, I know it was the fear of the unknown.  What if the surgery did not go how I thought?  At least right then, I knew what I could and could not do.  After thinking about it for a while, I decided I wanted to find out if I was a good candidate. We made an appointment to see a hand specialist at Nemours Children’s Hospital.  The doctor looked at my wrist and x-rays and said she could help.  I immediately felt a little excitement, but I was still mostly scared.  How cool would it be to have the use of my hands again?  To not rely on other people as much as I had been? The surgery on my left wrist was scheduled for August 2021, and it was only the beginning of May.  So much time to worry about all the things that could possibly go wrong.  

Just before school ended, my parents got a call asking if I wanted to move my surgery up to the first week of July because the hospital had a cancellation.  Did I want it to creep into my summer more than it already would?  This new date also totally disrupted our summer vacation plans.  So many things to think about, but ultimately, I went with the earlier date.  Our summer vacation was shortened and rearranged.  Sadly, I would have to wait to cross New Mexico off my list of states that I visited until a later date.  

As the time for my surgery time got closer, the more nervous I got because I did not know what would happen.  Would I be in a lot of pain after the surgery?  What if I lost the little function that I did have in my left hand?  How long would the recovery be?  Ultimately, I enjoyed my vacation, and two days after we got home, I had my surgery.  The surgery was six hours long, and when it was done, the doctor was very optimistic about the outcome.  The pain was not as bad as I thought it would be, but I had a GIANT cast on.  It went all the way up to my shoulder and made moving around difficult. Thankfully, after about a month, I got a smaller cast which was more manageable.  

Finally, the day before I started back to school, the smaller cast was removed and I just had a brace that I could take off when I showered.  The first time I felt the air glide over my hand and arm again was amazing.  I started physical therapy right away and saw results immediately. There were so many things I could now do that were difficult before! I could easily hold a utensil during a meal, which made eating more enjoyable and less of a process. I could grip door handles much easier and open doors all by myself. I could grip small objects like pencils and keys to be able to write and unlock doors.  I could type using my fingers instead of knuckles. I have not become the fastest typist in the world, but I was faster than I ever was before. I had a new sense of independence that I had lost over the last few years as my hands became more contracted.  

After four months, I was so happy with all that I could do, I realized that I wanted to have the same surgery performed on my right hand.  In January 2022, I met with the doctor again and scheduled my next surgery for July 2022.  I cannot say I was looking forward to having another surgery, but I was definitely less nervous and scared this time.  Plus, I could not wait to have the same function in my right hand as I had in my left.  In the words of my physical therapist, once I had both hands done, I would be unstoppable!

The author's comments:

I am a 17-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.  I have had over a half dozen surgeries during my life, the most recent being wrist fusion to help me with function in my hands.  I use a motorized wheelchair to get around but that has not stopped me from doing the thing I love most....traveling!  I have visited all 50 states and over 20 countries.  I hope to visit all seven continents someday.  

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This article has 4 comments.

bob74 BRONZE said...
on Nov. 16 at 11:01 am
bob74 BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
1 article 0 photos 12 comments
Really inspirational and how you can look on the bright side, great piece

on Nov. 16 at 11:01 am
KizzyYuuya BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
Very eye-opening. I can't even begin to imagine how this feels.

on Nov. 16 at 10:59 am
cwoissan BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
1 article 0 photos 10 comments
love this piece! hope you can achieve your goal of visiting all continents!

on Nov. 8 at 2:59 pm
Shorthairdontcare BRONZE, Houston Area, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 57 comments
This was really interesting, I like your writing! thanks for sharing your story!