Surgery Changes Outlook

Sometimes, it’s the things we can’t see or detect that are the most dangerous. For freshman Leah Loring this “thing” was scoliosis, a bone disease that causes your spine to grow in an abnormal pattern, causing growth and exercise problems. In Loring’s case her spine was growing in the shape of a backward “S.”

Loring was first diagnosed with scoliosis in January 2011. “At first I just noticed this bump in my back, it was really sore,” she said. At the time, the doctors did not believe her condition to be serious; however, as the year progressed the scoliosis became much worse. “My mom and I were really worried,” she said. “She was really emotional and worried if I was going to be ok.”

After the condition worsened, Loring had surgery to repair and hold together her spinal cord. “Not many people have to have surgery. It can usually get fixed through physical therapy, but mine was worse,” she said. The surgery involved placing screws and rods in her vertebrae, or sections of the spine, in order to straighten them and to hold them in place. Loring had her surgery in June of 2011. It was a complete success.

Sherrill Loring, Leah’s mother, was originally concerned with the procedure. “It was a big deal when it happened. It was scary, but I’m really glad she got it,” she said.

While she doesn’t set off any metal detectors, the side effects of the surgery are fairly harmless. “Well, I can’t slouch anymore. It kind of forces me to sit up straight, which I guess isn’t a bad thing,” she said.