For those of you who have supported Siena in the past, here is a brief update-Siena's back always improves at her intensive treatments in CT, however, in-between treatments sometimes her back curvature increases. Regardless of this slow process, we expect to see consistent improvements now that she is regularly wearing her brace and receiving intensive treatment 2 to 3 times a week from local physical therapists, a chiropractor and a massage therapist when she is in between her CT intensive treatment sessions. These intensive treatments are 7 days of 5 hours each day about 3 to 4 times per year. She dreads going because the treatments are long and incredibly uncomfortable for her. The most difficult battle for Siena is wearing her brace 22 hours each day. This is a hard brace which is very uncomfortable and keeps her from adequately sleeping at night. If you do not know Siena's story please keep reading. Please consider purchasing some incredible IPM Apples and USDA certified Organic Citrus and Avocados to help send Siena to her April 2023 treatment in CT and please keep us in your prayers.
Many heartfelt thanks for your support and care.
Sarah & Joshua Howard
My name is Sarah Howard and my husband, Joshua, and I humbly ask for your support. Our beautiful, wily, fierce, creative, hilarious, musical, artistic, dancing, stubborn, passionate, “walks to the beat of her own drum” 13 year old, Siena, was diagnosed with severe idiopathic scoliosis. Left untreated, scoliosis can have the following consequences:
“Those who have scoliosis may have a *reduced life expectancy, poor respiratory function, and their growth can be stunted. Modern treatments for scoliosis have improved very little over the past 500 years, and they are met with poor results and frequent failure. Because of this many people have started to look for alternative scoliosis treatments and non surgical scoliosis correction.” Dr. Daniel Hersh, Scoliosis Correction Center.
*Siena's life in not in danger. "Reduced life expectancy" is referring to severe cases of untreated scoliosis when the back becomes excessively deformed, caused by a serious scoliosis spinal curvature, which can compress the organs in the body. Yes, severe scoliosis is Siena's diagnosis, but with hard work, prayer and your support, Siena will thrive. Additionally, severe deformity can develop which impacts daily activity for those with scoliosis. Depression and anxiety often accompanies adolescents (and adults) with scoliosis, especially as they wear a brace.
After examining Siena's xrays, her orthopedist regretfully informed us that Siena would most likely need spinal fusion surgery due to two spinal curvatures - one at fifty eight degrees and the other at sixty eight degrees; doctors do not like to see curvatures over twenty-five to thirty degrees. Clearly, Siena has a concerning situation. We were informed by the doctor that Siena would most likely need spinal fusion surgery: this means that two permanent, metal rods would be inserted along the length of Siena's spine that are attached to the spine with hooks and screws. Bone grafts are then placed around the vertebrae that are abnormally curved. The hope is that the bone grafting will encourage the spine to heal and straighten the curve.
After extensive conversations with doctors and reading testimonials from people who had spinal fusion surgery, we decided on an alternative approach. While some will have success with spinal fusion therapy, we are not confident in the long term affects of the surgery based upon the many testimonies we have read. Alternatively, Siena will receive intensive therapy from doctors using the CLEAR method including the following: chiropractic, massage therapy, Whole Body Vibration therapy (WBV), physical therapy, and she will wear a back brace twenty hours a day, including sleeping with it on through the night. Once every three to four months, we travel to one of the Scoliosis Correction Centers for Siena to receive personal, one on one care for a full week, weekends off and concluding with three more full week days the following week. Siena received her first round of treatment with the Scoliosis Correction Center in April 2021. We gratefully report that her curvature had a six degree improvement by the end of her treatment; however, she has a lifelong journey ahead of her and if she is not almost perfect with her at home physical therapy and wearing her brace, her curvature will revert to what it was before treatment.
Her most intensive years of treatment will most likely be for the next two to three years. Her spine will never be completely straight but her curvature should drastically improve so Siena will stay healthy and strong throughout her youth and adult life. She will always need to give her body extra care and attention, but our hope and prayer is to saturate her with all the love and support we can offer to her so she can preserver through this trial and this is, indeed, a trial for her and for our family.
We have shared our story and now we humbly ask for your help and please share this with as many people as possible.
First and foremost, we thank God for the beautiful, good and trustworthy work accomplished even in the mystery of our suffering. There are never easy answers to explain suffering, but we are comforted and admonished that while we WILL experience suffering and trials of many natures in this lifetime, he has overcome them all, though we may not see the fullness of that victory in this lifetime. We trust God with our Siena in faith. It is not easy, the future is unknown to us and there is very little we can control; there are no guarantees, but we choose to trust. Already we have been blessed by Siena's doctor, Dr. Kaila Hersh. She is wonderful with Siena and she is one of the blessings we have received from God through this trial. Dr. Kaila had severe scoliosis - worse than Siena's - and received the method of treatment Siena is now receiving. Dr. Kaila's scoliosis is now so mild that only her chiropractor can discern her spinal curvature.
We humbly ask you for your prayers. Siena's treatments at the centers, at home and wearing her brace are difficult. This "new normal" is a tremendous adjustment for her. Please pray she can maintain the rigorous treatment and will adjust to wearing her brace, especially throughout the night.
Lastly, if you would consider supporting us financially through the purchase of beautiful and delicious IPM Apples and USDA Organic Citrus and Avocados, that my family has enjoyed for years in the winter months, we would be grateful. Siena’s treatment is $3,500 per treatment 4 times a year, plus about $1000 for accommodations each time we travel for treatment.
God bless, peace and cheers,
Sarah, Joshua, Siena, Lúcia and Tova Howard
Grampy Ashley and Grammy Ethel