Monday, October 19, 2009

My Curvy Spine

Although this blog is primarily about my journey with Tietze's Syndrome, the whole reason why I have it is because of my scoliosis. I have a mild case of thoracic scoliosis, and although the curve in my back is not too significant, it is causing other things in my body to be "out of whack." One of those things is my rib cage. My sternum (according to CAT scan) is tilted to the side, causing the cartilage connecting my sternum and ribs to be squeezed together and inflammed. What do you get with inflammed costo cartilage? Bingo! Costochondritis.

I didn't know I had scoliosis until I was in 5th grade, and was told that it was no big deal and it wouldn't progress. Wrong! The doctor forgot to state the obvious: kids grow! And when they do, things change in their bodies. My scoliosis was definitely something that changed, and my doctor decided to forget about it and not mention it again until now, when I can't do anything about it. Had my scoliosis been treated when I was younger I probably wouldn't be in pain right now, or at least as much pain, and I wouldn't have had to go through all the anxiety of first thinking something was wrong with my heart, and now having to deal with the costo on a daily basis.

Scoliosis awareness is something very important to me, and I am currently planning some fundraisers for scoliosis awareness at my school. If kids understand scoliosis and what it can do, there will be less cases of severe scoliosis, and probably less cases of costochondritis.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Tonight is the parents' night at my school. Long story short, my parents couldn't pick me up from the horse stables and take me home before the event started so now I'm stuck waiting at school until the parents' night is over...yay. So I'm sitting here in the computer lab and all of a sudden...JAB! Yikes! The pain strikes back! So (this is like one of those stories where the reader gets to pick the ending) what do I do? Do I walk in the middle of the parents' night to find my parents and tell them how much pain I'm in or do I slab a smile on my face and pray the pain goes away? Such an awkward situation. I hate having to pretend I'm all cheery when really I can barely breathe and letting out a simple smile takes tremendous effort. What do you do in times like this? Hopefully it's a better method than mine!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why am I so sleepy?

I have never felt this tired before. Ever since last Friday I've felt like I could drop down and go to sleep at any second. I'm at the point where my eyes hurt when they're open.
What is going on?! Is it my new medicine? It's a muscle relaxer, I have no idea what it's called.
This can't go on though, I haven't been able to do my homework because I'm so beat after school.
Please, any thoughts about what could be going on?
I'm seeing my doctor next week, but I don't think she's familiar with Tietze's.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Am I dreaming?!

Today, October 9th I went to the wonderful doctors at the Pain Clinic. I was NOT looking forward to this appointment, since I figured they'd say "Well, sorry but we really don't know what to do for you. Have some Motrin." The appointment was quite the contrary though...
The appointment started, I dressed in the lovely hospital gown and waited patiently. The doctor came in and I gave him the most detailed and extensive history of my pain. I then took a deep breath and said, "I have Tietze's Syndrome."
Invisibly wincing, I waited for the " what is that?" But instead he said, "Oh yes, Tietze's. You poor thing."
This was possibly the happiest moment of my life! Could it be?! A doctor who knows what I'm talking about?! Poke me (not in the ribcage!) I think I'm still dreaming.
This doctor (err, team of doctors) completely understood where I was coming from and why I was there. They shared my concern and fear of taking too many strong pain medications when I'm still really young.
The verdict was this: I'm now on some anti-inflammatory medication that I can't pronounce (it starts with an M and it has an x in it...) and I have numbing patches to put on my ribcage. I will also have physical therapy starting next week, twice a week.
Thank golly goodness for no steroid injections!
So I am terribly sorry for rambling on about my lovely day, trust me, my days are usually MUCH worse than this one. I did have pain though after they poked and prodded me...poking is never fun.
Anywho, maybe this will give you costo sufferers some faith...there is at least 2 doctors out there who know what it is and who understand it!
Thank goodness for that :P

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rotating narratives are the bane of my existence.

The time: 2nd period
The subject: AP English class
Activity: rotating narrative.
A rotating narrative day is (normally) the best day ever. English teacher doesn't feel like teaching for whatever reason and we all get out a piece of paper. On that paper, everyone writes one sentence, and it has to be a completely random sentence (mine today was "One day my fingers fell off"). You then pass your paper to the person next to you and they write a sentence. But before they can pass it along once again, they must fold the paper so the next person can't see what the person before wrote about. Following me? Anywho, they always turn out hysterical and lead to lots of laughing.
Yes, the activity that makes normal people so happy and joyous makes me cringe.
Unfortunately for me, the narratives were super hilarious today. I couldn't contain myself no matter how hard I tried and burst into laughter multiple times. Now I am feeling the side effects.
But what could I do? It was just too funny. There are some things you can't go without, even if it does cause you pain.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Norm: My Story

So, I'm completely new at this blogging mojo but it seems like every blog starts off the same way- a story about why the blog's there in the first place. So to go with the norm I will explain my reasons for doing this.
Tietze's Syndrome. Chances are most of you already know what it is, since you had to stumble upon this blog somehow, but I shall explain anyway. By definition, Tietze's Syndrome is the inflammation of the costal cartilages, or the cartilage in between the rib cages and where the rib cage meets with the sternum. That is not my definition though. Truth be told I am just a kid, and to a teenager Tietze's is much more than "inflammation of the costal cartilages."
Tietze's means having to stop dancing because of the pain when moving the upper body.
Tietze's means having to stay home when friends are going out because getting out of bed is difficult.
Tietze's means not being able to do the school musical because singing is difficult when it hurts to take in a breath.
Tietze's means taking excessive pain killers to make it through the school day.
Tietze's means coming home from school and sleeping for four hours because sleep could not come the night before.
Tietze's means being late to classes because the backpack was too painful to carry and multiple trips to the locker had to be taken.
Tietze's means putting the things I love to do on hold because I can't do them.
Tietze's means so much more than "inflammation of the costal cartilages."
People need to understand that.
I am not looking for sympathy, I am simply stating how my life has changed since being diagnosed with Tietze's. One thing I am looking for however is contact with other Tietze's sufferers, and their methods of treatment.
A kid with Tietze's