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Mother with kyphosis still seeking help

By DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff reporter husseyd@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 30, 2014    

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Although she has still not got the surgery that would enable her to walk upright again, Rosemarie Abrahams can still find something to smile about these days, thanks to persons who have stepped in to assist her since her.

Abrahams, 29, whose condition was highlighted in the Sunday Observer of February 16, headlined 'Son jeered because of unwell mother', was diagnosed with kyphosis, a spinal condition that makes her fall regularly when she walks if she is not being supported by someone. This comes after she fell and hit her back on a rock seven years ago while assisting her arthritic mother to get up from a sitting position.

"Persons have donated funds to my account," Abrahams said in a follow-up interview with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.

"Mostly persons from overseas have called me. And they say that they are going to help and some say they will keep in contact, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I was also contacted by persons at the Winchester MRl Ltd in Kingston and they did an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), for me free of cost," a grateful Abrahams said.

However, the young mother of one is nowhere near her expected goal.

"I haven't reached anywhere near the amount to do the therapy," she said. "But the much that I received so far I was able to do two sessions out of it because of the extent of the pain that I was feeling. And I also got another letter from the doctor to do another x-ray. But I haven't done it yet because I have no money because as I said, what I received went back into the two sessions of therapy," she said.

Abrahams explained that the recommended sessions for therapy would be six months, at a cost of $200,000.

And despite the therapy sessions, she is still unsure of the next step to take, as even though she has visited over 10 doctors so far since the development of her condition seven years ago, none of the medical personnel has given her a definite direction as to the next step that would make her situation better.

"The x-rays that I have done show that I have the kyphosis, but the doctors are still not saying what can be done. So I'm really tired of going to the doctors here in Jamaica because they are not saying what can be done. They are not telling me what I want to hear. So I'm still not sure what to do from here," a still distraught Abrahams said.

In fact, she said that some doctors whom she has visited have told her that nothing is wrong with her, despite the constant pain, walking and falling, and her having to depend on others for physical support.

Abrahams, whose condition has worsened to the point where she is bent over and pulls one leg when she walks, is refusing to accept that.

"If nothing is wrong, why am I feeling all this pain? I was not born this way. They keep saying I'm okay, but what really is going on then?" she questioned.

She believes that it is time to look overseas for medical help, but because she is low on funds she is unable to do so.

"I'm sick and tired of going to my bed and when I wake up back I can't move," she said. "It's just unbearable. "Sometimes I feel it in my collar bone and in my left ear and I can't move. It has me literally crying sometimes. Sometimes I can't sleep because of it,' she stated.

Kyphosis, also called roundback, is a condition of over-curvature of the upper back. It can be either the result of degenerative diseases, developmental problems, osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebrae, or trauma, as in Abraham's case. The most common symptoms for people with kyphosis are the appearance of poor posture with a hump appearance of the back or "hunchback, back pain, muscle fatigue, and stiffness in the back".

Most often, these symptoms remain fairly constant. In more severe situations, the patient may notice their symptoms worsening with time. The kyphosis can progress, causing a more exaggerated hunchback. In rare cases, this can lead to compression of the spinal cord with neurologic symptoms including weakness, loss of sensation, or loss of bowel and bladder control. In severe cases, it can limit the amount of space in the chest and cause cardiac and pulmonary problems, leading to chest pain or shortness of breath with eventual pulmonary and/or heart failure.

The situation has also affected her 10-year-old son, who is mocked and jeered by his peers about his mother's condition, some telling him that he has a handicapped mother.

"Even if I don't get to do a surgery I would like to be able to take care of my son the way that a mother should," she explained.

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