My Pectus Excavatum Story

July 2015 - April 2018 With a Metal Bar

Pectus Excavatum is an odd development of the rib cage where the breastbone/sternum caves in, creating a sunken chest wall deformity. Sometimes referred to as "funnel chest," Pectus Excavatum is a deformity often present at birth that can be mild or severe. 

Before the Surgery

Before surgery I was a big time gymnast, played for my high school marching band, and was a huge help around the house. I was a very active person and I did a lot. It was hard to get back to being that person again.

The Day of the Surgery

On the way there I was oddly hyper. I couldn’t eat or drink anything so I was so hungry and super thirsty. My mom asked me to give her directions and I failed. She did it herself.

Hours before the surgery I was happy. People I didn’t know brought me presents, made me laugh and talked to me like they knew me. But the moment the doctors started coming in to talk to me I slowly got a little nervous and I could tell my parents were too. By the time I had to say goodbye to my parents I wanted to cry and change my mind about doing the surgery, but I tried to stay positive so I kept a smile on my face.

I was pushed all the way to the operating room before I was put under anesthesia. But I got to meet everyone in the room and they were listening to music, to be specific Arianna Grande.

Waking Up

Next thing I know I was awake. Crying. It hurt to breath. So I tried really hard not to, but unfortunately I had to. I was squeezing my fathers’ hand, the nurses here putting more and more morphine in my IV till I was out.

I was really loopy and weird. I felt like I was floating. The nurses had to push me all the way to my room. Every bump hurt like I was being stabbed in the heart, although I have no frame of reference.  

Hospital Life

I slept most of the time in the hospital. I had a lot of slushes and very little food. I only woke up when the nurse would check my vitals. My parents tried to feed me every time I woke up but I was too stubborn and went back to sleep. I watched the same movies over and over again, but only the beginning. I would start one and then fall asleep long before it ends. My mom or dad stayed with me every night. They had to press a button ever so often during the night, it would inject more morphine in my IV.

In the hospital I had to do some physical therapy. I was not looking forward to it. When they made me get up and walk it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wasn’t good at walking before the surgery. I only walked like two feet from my room till I turned around. The second time was harder but I walked all the way down the hallway which seemed like two miles long. But I did it!

Coming Home

I was really scared to come home. I cried. And crying hurts. The moment I got home and the first thing my brother said to me was, “Can I punch you in the chest?” What kind of question is that? He then said a bunch of things that made me laugh, which hurts, I was super duper sore for like a week after laughing that hard.

I wasn’t allowed to sleep on my side, which made falling asleep really hard. And to this day it occasionally still hurts.

I sat on the couch for what felt like a decade but it was only about 2-3 weeks. Lots of people came by and gave me presents and things to do. My good friend Nick came to visit me almost everyday. We would just watch our favorite show Psych. Every time I would stand up he would yell at me to sit back down, or walk behind me till I would sit back down. Spending time with him was my favorite part of that whole surgery. I felt really loved and cared for but eventually I was sick of people doing things for me and I had to do something for myself. 

Summer

Once I was up and moving around a little bit more I was able to do some things for myself. But I had to start small. I could walk down the stairs with minimal supervision, which was nice. I could also start to sleep on my side. But that hurt so I didn’t for a little longer.

I went to the Zoo even, not for long though, walking was still a little hard. But Nick came over all the time. We watched TV most of the time, but it was fun. We would sit in the grass and go on walks, I would threaten to do a cartwheel a lot and he would freak out every time. I was still a gymnast on the inside, so I would even climb around on benches and he would panic. I was teasing him most of the time but I was fun to see his reaction.

Spending time with him was easily the best thing all summer. He was getting ready to leave for the Air Force so I really valued those moments. 

Back to School

School was scary. I was in marching band and I wasn’t allowed to do too much. So I just played synthesizer. The hallways were the worst, I was so scared of getting bumped. If I got bumped my bar could move. My friends would surround me in a bubble and make sure I don’t get hit.

Getting It Taken Out

When I first got the metal bar put in I was going into my sophomore year of high school. For most of my high school life I had to be extremely cautious about everything I did. But I got it taken out spring break of my senior year. 

It was amazing to be able to hold the biggest trial I have ever faced in the palm of my hand. I did expect the bar to be bigger because it felt a lot bigger inside of me. I couldn't be happier with the results and I wouldn't have changed a thing. 

Before

After

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My Pectus Excavatum Story
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