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Cecile's Life Story

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My Life, My Story, My Hope

by

Cecile A.

I began having lower back pain when I started working full time and sitting behind a desk all day. At the age of 21, I was first diagnosed with scoliosis. There's no doubt in my mind, however, that it all began several years earlier. Thinking back, I remember beauticians telling me to hold my head straight whenever I got my hair cut. I always had trouble with the hems on my skirts and dresses not looking even. Sometimes one pants leg would seem longer than the other. Looking in the mirror, I remember seeing, as well as being able to feel, that one hip and the pelvic bone on one side was higher than on the other side. My girlfriends used to tell me that I walked crooked. I was always pretty clumsy, and never very good in physical education. I also had irregular periods, mood swings and stomach disorders.

The doctor explained scoliosis as "curvature of the spine". Up until this time, I had never even heard the word. The first orthopedic surgeon that I saw wanted to operate and put in the Harrison rods. Not wanting to take the chance of ending up paralyzed, or spending six months in a body cast, I decided to get a second opinion. My Father agreed. The second doctor that examined me said that he didn't think my curves were bad enough to consider surgery at that time. He gave me a prescription for some pain killers (which my stomach could not tolerate), exercises to do, and basically said to learn to live with the pain. So, that's what I did.

As the years went by, the pain got worse and more constant. Actually, it has been all down hill since I hit 30. I began going to Chiropractors for help. Their treatments offered some relief, but only temporarily. On an average day I would take at least 12, sometimes 16, over-the-counter pain killers. At best, they would take the edge off the pain for awhile. I noticed that when I exercised regularly, and kept my weight down, I felt the best.

In the Spring of 1994, at my Chiropractor's office, I saw the video for Copes Scholiosis Treatment Recovery System. It seemed like it would be worth a try. I brought the tape home for my husband to view. He agreed, and said, "go for it". After checking with my insurance to see if it would be covered, I went ahead and had the necessary x-rays taken. Dr. Copes's evaluation said that I was a good candidate for the bracing program. His prognosis for me was that he could reduce my curves from 4-29-39 down to 0-12-15.

On November 7, 1994, I went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to meet Dr. Copes and have my brace made. I have been following through with the entire program since then. The x-rays which I had taken after just four months showed that my curves have already decreased to 2-25-28. I am very optimistic about continued correction, and am highly recommending the Copes Treatment Recovery System to anyone suffering from scoliosis.

I have complete faith in Dr. Copes and his bracing program. So much, that I am entrusting in his care my most treasured possessions, my children. So far, we know for sure that my two daughters, ages 10 and 8, have inherited this terrible disease. We are still not sure about my son, age 5, but we will definitely keep a close watch on him over the next couple of years. That is why I feel that I also have a personal goal in learning all I can about scoliosis, how to treat it, and how to prevent it. I am hoping to continue working with Dr. Copes and his staff, as well as with Dr. Kennedy, my Chiropractor.

As kind of a self-help therapy, I have decided to keep a daily journal of my life since I began treatment in the Copes Scholiosis Treatment Recovery System. Nobody ever said that it would be easy, and keeping a record of all of the ups and downs, questions and frustrations may be a good reminder, for the future, of just how far I have actually come. I am very grateful to Dr. Copes and Dr. Kennedy for their dedication and understanding, and also for being such good friends. Most of all, I am grateful for "HOPE" for giving me a brighter future to look forward to.

Cecile A.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for November

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Nov. 7 - Met Dr. Copes today. He seems like a nice man and also a very dedicated doctor. His first question to me was "Do you know what Scholiosis is?" Very confidently, I said, "Yes curvature of the spine." Dr. Copes just sat there shaking his no, and proceeded over the next three hours, to explain to us that scoliosis is a progressive spinal disease that affects much more than just posture. Besides affecting the entire skeletal system, the neurological, hormonal and digestive systems are also impaired. Scholiosis also damages the body's major organs, as well as severely depleting the body's nutritional resources. Casting for my brace was done today. I am totally depressed!

Nov. 8 - Went to Dr. Kinney today for an EMG. Dr. Copes went through the phase one and two exercises with me. I can feel, although it's completely involuntary, that I am putting up a wall between us. I am sure that Dr. Copes doesn't have a very good impression of me right now. He probably thinks that I am going to be an uncooperative patient. Dr. Copes said that I should stop taking Seldane-D for my allergies, and also not to take anymore Ibuprofen for back pain. He said to wean off gradually over the next two weeks, and that the withdrawal may cause headaches and my face to break out.

Nov. 9 (Day 1) - Still trying to accept everything that Dr. Copes said that scoliosis affects. Although I have complete faith in Dr. Copes, part of me is still trying to deny that I have this terrible disease. He knows what my life has been like; as if he had been following me around for years. It really makes me feel uneasy, knowing that he knows some of the personal aspects of my life; as though it were an open book. Received SMST training today, and my brace. Still completely depressed, I wore the brace less than one hour today.

Nov. 10 (Day 2) - Dr. Copes was definitely not happy with me today because I walked into his office carrying my brace instead of wearing it. Feeling guilty for not wearing the brace longer yesterday, I wore it for an hour and a half this morning and another hour in the evening. The brace itself is uncomfortable, but the pain in my lower back is gone when it's on. I have decided to call my brace "HOPE", because it is my hope for a long and happy and most of all, pain-free future. I am happy to be home again, but am wondering how I am going to cope with everything!

Nov. 11 (Day 3) - Today I wore the brace for three hours, just like I am supposed to. It hurts across the top of the shoulder blades and under the arms. No pain, no gain; right? I made a mental commitment to myself to prove to Dr. Copes that I am a fighter and that I can go through with this. I hope that we will remain friends for life.

Nov. 12 (Day 4) - I noticed that my legs are sore from doing the exercises. I wore "HOPE" for four hours today. I am enjoying soaking in the whirlpool every day. I hope that when I turn 40 I'll look and feel better than when I was 20.

Nov. 13 (Day 5) - I find myself watching the clock to see if it's time to take off the brace. My ribs and shoulders are a little sore, but I guess I'll live. Sometimes I feel uncoordinated, and have been stumbling on the kitchen floor a lot. I also had a headache all day today.

Nov. 14 (Day 6) - My arm pits are sore from the brace. Today was the first time that I drove with the brace on. I found that "hand-over-hand" steering does not work well.

Nov. 15 (Day 7) - I must be getting used to the exercises already; my legs aren't as sore as they were at first. I hate to admit it, but I am one of those people who don't use the words diet or exercise in my life until I can't get my jeans zipped. I guess from now on, though, diet and exercise will be a way of life for me.

Nov. 16 (Day 8) - Today was my first visit with Dr. Rita Kennedy, my treating Chiropractor. We had met nearly two years ago at the National College of Chiropractic. We get along very well together, and I feel better knowing that she is working closely with and under the supervision of Dr. Copes. This afternoon I called Dr. Copes to tell him that I am wearing the brace, doing the exercises and going to Dr. Kennedy. He seemed happier with me today than the last day that I was in Baton Rouge. I could tell that he was really disappointed then that I did not walk in wearing the brace that day, and I feel so bad about that. I'll have to prove to him that I can go through with this program, because that is what I have made up my mind to do. Tonight will be the first night that I sleep wearing "HOPE".

Nov. 17 (Day 9) - I was able to sleep in my brace last night; off and on. I woke up about every two hours. I kept wanting to roll over on my side and woke up. I hate using the CLF board! My back never hurt that bad, except when I was in labor! The headaches still come and go, but seem to be subsiding.

Nov. 18 (Day 10) - Today I am very tired. I didn't sleep well last night. I even drank a tall screwdriver before going to bed, hoping that it would relax me enough to get a good night's sleep. The pain from the CLF board is excruciating! It brings tears to my eyes. Dr. Kennedy did the muscle stimulation today.

Nov. 19 (Day 11) - Did not sleep well again last night. I guess this will take some getting used to. At least I don't feel like I'm hyperventilating when I have the brace on. I wore "HOPE" to work today.

Nov. 20 (Day 12) - Last night I took a Nytol so that I could sleep better with the brace on. It worked; I slept until 4:30 A.M.

Nov. 21 (Day 13) - Things seem to be going pretty well. I finally got the stair stepper today. Last night I took two Tylenol PM before going to sleep. Every time I think the headaches are gone for good, they returns. But less often and not as bad.

Nov. 22 (Day 14) - I slept with the brace on all night, but woke up a couple of times. Today I weighed in at 127 lbs. I lost five pounds since returning from Baton Rouge. The brace is very warm, so I perspire a lot. I'm always thirsty, so I have been drinking a lot of water. I did 5 minutes on the stair stepper today. I also wrote to Dr. Copes to let him know how I am doing, and also sent him a copy of what I am allergic to, just FYI.

Nov. 23 (Day 15) - Slept all night with the brace on without waking up once! It seems like a miracle. I am still noticeably thirsty quite often.

Nov. 24 (Day 16) - Thanksgiving - I did not over-eat today. Slept all night with the brace on again, but had trouble falling asleep to start with. Periods of insomnia are not uncommon for me, though. I felt disoriented after doing the stair stepper with the cervical traction unit on; like I had been out drinking and had a few too many.

Nov. 25 (Day 17) - Went Christmas shopping with the brace on. It was uncomfortable, but nice not having a backache. Will try to stick to the diet better. Added weights to exercise #7.

Nov. 26 (Day 18) - Have achieved a full day of wearing my brace! Still having trouble with the CLF board, though.

Nov. 27 (Day 19) - Sleeping at night is getting much easier, but the CLF board is still giving me great pain; second only to labor pains!

Nov. 28 (Day 20) - Called Dr. Copes to see if I should send may brace in for the air bladders. He said yes. I still feel wobbly after getting off the stair stepper.

Nov. 29 (Day 21) - Sent "HOPE" off to Baton Rouge to have the air bladders put in. After only four hours out of the brace, I noticed that I have the same old lower back pain that I have been putting up with for the past seventeen years. Today I noticed that my face is starting to break out, and I have bruises all over my legs and a couple on my left arm.

Nov. 30 (Day 22) - I am definitely regretting that I did not ship my brace next day air; my back has been hurting me all day without it. I feel more tired today than I have been in the past two weeks.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for December

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Dec. 1 (Day 23) - My back is killing me today! I can't wait to get my brace back! Besides being tired again, I feel really strange today; like my whole sense of balance is off. I also had a slight headache again.

Dec. 2 (Day 24) - Did not get my brace back yet, and my back is killing me! So far, I have only taken Tylenol or Anacin for the pain, but no Ibuprofen. I feel like a witch, though. I'm easily irritated, crabby, grouchy, etc. The mood swings are definitely at a high!

Dec. 3 (Day 25) - My brace did not come again today. I am absolutely miserable! I am so tired and grouchy, and have a terrible backache. We are invited to a party at one of neighbor's tonight, but I am definitely not in the mood to party. I don't know how I will get by until Mon. It's definitely going to be a long weekend!

Dec. 4 (Day 26) - Feeling really lousy again today. Part of the reason may be due to a head cold. My ears are ringing, and I am very tired!

Dec. 5 (Day 27) - Dr. Kennedy called Dr. Copes's office to check on my brace for me. He was out of town (Houston, Texas) for a few days, but my brace should be ready to send out today. Dr. Copes was absolutely right when he said that I would learn to love wearing my brace. This has been one hell of a week without it!

Dec. 6 (Day 28) - "HOPE" arrived home safely today. The pain in my lower back was gone almost instantly after putting the brace on. The brace is much heavier now with the air bladders in. I feel like I'm hyperventilating again; I'll have to concentrate on deep breathing. It will probably take a couple of days to get used to wearing it again. I have kind of a sharp pain on my left breast bone; I'll have to check with Dr. Kennedy tomorrow to see if that's normal.

Dec. 7 (Day 29) - Dr. Kennedy called Dr. Copes to ask if the pain on my left breast bone is normal. He said yes. It's from the air vectors pushing everything over, and that it should subside in a day or two. Found out by accident that I'm supposed to be wearing my brace when I do the ocular vestibular exercises. I had been doing the stair stepper with my brace off. Today I told Randy that I need a vacation; alone. He said that I could spend two or three days in Baton Rouge when I go back in May.

Dec. 8 (Day 30) - The pain in my left breast bone was much more tolerable after Dr. Kennedy's adjustments. Today I did the stair stepper with the brace on. I didn't feel as wobbly as I usually did afterwards. Late in the evening, I had a headache again.

Dec. 9 (Day 31) - Ready to increase the exercises to 20 reps. Still not used to sleeping in my brace again. I woke up several times last night. The pain in my left breast bone (ribs) is gone now. When I get up in the morning and take off my brace, I noticed that I am stiff, and that there is tightness across the top of my shoulder blades. Dr. Kennedy taped a piece of carpet padding to the top right corner of my brace where the padding had worn down and was rubbing on my skin.

Dec. 10 (Day 32) - I can hardly believe that I have already completed one month out of the probable 18 months in this scoliosis recovery program. Dr. Kennedy is being so generous with giving me information on scoliosis. I read through her first training manual, as well as watched a video tape geared towards physicians. I have several loose articles yet to read, but I am enjoying it as well as learning a lot.

Dec. 11 (Day 33) - Today I had trouble doing 20 reps. on the exercises; I guess my muscles are still pretty weak. The stair stepper seems to be getting easier, though.

Dec. 12 (Day 34) - Dr. Kennedy received the hair analysis results on the girls. We looked it over together. She's going to fax a copy to Dr. Copes, then go over it with him. I heard that my results are sitting on his desk, but he hasn't called me on it yet. I felt pretty good today, but by evening I noticed that the brace hurts on my left hip, near the pelvic bone. The skin is red and irritated and it feels like my bone is being pushed out, causing the brace to rub on it.

Dec. 13 (Day 35) - The skin on my left pelvic bone is still a little red, but not as sore as it was yesterday. Still feeling tired. Also have a cold and sore throat.

Dec. 14 (Day 36) - Shipped Christmas gifts to relatives in California and a box of goodies to Louisiana today. Found out that the LSI machine will be covered, but that the stair stepper and cervical traction units will not. Dr. Copes did not return my call or Dr. Kennedy's call about the hair analysis. I was sleeping just fine with the brace on last night, until I woke up coughing. I had to take the brace off then. I am so stuffed up; this cold is terrible!

Dec. 15 (Day 37) - Dr. Copes still has not returned my calls, nor Dr. Kennedy's, about the hair analysis results. I am very frustrated about this. Woke up coughing again at 5:00 A.M.

Dec. 16 (Day 38) - Dr. Kennedy and I both called Dr. Copes again. I called a second time, and Joyce called me back. She said she's sending me a copy of the hair analysis report in the mail. There's three supplements I need to take. I told her that I still need to talk to Dr. Copes. I want to ask him about the bruising, my eye lashes failing out, the girls reports, etc. Joyce said that Dr. Cope has been very busy.

Dec. 17 (Day 39) - Having a lot of trouble staying away from all the cookies and candy I received at my neighbor's cookie exchange. I will do my best, though, to eat them in moderation. Last night I shopped until I dropped! It was a good thing that I had "HOPE" on, otherwise I never could have lasted so long. I am stressed out over the holidays. I still have so much to do and there's so little time left. I really can't wait until the holidays are over and things are back to normal again.

Dec. 18 (Day 40) - People are afraid to hug me when I'm wearing my brace. My aunt said that she was afraid of hurting me. Talked to everyone at the family Christmas party about the treatment I am getting for scoliosis. Especially to my one cousin, who's daughter had worn a brace for scoliosis. Her brace was not meant to correct the curve, only to prevent it from getting worse. That was her only treatment. I think I'll send them more information after the holidays.

Dec. 19 (Day 41) - Managing to do 20 reps. on the exercises, but some are still hard to do. Dr. Kennedy gave me one of Dr. Copes's posters today. It contains a lot of good information in a condensed form.

Dec. 20 (Day 42) - I am finally getting the brace pulled tight enough to where I am hitting the original marks, except for the top one. I'm managing quite nicely with the brace on. This cold, damp weather would surely be making my back ache if I weren't wearing the brace.

Dec. 21 (Day 43) - The LSI machine came today. Also, the results from Trace Elements on my hair analysis. Dr. Copes still hasn't returned any of my calls. I really want to talk to him about these results. I also want to talk to him about my hair, eyelashes, fingernails and bruising. I also want to know about the girls' test results.

Dec. 22 (Day 44) - Finally reached 20 minutes on the stair stepper today. Talked to Dr. Copes first thing this morning. I need to take all ten supplements; Joyce had only mentioned three. He said that he would talk to Dr. Watts from Trace Elements to find out more about further checking into my arsenic level, and that he would also ask him about my eyelashes falling out. The girls both have high copper levels. Christina also has low zinc and low iron, which are characteristic of scoliotic patients. Dr. Copes has recommended an x-ray on Christina. I ordered my spider board, wedges and block today.

Dec. 23 (Day 45) - Today was the first time we did the SMST on our LSI machine at home; no problems. I ordered all of my vitamins and supplements. Hopefully they'll arrive next week. I still can't seem to shake this cold, or is it my allergies acting up? My throat is in bad shape.

Dec. 24 (Day 46) - Christmas Eve - I am trying very hard to be good, but I know that I'll blow my diet today. Oh well, Christmas only comes once a year. I might as well enjoy it. I'm tired from staying up late wrapping presents. I'm so far behind this year. By 10:00 P.M. my voice is always gone.

Dec. 25 (Day 47) - Christmas Day - Last night, late, at a family Christmas party, I started feeling very uncomfortable with my brace on. I was really tired and stressed out. At least it's over now. Today we will stay home and relax. The family room looks like a department store with toys, clothes and everything laying all over the place. The children are enjoying it, though, and that's what counts.

Dec. 26 (Day 48) - Yesterday, Randy did the SMST on me. Everything went fine. I am looking forward to getting back on track with my diet, after New Year's. Right now there are too many cookies in the house and too much partying going on.

Dec. 27 (Day 49) - Jane called from Dr. Copes's office today. She asked if it would be all right if she gave my phone number to Linda Davis from California. Her 15 year old daughter is going to be a new patient of Dr. Copes's, but she wanted to speak to a patient already in the treatment program. I told Jane it was OK to give her my phone number. That really made my day! It was so nice to talk with her, I'm sure that I made her feel more comfortable about doing this. We talked about the time and commitment involved in this program, but I assured her that it really does work. She said she may call back in a couple of months to see how things are going. I really hope that she does.

Dec. 28 (Day 50) - Took Christina for her back x-ray today. It doesn't look bad to me, but I am not medically trained, and don't really know what to look for. I'll hold on to it until Dr. Kennedy returns from vacation. I also picked up the kit for my toxic metals test. I'll probably do that next week.

Dec. 29 (Day 51) - Just found out today that my best friend, Donna, also has scoliosis. We've talked about my back problems before, but apparently she was not aware that scoliosis is the medical term for curvature of the spine. I'll have to give her more information about it, and also show her the video tape. Hopefully she'll decide to get some help. I'll do everything I can to encourage her. My spider board and wedges came today.

Dec. 30 (Day 52) - When I'm doing the stair stepper, I don't feel that strain over my right eye as much as I did in the beginning. I still have to think about swinging my arms and concentrate on keeping everything coordinated. My vitamins and supplements came today from Trace Elements. I also got the vitamins for the kids (KASP).

Dec. 31 (Day 53) - New Year's Eve - I'm starting on my vitamins and supplements today. I'll take them one at a time for a couple of days, as Dr. Kennedy suggested, to make sure that I can tolerate all of them. I'll start with the Nutri-Vi that Dr. Copes recommended for colds. Then I'll try the Para Pack and right on down the list.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for January

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Jan. 1, 1995 (Day 54) - New Year's Day - Overate today, and the brace felt really tight over my stomach. I hate when I do that. Friday I have an appointment with the dietitian at the hospital.

Jan. 2 (Day 55) - I knew that I gained a few pounds through the holidays, but when I got on the scale, I was back to where I started. How depressing!

Jan. 3 (Day 56) - I'm hoping that the stair stepper will help to firm up my legs, as well as help to straighten out my proprioception.

Jan. 4 (Day 57) - Some of the exercises in phase one are still hard for me to do well. I'm not looking forward to increasing to 30 reps. soon.

Jan. 5 (Day 58) - Raul did my chiropractic treatments this week while Dr. Kennedy is on vacation. Got a really good workout on the stair stepper today.

Jan. 6 (Day 59) - Had a headache today, and also a nose bleed. I have another head cold. The meeting with the dietitian went well. She gave me some helpful hints and good information. I hope I can stick to the diet as easily as she made it sound.

Jan. 7 (Day 60) - Eating at work isn't always easy; sometimes we're real busy. But today I did eat a banana and a fat-free fruit snack. I also had a small can of low-sodium V-8.

Jan. 8 (Day 61) - Today is the day I increase the exercises to 30 reps. I've had the brace two months now. Everything is moving so fast; it's truly amazing.

Jan. 9.(Day 62) - Decided to wait an extra week to send "HOPE" in for her air injection. This week Dr. Copes is going to Houston again. I don't want to chance having to go without it for eight or nine days again, so I'll just wait and send it in next week. Dr. Kennedy bought me some nice noodles and crackers to try. She seems well-rested after her vacation.

Jan. 10 (Day 63) - Doing fine with the vitamins and supplements that I've tried so far.

Jan. 11 (Day 64) - We were fogged in here all day, so I am really glad that I did not send "HOPE" to Baton Rouge this week. Hopefully next week the weather will be better. Tomorrow I will drop off my 24-hour urine test for the arsenic testing. Also, I have to take Chrissy for another x-ray because the first one was inadequate.

Jan. 12 (Day 65) - My back really hurt today after doing 30 reps of all 12 exercises in phase one. The was one in particular, where you lie flat on the floor and lift both legs together and hold for a count of eight. The whirlpool sure felt good, though.

Jan. 13 (Day 66) - Today Dr. Kennedy said that the reservations have been made for the seminar in April. It will be at the Comfort Inn near the mall. I am really looking forward to being there. I told her about the one exercise that caused me so much pain; she said to do less than 30 if necessary. I showed her Chrissy's new x-rays today. She said that they didn't look too bad. I'll send them to Dr. Copes on Monday along with my brace. My eyelashes are falling out worse now.

Jan. 14 (Day 67) - I've been working on typing up the information from the poster so that I can send it along with a note to my cousin, for their daughter, and for a few of my friends who have scoliosis.

Jan. 15 (Day 68) - I'm really concentrating on swinging my arms while I'm on the stair stepper to enhance the cross/crawl pattern. I never realized, before, that I had difficulty doing such a simple task.

Jan. 16 (Day 69) - Sent "HOPE" off to Baton Rouge today, along with Chrissy's x-rays. Dr. Kennedy should have my lab results on the heavy metals screening for arsenic by Wednesday. I tried doing those exercises the way that Dr. Kennedy said that Joyce suggested. Instead of starting from the floor and then raising my legs up, I drew my knees up to my chest then stretched my legs out. It was much easier that way, and I was able to do all 30 reps. without hurting my back.

Jan. 17 (Day 70) - Last night, shortly before going to bed, is when I first noticed that my back was starting to hurt. That was about eight or nine hours out of the brace. Today was a very gloomy day; cloudy, windy, temp. about 40. It even drizzled for about a minute this morning. My back was achy all day!

Jan. 18 (Day 71) - "HOPE" was sitting on the front porch waiting for me when I returned from Dr. Kennedy's. By then my back was pretty sore. I was happy to have my brace to put back on. After wearing "HOPE" for awhile, I noticed that I didn't have that real sharp pain in my chest like I had after the first air injection. It does seem tighter, though, on the lower left side.

Jan. 19 (Day 72) - Called the hospital today about my lab results. The preliminary results are in. I have finished typing the information from the poster, and sent a copy off to my friend, Lori, today. It's time to order more vitamins and supplements from Trace Elements.

Jan. 20 (Day 73) - Dr. Kennedy called Dr. Copes while I was in her office today. He's baffled as to why my eyelashes are falling out. He said to take two NCF at lunch time and see if that helps. My lab results are in the mail. Chrissy's x-rays did show rotation in her spine. Dr. Copes wants her to start doing the phase-one exercises, and also go for chiropractic treatments twice a week. She is already taking the KASP vitamins, and I'm trying to get the whole family to stick to my diet. He also wants us to get an EMG done, and then maybe start her on muscle stimulation,

Jan. 21 (Day 74) - I really worked up a sweat today on the stair stepper. I don't even want to think what wearing the brace and doing the stair stepper is going to be like in the summer when it's hot.

Jan. 22 (Day 75) - I'm having no trouble at all doing 30 reps. of the exercises in phase two. Last Friday, January 20th, I forgot to write down my conversation with Mr. Bossman. His sister-in-law has scoliosis. She had the rods put in, then had them removed after one broke. I gave him Dr. Copes's address and phone number in case they would like more information. Randy and I both told them what the scoliosis recovery program is like and how it works.

Jan. 23 (Day 76) - Received a thank you card from Dr. Copes for the Christmas card and goodies that I had sent. Set up an appointment for Chrissy to see Dr. Kennedy on Friday. Last night I slept very well. Didn't even wake up to go to the bathroom!

Jan. 24 (Day 77) - Still can't believe how much easier it is to do the exercises the way that Joyce suggested. Chrissy is doing real well sleeping on only one pillow, and also doing the phase-one exercises and the diet.

Jan. 25 (Day 78) - Today I got very tired after lunch. I barely had the energy to do the stair stepper for 20 minutes. Then I soaked, and now I have a slight headache. I hope it goes away before I go out for dinner with the girls on the block tonight.

Jan. 26 (Day 79) - I am very tired again today. I don't know what's going on. This afternoon I did my phase-two exercises and soaked because I have to go out for awhile again this evening. The vitamins I ordered from Trace Elements arrived today.

Jan. 27 (Day 80) - Dr. Kennedy has the flu, so Chrissy and I had to miss our appointments today. We re-scheduled for Monday.

Jan. 28 (Day 81) - Chrissy is starting to complain about doing her exercises every day. I told her that she didn't have to do them if she didn't want to. I said that she could wait until she has back aches all the time like I did, and then have to wear the brace and do even more exercises. She's doing them just fine now.

Jan. 29 (Day 82) - Did the stair stepper before work today, because we are going to a Super Bowl party this evening. Everything's going fine.

Jan. 30 (Day 83) - Phase-two exercises are the easiest of all. The stair stepper is tiring to do for 20 minutes, and the phase-one exercises take a long time to do 30 reps. of each and are harder to do. Dr. Kennedy is still home with the flu.

Jan. 31 (Day 84) - Feel like I have a slight cold again. Friday we bought a digital piano. It was delivered yesterday. Now I'll really have to plan my days wisely, so that I'll have some time to sit down and play it. Right now, I'm still trying to figure out what all the buttons do. Someday, I'll have to remember to ask Dr. Copes how I can play the piano when my eye/hand coordination is all messed up.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for February

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Feb. 1 (Day 85)- I'm very tired again this week, but other than that everything is going along just fine.

Feb. 2 (Day 86) - This week I wrote to my cousin who's daughter has scoliosis, and also to another cousin and a friend. I also spoke to my friend, Kathy, and asked if her or her mother are going to look into Dr. Copes's program. So far, everyone seems to be just thinking about it. Randy had x-rays of his back taken today.

Feb. 3 (Day 87) - Dr. Kennedy said that Randy's x-ray looks pretty good. We were checking for anglyosing spondylitis. Joyce called today from Dr. Copes's office just to see how everything is going with me, and also to ask what we decided to do about Chrissy. I told her that she's doing the phase-one exercises, and that she was seeing Dr. Kennedy today for the first time. Also, we're going to try to schedule an EMG for next week if possible. Then we can start her on muscle simulation.

Feb. 4 (Day 88) - Did the stair stepper before work today. It's hard to fit everything into an already hectic lifestyle, but so far I'm managing about 99 percent of the time.

Feb. 5 (Day 89) - I've been wearing my brace just about three months already. This time sure went by fast.

Feb. 6 (Day 90) - Only did the stair stepper for 15 minutes today. I'm still very tired all the time, and seem to have another cold again. Chrissy stayed home from school today. She had swollen glands and a low fever.

Feb. 7-9 - Have come to the end of the first three months. Everything is going along just fine; nothing much to say at this time.

Feb. 10 - Dr. Kennedy weighed me with one foot on each scale. In order to get my weight evenly distributed, she put a 2 1/2 mm pad under my right heel. I started with a 5 mm under my left heel. When she told Dr. Copes about this change he was very excited. He said that shows that everything is working.

Feb. 11 & 12 - All is going well.

Feb. 13 - Sent "HOPE" back to Baton Rouge for her monthly air injection. By afternoon my back was noticeably hurting. I did sleep well, though.

Feb. 14 - My back is killing me! Today I took eight backache pills. The interferential therapy did help a little.

Feb. 15 - I can hardly stand this backache anymore! It hurts so bad! I had Randy do the interferential on me again today.

Feb. 16 - "HOPE" returned home about 1:00 P.M. My backache is gone now, but the air vectors are really pressing on my left side.

Feb. 17 - Didn't sleep too well last night. It usually takes a few days to get used to wearing the brace again.

Feb. 18 - By evening I realized that I had a cold starting all over again, I have a headache, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, etc. Did not sleep well at all, because of my throat mostly. Didn't do the stair stepper today because my head hurt so bad.

Feb. 19 - Went to work today even though I didn't feel very well. At least the headache is gone.

Feb. 20 - Only did 15 minutes on the stair stepper. My strength is totally gone from this cold. I think I should have married a doctor.

Feb. 21 - Didn't get Chrissy's EMG done today. It was the wrong type of test, which involved sticking needles under her skin. I am so tired; wish I had time for a nap.

Feb. 22- Mar. 14 - Nothing of much significance happened during this time. I've been wearing the brace 18 hours per day and doing all the other things as well.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for March

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Feb. 22- Mar. 14 - Nothing of much significance happened during this time. I've been wearing the brace 18 hours per day and doing all the other things as well.

Mar. 14 - Sent "HOPE" in for her air injection today. My back started aching within an hour or so after taking the brace off. Since I have been going to sleep at a regular time every day like Dr. Kennedy suggested, I've been sleeping better and feel better.

Mar. 15 - I rode our exercise bike for 20 minutes today, and last night also. It was a breeze! My back is very achy! I want "HOPE" back! I called Donna today. She had a chance to read the brochures that I sent her. She was very disappointed because her husband, Tim, is being unsupportive about this. His chief complaint is that Dr. Copes is not an M.D. Tim also does not believe in Chiropractors. I called Dr. Kennedy with this news, and told her that we really have our work cut out for us here.

Mar. 16 - My back is killing me! "HOPE" still has not returned home. I did 20 minutes on the exercise bike instead of the stair stepper, since I don't have my brace. I also did 50 sit-ups with the abdominizer.

Mar. 17 - My brace was sent to Mail Boxes, etc.; the place that I ship it from. I had to pick it up there. The air bladders seem very full!

Mar. 18 - 20 - Back into the usual routine of getting used to the brace again after the air injection.

Mar. 21 - I had trouble sleeping with my brace on all weekend. Last night I slept for five hours before I took it off.

Mar. 22 - Apr. 16 - This has been a hectic time for us. First was Randy's birthday, then Chrissy's, then mine, and then Easter. All within three weeks. We have also hired someone to finish the basement and temporarily had to take down my cervical traction unit. So I've slacked off doing my stair stepper exercises.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for April

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Mar. 22 - Apr. 16 - This has been a hectic time for us. First was Randy's birthday, then Chrissy's, then mine, and then Easter. All within three weeks. We have also hired someone to finish the basement and temporarily had to take down my cervical traction unit. So I've slacked off doing my stair stepper exercises.

Apr. 17 - Sent "HOPE" in for her air injection again. My back hurts a lot, after just three or four hours out of the brace. I will do my best to get back into the normal exercise routine again very soon.

Apr. 18 - In pain all day today! Last night, Randy did the interferential therapy on me and it felt much better through the night and until about 10:00 A.M. today.

Apr. 19 - "HOPE" returned home first thing this morning. It was the shortest trip ever! I just sent it Monday afternoon and got it back early Wednesday morning. I'll be sure to thank Dan when I see him. He made my day today.

Apr. 20 - Was only able to sleep with my brace on for about three hours last night The same routine occurs every month where it takes a few days to get used to sleeping in it again.

Apr. 21 - Dr. Kennedy said she should have her EMG machine next Wednesday. I am so glad. I need to be re-tested, and Chrissy needs her initial test. Our plans are all set for Dr. Kennedy and I to go to Baton Rouge May 7th through the 10th. I am really looking forward to a much needed vacation. I also volunteered to help her go through some files to get some data compiled. I also spoke to Dr. Kennedy about working for her in the Fall if she needs more help by then. She seemed quite pleased with my interests.

Apr. 22 - The basement is nearly finished, and pretty much cleaned up now, so I'll be able to get back into my stair stepping routine.

Apr. 23 - 26 - I've been busy getting the house ready for when Dr. Copes comes to visit April 28th. This house was already big, and now with the basement finished, there's even more to clean! I'm totally. stressed out.

Apr. 27 - Chrissy hurt her neck at school today. Dr. Kennedy came over to give her an adjustment. We gave her Jr. Tylenol and put ice on it for awhile. I'm very busy today, cooking and cleaning and getting ready for my dinner party tomorrow.

Apr. 28 - The day we've been anxiously waiting for is finally here. The house is cleaned. The food is cooking. Dr. Copes, Dan, Kirk, Dr. Smouse, Dr. Kennedy and Tom joined us at our house for a lasagna dinner. The lasagna was a big hit with everyone, so I guess I made a good choice. Dr. Copes spent quite awhile working with Chrissy on her feet. He showed us some different movements to do on her to help strengthen her muscles. When I go to Baton Rouge next week he said that we can take a mold for new orthotics for my feet, and then do the same for Chrissy when we get home.

Apr. 29 - Attended the seminar today. It was quite informative. I was able to follow along very well, because I took notes when Dr. Kennedy lent me her notebook from the first time that she took the class. Afterwards, we all went to a Tai restaurant for dinner.

Apr. 30 - The seminar ended today. I did say a few words to everyone present. I am very anxious to become a Chiropractic Assistant, and am looking forward to working with Dr. Kennedy. I'm even more motivated than ever now, because Kimberly is showing signs of shoulder unleveling. Dr. Kennedy got her EMG machine last week, so we'll be able to do the EMG testing on me, Chrissy and Kimberly. Maybe we'll even do Timothy. At the seminar, Kirk gave me an information packet and video to give to Donna. I'm going to try to keep up this journal more faithfully. It may be helpful to others. My eyelashes have grown back (a few weeks ago), but my fingernails are still chipping easily.

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Cecile's Daily Journal for May

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May 1 - Rita (Dr. Kennedy) and Tom came over for Kim's birthday today. There's a lot going on this week before I leave for Baton Rouge, but I'm managing to do all of my exercising and everything, as well as keeping up with the housework. Today I asked Rita just what exactly does a Chiropractic Assistant do. It sounds very interesting, challenging and like something I would do well since I am already familiar with most of it. I am very anxious to get started

May 2 - Read over my recent hair analysis report. I have a few questions. I'm sure glad that Dr. Copes is cutting me way back on the vitamins and supplements. And, I get to have a glass of red wine at bedtime - Dr.'s orders!

May 3 - Dr. Kennedy said that the Chiropractor from Plano who's coming to her for his disc problem wants to meet me, and is also interested in the Copes Treatment Recovery System. Dr. Kennedy also gave Tammi (a possible Copes patient) my phone number in case she had any questions for me. I had met Tammi after the seminar last Sunday.

May 4 - Besides doing my regular exercises, I am also trying to do some extra exercising whenever possible. Sometimes I wear my ankle weight when I'm cleaning house. Confirmed my appointment with Jane at Dr. Copes's office today, for Monday at 10:00 A.M. I also confirmed our hotel reservations.

May 5 - Yesterday, I stopped by Donna's to give her the patient information packet and video that Kirk gave me to give her. She said that she would read everything, but really believes that Chiropractors aren't "real" doctors. That they have you keep coming back just to get your money. I spent nearly six hours with Dr. Kennedy today getting my EMG taken. Once we called Dr. Kinney in Baton Rouge, we got it figured out right away. We'll take the report with us for Dr. Copes to see.

May 6 - Dr. Kennedy is doing the EMG's on the girls today, so we can have Dr. Copes look over their reports also. I'm rushing to get packed before going to work today. Tonight we are having few neighbors over to see the basement. I'm glad I got the perm; it took very nice. Haven't tried Dr. Copes's solution for my sinuses yet, but I intend to. I'm sick of taking allergy pills that make me drowsy. I'm already tired all the time as it is. Antihistamines also leave your mouth very dry.

May 7 - Arrived safely in Baton Rouge today. Dr. Copes left us a note on the office door saying that he went fishing for the day. So, we went to the strip mall of outlet stores. Someone took Rita's suitcase by mistake, so she had to buy a few things to wear. The day continued to bring more surprises. The car rental price was more for Monday through Wednesday than we thought it was going to be. At the hotel, Rita's card was rejected because the deposit she made yesterday had not been credited yet. It was very hot here today. We went to dinner at the Chinese place on Government St. that I had been to last year. When we got back to the hotel, Rita's suitcase was there. Baton Rouge is dry on Sundays, so I couldn't buy a bottle of red wine today.

May 8 - Did my exercises about 5:30 A.M. today. Had my appointment with Dr. Copes at 10:00 A.M. He's cutting me down to four vitamins a day and a glass of red wine at bedtime. He said that I am doing very well. We were slow getting started on the files today. Went to lunch with Dr. Copes, Kirk and Phyllis, a patient from Houston. Dr. Copes cooked dinner for Rita and me at his condo. He's an excellent cook, handy man and a brilliant doctor all in one! Dinner was great! I even ate crawfish and boiled peanuts! After dinner, we revamped our form for the case studies, and also looked over the girls' EMG's. Kimberly is also showing signs of scoliosis. We have to get an x-ray taken of her when I get back home. It rained quite a bit today. This whole area was under severe weather conditions - tornado warnings, flash flooding, lightening, etc.

May 9 - Dr. Copes was gracious enough to share his stair stepper with me today. I was really off with my arms swinging and keeping everything coordinated. We had lunch at a good Chinese restaurant today. We managed to get 13 files done today. Tonight we took Dr. Copes and Kirk out for dinner. It's raining again, and there's tornado watches and thunderstorms, just like yesterday. I called Randy to alert him that we may not be able to get home tomorrow. The New Orleans airport was closed Monday because of water on the runway! I tried doing some exercises in the cross/crawl pattern, and had trouble crawling on the floor like a baby.

May 10 - Last night I only slept about three hours. I'm very apprehensive about going home today because of the severe weather. Dr. Copes casted my feet for my orthotics. He also went over Kim's and Chrissy's EMGs and filled out a sheet showing their SMST positions. Dr. Copes answered all of my other questions as well. Dan put in a new force vector in my brace, put on another layer of padding where it had worn down, and also gave "HOPE" her monthly air injection. It was decided at the last minute that we were going to try to get home today (it didn't rain anymore today, and the airport was opened), so we had to rush back to the hotel to get our things, check out, and drive to New Orleans. We just made it. We boarded the plane about 20 minutes before it was supposed to take off. After we were already on the runway, they said our flight was being delayed about half an hour because of conditions at O'Hare. Also, we are not getting any food on our flight because the food truck got stuck in the flooding. My back is really hurting me as I am writing this on the way home. I'm feeling a lot of pressure on both sides of my back. I took three Anacins while on the plane. It's almost hard to believe that I have been wearing the brace six months already. It went by so fast!

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