September 6, 2012
Malignant Malalignment, or as it is more casually known, Miserable Malalignment, is a leg condition that causes the bones to twist as they grow. When I was 12, I was diagnosed with this condition, and at the time my doctors recommended that I wait to see if I might outgrow this ailment. Sadly, it worsened and this summer I had reconstructive leg surgery to correct the problem. Not only did the surgery immobilize me for what could have been an exciting and fun summer, it also posed challenges for the start of the school year. I wasn’t sure how I would manage to get around campus while my bones were still healing. I contacted UAB’s Disability Support Services (DSS) and set up an Intake Interview and an Accommodations Conference. It seemed weird to be considered “disabled” after so many years of just being a normal kid. I also feel bad being categorized as disabled because it is only a temporary thing for me; once my bones heal I’ll be back to normal.
Getting to the point of surgery was quite a process. It took 5 years for my parents and I to find the right orthopedic surgeon for me. My condition is unusual and the doctors in Huntsville were not experienced with the surgery I needed. We travelled all over the state and even to Ohio and Michigan before finding the right surgeon. Finally in September of 2011 I got an appointment to see Dr. Tietge, a world renowned orthopedic surgeon in Detroit, to be evaluated for surgery. After he took X-rays and CT-scans he told us there was no doubt in his mind that I needed to have a femoral and tibial rotational osteotomy on both legs, which is a procedure where the surgeon breaks the patients leg in three places in order to turn the bones and straighten the leg out from its prior twisted position. Dr. Tietge said that mine was the worst case of Malignant Malaignment he had seen. He was booked solid for surgery for a year, and I couldn’t...