LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, is not an uncommon diagnosis.
But each case is different.
For 15 year-old Adia Sipowicz, the diagnosis meant more than just observation of her spine.
Last fall, her day to day life which usually revolved around sports, completely changed.
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"There's always going to be good times and there's always going to be hard times in your life but each one of those is kind of a cornerstone and a milestone in your journey of your life, and it's just basically something that you can share with others," Adia said.
In her journey through life, Adia can recall her favorite milestones.
Many of which began in the halls at Christ the King school in Lubbock.
"She is a very energetic and positive influence on the class," her music teacher Caitlin Mueller said.
Christ the King is where Adia fell in love with playing sports.
And where her creativity blossomed into a passion for performing arts.
But in these halls, she also discovered the biggest challenge she's had to face.
"In sixth grade they did the spinal and scoliosis checks," Adia said. "A few days later she called me back in and said you know what, we're going to check everything, I saw a little something."
At the age of eleven, her school nurse diagnosed Adia with scoliosis.
"This is what it looks like when the spine is bent sideways and it's also twisted," Dr. Michel Diab, Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon said.
Adia wore a brace for two years.
"That really didn't help. It was basically 24/7," she said.
But the curve in her spine got worse.
That means the brace wasn't enough.
Adia needed surgery.
"Maybe less than 10 percent require surgeries," Dr. Diab said.
"When I had those words 'we're going to have to operate' it kind of just hit me like ok this is real now," Adia said.
But for Adia, one surgery meant two.
The first to repair her tethered spinal cord.
"I was in surgery for four hours," she said.
Nothing compared to the hours spent on the next surgery.
"It was almost 12 for that one," she said.
"So scoliosis surgery entails putting screws, two at each level," Dr. Diab said. "We give the rod the normal shape of the spine. And then we drop the rod gradually and as we tighten the screws, the spine will take the shape of the rod."
A delicate and intricate operation.
Dr. Diab says one wrong move can lead to paralysis.
The Sipowicz family put all of their trust in Dr. Diab and their fears quickly turned to encouragement.
"The best part about this experience is that we went into this surgery having complete faith in Dr. Diab," Adia's mom, Kim Sipowicz, said.
"He went way out of his way to make sure that we were very comfortable and understood exactly what was going to happen," Adia's dad, Mike Sipowicz, said.
With the amazing technology at UMC, Adia's spine has made a miraculous transformation.
"It was actually a very very good experience considering what Adia had to go through," Mike said.
Adia keeps her head held high, as she hopes to one day get back into her favorite sports.
"I'd really really like to get back into basketball and volleyball if that's possible," Adia said.
As she continues to recover, she relies on the support and guidance of her close knit family of eight, and the second family she gained at UMC.
"It was actually really sad leaving because everyone knew my name. Everyone was in there checking on me, talk about my life what was going on and just the doctor's and the staff, they were amazing," Adia said.
"As nerve-wracking as the experience is having her gone that long and in surgery that long and thinking about what can go wrong, we truly went in knowing that she was in the best hands possible," Kim said.