Valley teen born with congenital scoliosis shares his story
One Valley teen has endured a lifetime's worth of pain, yet he still finds the strength to encourage others to lean onto hope.
Jeremiah Cardona was born with congenital scoliosis.
"It was like a table with one missing leg; that's the way he was," said Jeremiah’s mom, Sochic Contreras. “So, if you take a leg off a table, it's going to be imbalanced."
Contreras says she caught Cardona’s condition at a very early age, and Cardona was diagnosed at the age of 3.
"With his type of scoliosis, that was the most important thing was mom catching it, the doctors catching it, getting the x-rays, and getting them to us as young as possible,” said Dr. Christopher Comstock, Jeremiah's pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
When his spinal curvature worsened and started to effect one of his lungs, they turned to surgery. The procedure stopped the curvature from growing, but it didn't quite fix the problem.
"Eventually, it got to the point where everything just felt normal to me," Cardona said. "I felt like I just woke up with the pain and it was just there like my friend next to me and I had to just live with it."
But Cardona's outlook was clear when Driscoll Children's Hospital asked him to speak at their groundbreaking in Edinburg last November.
"Not everyone is perfect-- that they have their own flaws and within time it can get to a point where it gets worse, but it doesn't matter how much pain you go through, you'll get out of it and you'll always see the light at the end of the tunnel," Cardona said.
There's still a chance that Cardona will need corrective spinal surgery in the future.
Cardona says he'll do whatever it takes to get better.