Parker’s walking tall after spinal surgery in NY

Published 12:57 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

Matthew Parker is standing three inches taller as he recovers from a long-awaited surgery to correct scoliosis.

When The Star-News first shared Parker’s story last June, he was working two jobs to earn the money needed for a trip to New York City to arrange surgery to correct scoliosis that has plagued him for six years. A friend had just started a GoFundMe account to support him.

Parker made that trip in August, and set a date for his surgery. Support for his GoFundMe account helped immensely for his trip to New York City in July and recent donations have helped tremendously for this trip, he said.

The surgery involved making an incision in Parker’s spine, twisting the top left curve straight, twisting the bottom right curve straight, placing a titanium rod to straighten the spine, and placing several three inch cobalt screws in each vertebrae.

Before the surgery, Parker was already standing at a tall 6’3”. Two weeks after the surgery, he is 6’6”.

“As soon as I stood up I was noticeably taller,” Parker said. “My dad looked up at me and said, ‘Oh my God, you’re huge.’”

Parker said that he has no pain now, but his back is still stiff.

“The first night they gave me a morphine drip and a remote to control the medication, which was amazing,” Parker said. “Now I really don’t have any pain, but my back is ridiculously stiff, so I’m doing everything I can to work it out.”

During the surgery, Parker lost two liters of blood, but nothing went wrong with the surgery.

“I lost two liters of blood so they had to transfuse two liters in,” Parker said. “But they didn’t have to break my back or anything, which is good. They just went in and did what they had to do.”

After being home for a week, Parker is able to walk around.

“The second day after the surgery I was able to stand up and walk three times a day,” Parker said. “On the third day, I was able to walk up stairs and things like that and on the fifth day I was discharged from the hospital.”

Parker said the only thing difficult about the overall experience was the language barrier between the nurses.

“It seemed like every single nurse I had was from South America,” Parker said. “I am just glad that I took Spanish in high school.”

Though he is out of work for a while, Parker said that he is ready to get back at it.

“The overall experience has been a challenge,” Parker said. “Right now, I am just relaxing on the couch, but I have never seen more love and affection from the community. When I got back there were several people that came up to me just crying because they missed me and were happy to see that I was OK. I just want to let every one know that right now, I am not at my best, but I am making a promise to the community that I will work as hard as I can to be at my best again, for them.”