Pectus Excavatum, Scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Disease.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

I ask that you please consider the vulnerability that goes along with sharing a personal story like this and why I believe in The YogAlign Method. Thank you

Joaquin Fulkerson was born in December of 2003, a healthy, happy baby boy. Peter (my husband) and I were over the moon happy, as all new parents are. We did notice from birth Joaquin had a curve in his sacrum area between his gluteal muscles. But did not think much of it. The years passed by in our then mountain home of Big Bear Lake, California. Our family lead a very family-active lifestyle and owned and operated a backpacking outfitting store and yoga studio next door. Joaquin spent his first seven years of life hiking, skateboarding, rock climbing, skiing, downhill mountain biking, snowshoeing, BMX racing, snowboarding, zip-lining, slacklining, and of course leading groups with dad in the great outdoors or practicing in one of mom’s yoga classes. Joaquin was born and raised vegetarian, with perfect annual health exams was again the picture of health (not even a cavity to this day)

Fast forward to the end of 2011, when the Fulkerson tribe arrived on the island of Kauai. Whereas as a family, we continued to remain very physically active biking, hiking, swimming, golfing, boogie boarding, outrigger canoeing, snorkeling, surfing, and Joaquin continued his BMX racing on Oahu on the weekends. In 2017 Peter Joaquin’s dad started to notice Joaquin’s posture changing and not in a positive way. We both saw a curve in his spine and a very forward head carriage. Joaquin is of the generation of Screenagers. Meaning “his generation” is spending a great deal of time in front of a computer screen. With my anatomy knowledge, YogAlign training, and common sense, I assumed the postural issues were coming from the amount of time Joaquin spent sitting in a chair in front of his computer. Peter and I became the posture police and tried reminding him to change his bad posture habits and to shift his body when we saw him out of alignment. In 2018 Joaquin was scheduled to get his annual physical exam before starting school. I had alerted his primary care physician about our concerns with Joaquin’s posture, curve in his spine, and now what looked like a collapse in the left side of his chest.

That was the beginning of many Dr. visits on and off-island between Kauai and Oahu. On the day during Joaquin’s routine exam, he was diagnosed with Pectus Excavatum and sent for a spine x-ray for Scoliosis. Joaquin saw by both a pediatric surgeon and spine surgeon on Oahu. Where then, he was diagnosed with Scheuermann’s Disease of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine.

Joaquin had many forms of x rays on his chest and spine and the results being his spine is healthy regarding no cysts, tumors, or abnormalities for concern. He will continue to struggle with Scheuermann’s Disease of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine. His Scoliosis is still within the mild range. The Pectus Excavatum is a surgical procedure fix which we would like to avoid. That does not seem possible and, surgery is on the horizon.

Meanwhile, during this roller coaster ride, I consulted with my teacher and creator of YogAlign Michaelle Edwards here on Kauai. We together came up with a course of action plan for Joaquin. Joaquin’s first YogAlign session with Michaelle took place at her home studio on January 14, 2019. The session was two hours long, began with pictures of his posture, a breathing tool to help him get the fullness in his diaphragm, and a few specific YogAlign postures. Our goal was and still is to continue to shift his current alignment. He is fifteen, his body is pliable, and we want to start to wake up the left side of his pectus muscles, rewire his brain with new positive posture habits and create space in his short and tight front line. Joaquin has had three more YogAlign sessions with Michaelle. Once a month up to now including, before and after pictures. In between those YogAlign sessions with Michaelle, Joaquin and myself practiced YogAlign for one to two hours 4 times weekly with great enthusiasm (most of the time).

Fast forward to today May, 30 Th Joaquin and I continue to practice YogAlign four times a week (mostly). He is even willing to now participate in one of my public YogAlign classes. He has practiced the YogAlign method once on his own with the support of his dad. (proud mama moment) Joaquin has become very in tune with his anatomy and posture good, and poor, and how his body feels when it is in proper or poor alignment. Not to mention the self-confidence it has given him. He will always need to be very physically active and practice YogAlign to maintain a happy, healthy body able to do all of the things he enjoys in a life well into his senior years. I am proud of his commitment and grateful for the YogAlign Method. And Peter and I for being proactive in a challenging situation.

Joaquin will need in the near future to have the Nuss procedure to fix his Pectus Excavatum anything is possible – the proof is in the pictures (4 months of YogAlign practice).

Much love, respect, and gratitude for all the love and support now and as the journey continues.