LITERALLY ONE IN A MILLION - The online voice of cambridge campus students
The online voice of cambridge campus students
by Josh Gloe

Contributing writer

With every bump in the road, pain shot through the leg of a young John Loomis. He had yet again broken his leg, this time in the middle of a Cub Scouts meeting. Although it was one out of many times he had to deal with a broken bone, that did not dull the pain.

Loomis, now 18 years old, and an Anoka-Ramsey Community College student, was born with brittle bones, technically known as osteogenesis imperfecta. The student estimates that he has broken a bone around 50 times in his life. He has undergone much pain, suffering, surgical treatments, and hospital time.

Through such hardship in his life, Loomis’ faith carries him through the good times and the bad, and he has developed a love for music. He explained that he continues to develop his passion in his faith and in his music, and it helps fuel him when times are tough, as well as when life is not as difficult.

Loomis is literally one in a million. Only one out of every million people diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta do not receive it genetically. Loomis is one of the extremely rare cases in that he did not inherit his brittle bones from family members.

Throughout his life, Loomis has had countless surgeries and medical procedures to suffer through, aside from the pain of breaking bones. In one notable case, in January of 2007, he had a major surgery on his back.

“I had extreme scoliosis,” he said, “and I had to have my vertebrae fused together.” After a lengthy amount of time spending all day in his bed for week after week, and after a slow recovery, Loomis’ back is essentially immobile. “Now I can’t bend my back,” he said.

Loomis said he kept track of those last few moments before surgery, because he knew he would be limited after the procedure. In reference to the morning of the surgery, he said, “I got to crack my back for the last time at 7 a.m. that day.”

A couple of years later, in September of 2009, Loomis had an external fixator inserted into his leg through what he described as a very painful surgical process. This was done in hopes of extending the length of one of his legs, as one was shorter than the other.

“I had five osteotomies,” he explained, “and the external fixator was on my femur. I had to daily use screws and bolts to lengthen it.” This was, he explained, yet another severely painful process. Loomis ended up having to stay almost completely immobile in his bed for several more months, until December of 2009.

Not three months later, in March of 2010, Loomis began feeling severe abdominal pain. “At first,” he said, “I thought that I had the flu. Well, after not eating for five days and being in quite a bit of pain - and that’s saying much for me - I told mom that I thought I was going to die one night. She said, ‘Well, I guess we should take you into the emergency room.’”

“Well, they poked and prodded, and finally, after about five hours, found the problem. I had burst my appendix, and it had been burst for three days. The doctor said that I would have died that night if we had not come in.”

Throughout all of this, the suffering, the near death experience, and the reasons to want to give up hope, Loomis has held his head high and grasped a higher power. His religious faith has given him hope and strength to carry on. “It is the most important part of my life,” he said.

By writing and performing music for the Catholic Marian group Schoenstatt (German for “beautiful place”), which is a global organization with several groups located in Minnesota, he combines his spirituality with his love for music.

Loomis has been playing piano for 10 years, cello for eight years, guitar for two years, and the drums for two years.

Throughout his times of hardship and troubles, pain and suffering, music was always a big part of his life. If he couldn’t physically play an instrument, he would be listening to it or singing it from his bed during his times of recovery.

Now on the rebound, Loomis is planning on working towards his Associates in Fine Arts degree in the area of music at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. He plans on using this to further his love of music, God, and the people around him.

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