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On May 17th, 2010, when I was fourteen years old, I underwent a spinal fusion. My spinal fusion was performed by Dr. Peter Newton at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. At the time of my surgery, I had a sixty degree right thoracic curve that was only going to continue to get worse. Having a surgery was scary, but the thought of living a life of disfigurement, back pain, and physical limitation was scarier. That’s why I decided to have the surgery.

After my surgery, I was given a squishy heart-shaped pillow from a girl named McKenna Keyes. McKeena had the same scoliosis surgery I had, only she had hers two years before I had mine. Before McKeena’s hospital stay, she had been given a pillow as a gift, and that pillow had brought her so much comfort that she wanted to share that with others. So McKeena began giving out heart-shaped pillows to other scoliosis patients undergoing spinal fusions. When McKeena left for college, I decided to continue her work, and I began providing pink heart-shaped pillows, information, and emotional support to teenager girls who are preparing for spinal surgery like I did.

I spent six days in the hospital, and although my surgery and recovery were probably the hardest things I have ever been through in my life, I succeeded. I made it through both experiences, and I am now stronger than ever! I wanted to share my story to remind each of you that, as you go through your scoliosis treatment, you are not alone! I want offer others heart-shaped pillows to remind them that they have nothing but love and good wishes being sent to them. A heart-shaped pillow may seem like a small thing, but mine reminded me that I was not alone and that others cared about what I was going through. My pillow gave me physical comfort and emotional support. In fact, I still sleep with my pillow today!

If you’re faced with surgery and feel afraid, know that you can do it! You can reach the end of your scoliosis journey stronger and happier than ever!

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 21:01
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Isabel was born prematurely at twenty-nine weeks and was later  diagnosis with Cerebral Palsy.  She has been under the care of Dr. Mark Abel since 2001.  As Isabel continued to grow, her spine curvature did too, and soon it was causing her discomfort and negatively impacting her quality of life. Isabel had to have multiple surgeries to fix both kyphotic and lordotic curves in her back, but after six months of recovery time, Isabel’s family was able to see astonishing improvements in Isabel’s daily life.  Her pain has lessened, her sleep has improved, she is able to take less medicine, and she can face forward to see who she is interacting with.  Also, due to Isabel’s increased lung capacity, her speech has improved, and her parents are able to hear her say things that she couldn’t before.  The Holmes are very happy with Isabel’s spinal surgery.



“We are so grateful to see these changes in her life.  I think we got excellent guidance as well as surgical expertise and care.  Thank you, Mark Abel.  We owe you so many thanks for your help in bringing back Isabel’s smile.”                     -- Penny Holmes

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 20:17
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