Patient Stories

Deanne Vitiello

My journey started in 2007 at my very first appointment at Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children with Dr. Peter Gabos. I was thirteen years old and was told I had scoliosis. I could not even say that word out loud; it just felt weird. But, looking back, I had no idea my world would be changed and turned upside down in one of the most positive ways imaginable.

My spine was measuring two curves, both in the thirties. Over a two-year span of monitoring, starting from that day in 2007, my spine curved into the surgical range of over fifty degrees. Bracing was never an option due to my skeletal maturity and degree of curvature. So on June 28, 2010, I had spinal fusion surgery for my scoliosis. My two curves measured fifty-three and thirty-five degrees that day and after a five-hour surgery, I came out with two rods, eighteen screws, and a very straight spine.

I spent five days in the hospital learning how to adjust to a new life of having stainless steel rods and screws in my spine. It was absolutely one of the hardest things I ever went through. If it were not for the amazing team at duPont and the best surgeon ever, Dr. Gabos, visiting me twice a day every day, I would not have been able to get through it. I am fused from T4 to T12.

To make this story even better, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to shadow Dr. Gabos for five months this past summer during an internship for college. I got to see firsthand how the same surgery I had was performed, and I was able to meet a lot of amazing patients who, like me, are going through their own scoliosis journey.

Scoliosis was the best thing that happened to me. Sounds crazy, right? I had the best surgeon anyone could have ever asked for, a straight spine, and a beautiful scar I am so proud to show off. Dr. Gabos forever changed my life, and I am truly indebted to him for that!

I really feel like the luckiest girl in the world after everything I went through because it shaped me into who I am now! Today, I am almost six years post-op, and I feel absolutely amazing!

The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone reading my story is TRUST. Trust your doctor and your support system, and know that everything will work out the way it is meant to be! It is not easy, but you will come out of it all a much stronger person than you already are. Believe me!


Read more patient stories like this from around the world.

Post a comment