Hi! I’m Kaitlyn
I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 9 at a pediatrician well visit. The doctor found that I had a lumbar curve in the high 20’s as well as a thoracic curve in the low 20’s. I immediately began wearing a Providence brace at night. At first it was a fight, but once I got more comfortable with it I was very compliant in wearing it to bed without too much fuss. We visited the orthopedic doctor every four months and were continually told that “everything looked good”, so we felt confident that I was going to get through this without much worry.
Fast forward two years. I started complaining that my brace hurt and I didn’t want to wear it. I had been wearing the same brace the whole time so we made an appointment earlier than planned to see about a new brace. I was shocked when the doctor told me that my curve was now 41 on the top and had actually been getting worse over the last year! We decided to switch to a Boston brace so that it could better address my high curve, but I would have to wear it pretty much full time.
I wore the brace to school once and came back refusing to ever endure that again. I said I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without help and I was NOT going to do this! We watched videos online of girls showing how to do cute outfits and we did a ton of shopping hoping to find ways to make this acceptable to me, but I was quickly pulling away from social activities and friends and changing from the happy energetic girl that I was once was. I worried I was going to have to give up volleyball, a sport I loved, and I refused to spend the night with friends or participate in activities because I was embarrassed about my shoulder blade sticking out.
My mom spent hours pouring over the internet and ruling out several of my options, we decided to visit Shriners in Philadelphia to talk to Dr. Cahill about VBT. He felt I was a perfect candidate and we jumped in head first without looking back. My thoracic curve was at 46 degrees on the day of surgery and lumbar was still in the high 20’s as it had always been. Dr. Cahill tethered the top of my spine and left the bottom alone. Six weeks later I was back playing volleyball.
Since then, my life has been a series of amazing events that I think all would have never happened if I’d stuck fighting the brace! I won a Disney essay contest with a story I wrote about my VBT experience and won premium annual Disney passes for the family for a year. I had an opportunity to speak in Washington DC at the FDA spinal devices meeting about my outcome and experience with VBT.
I made my club’s national volleyball team and at the national tournament, I was scouted by an agent for a major modeling agency and I have been modeling for the last four years. I also write a monthly column for a modeling magazine.
I went from 5’4 on the day or surgery to 5’11 now, five years later and my spine is almost completely straight! It has been inspired me to want to become a doctor. I have been working hard to graduate from high school a year early. I have been admitted to the University of Central Florida for the fall, skipping my senior year in high school. I hope to become a radiologist.
My life is so much different today than what I feared it would be five or six years ago. I had visions of a lifelong deformity and pain. Instead I have experienced humbling support from friends and family and unbelievable gifts of opportunity that would have never been presented to me if I had chosen a different path. We are ever grateful for the surgeons who have the passion and vision to offer something new and better for their patients.
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