Patient Channels Superhero Powers with Wonder Woman Casts
Sixteen-year-old Kelly is a picture of strength and positivity, and not just because of the Wonder Woman casts on her legs. After her most recent foot surgery, her sixth lower extremity surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, Kelly’s optimism lights up the room.
Born with severe clubfoot on both feet and bilateral dislocated knees, Kelly’s parents didn’t know where to turn. “Kelly’s pediatrician was wonderful and tried to find someone in our home town who could treat Kelly, but nobody was willing to take her on because her case was so severe,” said Kimberly, Kelly’s mom. “He contacted Shriners [Hospitals], and we made our first visit when she was 4 days old. That’s when we started our journey here.” At the time, Michael Sussman, M.D., provided treatment to Kelly for both of these conditions, completely correcting her bilateral dislocated knees.
Kelly’s most recent surgery was conducted by Katie Fuchs, M.D., with a goal of correcting the inward alignment of her feet which was causing pain and making it difficult to wear shoes, an issue that stemmed from clubfoot. Dr. Fuchs had asked Kelly if she had any requests for her casts after surgery was complete, and Kelly knew exactly what she wanted: Wonder Woman! “Wonder Woman is strong and she’s brave,” said Kelly. “I was just inspired, so that’s what I wanted to do.”
“Kelly is an absolute joy to take care of – she brightens my day with her gentle strength and incredibly kind and calm attitude in the face of such difficult problems,” said Dr. Fuchs. “Kelly is healing well from her last surgery, resulting in a nice straight pair of feet that I hope get her where she’s going without discomfort for many years to come.”
Despite Kelly’s extensive medical journey, she received another unexpected diagnosis in fifth grade. During a routine scoliosis screening at school, a curvature was discovered in her spine. Her parents knew just where to take her! After meeting with Daniel Bouton, M.D., Kelly learned that she had two curves in her spine – a left lumbar curve measuring 68 degrees and a right thoracic curve measuring 64 degrees.
Prior to receiving care for her spinal condition, Kelly had a home tutor rather than attending school because the pain was too severe. “I was having a hard time breathing before surgery,” Kelly explained. “It was hard to concentrate and I was having chest pain because my spine was pushing against my heart. It was a relief to have it fixed.”
In June of 2018, Kelly underwent spine surgery to correct the curve in her spine. Dr. Bouton conducted the posterior spinal fusion which resulted in an excellent correction. “After surgery, I could breathe – I could take nice big deep breaths,” said Kelly. “I could ride on my bike again. I had a better quality of life.”
“I want to be a surgeon when I grow up,” said Kelly, who often reads medical books from the library in her free time. “I love science and I think it would be cool to work with kids. I would love to work here at Shriners! I’ve always been curious about my feet and trying to understand why they were like this when I was little – I love learning about that.”
“My heart just pops every time I think about everybody up here who has helped us,” said Kimberly. “My OB-GYN told us that she would never walk, and then to see her be able to run and do things that allow her body to keep up with her brain is huge.”
“Dr. Fuchs and Dr. Bouton have a very special place in my heart,” said Kelly. “They’re my cheerleaders. They want you to be the best version of yourself, and that’s all they’ve ever wanted for me. That’s what they’ve been helping me achieve.”
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