Elisabeth’s Scoliosis Fusion Surgery StoryJul 16, 2019
Macomb Teen Successfully Treated with Scoliosis Fusion Surgery Leads Detroit Support Group
Life has been very busy for L’Anse Creuse High School teen Elisabeth of Macomb, Michigan. A very active young woman, Elisabeth has excelled in her studies and participated in gymnastics, cheerleading, modeling and a variety of volunteer activities. In April of 2019, Elisabeth, the daughter of Army Major Tara McCallum was named 2019 Army Military Child of the Year, along with six other winners. The award reflects the positive impact that these extraordinary young adults have made on their military families, their schools, and their communities.
A twist of fate leading to a life-changing scoliosis diagnosis in 2017 has also inspired Elisabeth to lead the way in helping others who have scoliosis and need resources and support.
For the past several years, Elisabeth suffered from back pain and was told by local doctors that it was growing pains and she should just deal with it. But an unrelated trip to a hospital emergency room led to a diagnosis that finally made sense to Elisabeth.
“I ended up in the emergency room because I am allergic to shell fish and had a bad reaction. The doctor took an xray and noticed that I had scoliosis which could be detected from the xray in the neck area,” she says.
Although shocked, the diagnosis was not surprising since she had auditioned for some modeling assignments and was told that she needed to improve her posture.
The scoliosis discovery led to a number of doctor interviews including visits out of state to determine her best course of treatment.
“I found out about Dr. Ahmed Bazzi online and after I met him I immediately felt confident he was the right doctor to treat me,” says Elisabeth.
Dr. Bazzi, orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Michigan says by the time she met Elisabeth, she had a spinal curvature of more than 50 degrees and had skeletal evidence of maturity where she was too grown to undergo the experimental option of vertebral body tethering.
“Evidence-based medicine led me to the decision that posterior spinal fusion would be her best bet to correct her curvature and help with her pain. I welcomed her openness to seek another opinion and for the family to make the decision on their own. Upon her return to me, we discussed the outcomes of surgery and had an in-depth conversation about her expectations. Collectively, we agreed Elisabeth would be a wonderful surgical candidate,” he says.
The busy teen had to stay home to recover during the second half of her freshman year. There were some sacrifices including not participating in cheerleading or gymnastics for the time being, but Elisabeth took her life-changing diagnosis as an opportunity to help others going through a similar situation by leading the Detroit area support group for CurvyGirlsScoliosis.com
“I was in so much back pain and it didn’t make sense that it was just growing pains. I am so thankful to Dr. Bazzi who communicated with me every step of the way and offered me a great treatment option with fusion surgery. The improvement in my back pain is tremendous. I’ve grown 3 inches and feel like a Wolverine with my scar. I proudly show my scar with dresses in formal events and love to talk to others through the support group about what to expect and to not be afraid of seeking second opinions until you feel comfortable with the best option treatment,” says Elisabeth.