Caroline on exam table

Jun 11, 2019 / Scoliosis & Spine

Share Your Story: Caroline's Curve

Meet Caroline, a patient who is treated by our spine experts. Learn more about her journey below.

Blog written by Caroline's mom, Christina, of Dallas. 

“What’s that little lump on her back?” This is how Caroline’s congenital scoliosis journey began, when she was almost nine months old.
 
We noticed a small lump on her back, around her spine, when she was leaning forward in the bathtub one evening. This discovery led to a lot of internet research and had me in tears, wondering what it could be. 
 
Her nine-month check-up was approaching, and we had her pediatrician take a look at her back. After his examination, he referred us to a pediatric orthopedic specialist.
 
We were able to get in rather quickly and it was then that she was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis. Caroline had a 24-degree curve, plus a single hemivertebra at L2. When the doctor laid out the X-rays, we could immediately see that her spine was curved. We left that appointment in tears, shocked and terrified by all the things we had just been told. We were completely overcome with worry for our sweet girl and what her future would look like. He then referred us to the experts at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Living in Dallas, we were familiar with the hospital.   
 
We immediately scheduled our appointment. Before our first visit, we did a good amount of research, just like any concerned parent would. We worried, we cried, we prayed, and we hoped for the best. When it was time for our appointment, we were prepared with all of our questions. When we arrived at the hospital, we were greeted with the smell of fresh popcorn and the sound of laughter from other children.

Every single person we saw had a smile on their face and was so friendly to Caroline and our family, putting us at ease.     

 
They took more X-rays of her back and chest, weighed and measured her, and then we waited to see Dr. McIntosh. As soon as she walked in, she told us that Caroline’s case was “not that bad.” She must have seen the extreme concern on our faces because her saying that immediately made our worries go away.  
 
She confirmed that it was congenital scoliosis with a single hemivertebra at L2. The hospital has a X-ray machine where the child stands upright rather than laying down. This method gives a more accurate reading. Here, her curve was only 19 degrees.
 
We also learned that since her hemivertebra was lower in her spine, it was not connected to nerves and there was no need to worry about possible nerve issues. She advised us to get Caroline’s heart and kidneys checked out since a large percentage of congenital scoliosis cases can also have heart or kidney issues. Her heart and kidneys ended up being just fine! We were so thankful.   
 
Dr. McIntosh said that she simply wanted to monitor Caroline and see her every six months. At our next appointment, there had been very little progression in Caroline’s curve - this was great news! Dr. McIntosh said that they will usually perform surgery once the curve gets to 40 degrees and the slower the progression, the more time Caroline will have to grow before possibly having to have surgery.    
 
We continue going for check-ups to monitor Caroline’s spine. We’ve been told there is a tiny chance she may never need surgery, but if she does, we feel confident in the doctors at Scottish Rite Hospital and no longer worry about our sweet girl. 

We have had such a wonderful experience and want to help others have the same opportunity. Caroline and I make children’s bracelets and we donate 100% of the proceeds back to the hospital.
 

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