madie and bears

Dec 18, 2018 / Clubfoot & Foot Disorders

Share Your Story: Beary Merry Christmas

Meet Madie, a patient who has been coming to the hospital since she was just three weeks old. Learn more about her journey below.
Blog written by Madie, age 17 of Hurst.

Hi, my name is Madie Stelzer and I have been a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for 17 years. I was born with bilateral clubfeet and the day I was born my parents were told I may never walk.
Luckily, we were referred to Scottish Rite Hospital. My first appointment was with Dr. Sucato when I was just three weeks old. It was at that appointment where my parents’ fears and concerns were addressed, and they were reassured that we were in the best place for my clubfoot treatment. My left foot was more severe than my right and we were given two treatment options: Ponseti casting or physical therapy. My parents choose the casting method, which involved a new set of casts, switched out weekly, to slowly correct my feet. We were supposed to see Dr. Sucato once a week, but instead, ended up coming back to the hospital three times each week because I kept getting my leg out of the casts. Once, I even went through three sets in one weekend.
When I was two months old, Dr. Sucato told my mom that the casting method wasn’t giving us the results we wanted, so I would have to have surgery when I turned one. My mom was determined to try whatever she could to avoid surgery. As soon as we left that appointment with Dr. Sucato, my mom and I met with the physical therapists. For the next couple of months, my mom brought me to the hospital four days a week so they could stretch and manipulate my feet. I also wore splints on each leg for 23 hours a day.
My mom was a teacher and her leave was about to end. She was going back to work and the logistics of getting to the hospital that many times a week became tricky, but we all made it work. She would pick me up from the babysitter, take me to the hospital for therapy, take me back to the babysitter and then she would go back to school – and this was all done during her planning period. We made lots of trips to Scottish Rite Hospital.
After several months of physical therapy, we had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Sucato and decided to schedule my surgery. He was surprised to see that my right foot was corrected and wouldn’t require surgery. Although my left foot had improved, it would still need surgery. I had surgery in October of 2002 just before I turned one. After my procedure, Dr. Sucato told my parents that the physical therapy we had done made the surgery so much easier.
When I had completed all of the surgery follow-up appointments, I continued with physical therapy to help strengthen my left leg, which was significantly weaker than my right. The orthotics clinic made a brace for me to sleep in, to help keep my left foot from turning back in.
Eventually, our visits to the hospital decreased and I only had to come back for my yearly checkups. Then, in third grade, I was diagnosed with a hip condition which resulted from running too much. My mom took me to see a pediatric orthopedic doctor and I was told I couldn’t do anything physical and needed to take it easy so that my torn growth plate could heal. I wasn’t getting better so my mom decided to call Scottish Rite Hospital to see if they could help. They got us right in. I had X-rays and an arthrogram of my hip. It was then discovered that I had femoroacetabular impingement.
I had my hip surgery in April 2012. Dr. Ellis specialized in the type of surgery I needed, so he performed the procedure.

My parents knew I was in good hands with both Dr. Ellis & Dr. Sucato in the operating room with me.

My recovery from the hip surgery was better than expected and I was determined to get up, get moving and not be in a wheel chair for very long. 
Singing is my passion and I am very involved in musical theater. I have been cast as a featured dancer in a few shows, which I never dreamed would happened with my medical history.  

I have accomplished things that I thought would never be possible, thanks to the amazing team at Scottish Rite Hospital. 

I always wanted to give back to the place and the people that helped me through the years, but I was too young to volunteer. When I was eight, I asked my mom if I could go sing to the patients and she arranged for me to perform in the atrium. Then when I was in sixth grade, I had to complete a service project for school and decided to start a teddy bear drive for the patients at the hospital. Teddy bears were significant to me because I received a special bear at an appointment when I was two and I named him Beary. This was the beginning of my “Beary Merry Christmas” project. I collect the bears, deliver them to patients and perform at the hospital every December. I have collected a total of 727 bears over the last five years and I have lots to deliver this year.
From the security guards, to the check in desk, the popcorn and gift shop volunteers, to the child life specialists, the physical therapists, the movement science clinic, and of course the nurses and doctors, Scottish Rite Hospital is such a special place. I will be forever grateful to the hospital and its people for helping me get to where I am today, especially Dr. Sucato and Dr. Ellis.



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