girl jumping over a hurdle on an outside track

Mar 06, 2023 / Scoliosis & Spine

Share Your Story: Jumping for Happiness

Meet Mikayla, a patient who was seen by our team of scoliosis and spine experts. Learn more about her journey below.

Blog written by Mikayla.

When I was in the sixth grade, my mom noticed something weird on my back. She had my dad also look at what she was seeing, and he thought we needed to get a doctor to check this out. I went to my pediatrician, and he said it looked like I had a “mild” case of scoliosis. He then sent us to an orthopedic doctor, who took X-rays to look at my spine. As it turns out, I'm someone who hides their curve well. 

My forward bend test did not show much of a visual deformity, but the X-rays really showed what was going on. I had an upper curve of 45 degrees and a lower curve of 50 degrees. This meant I would need to wear a brace for 20 hours a day, for several years. I was fitted for a scoliosis brace and started wearing it as soon as I could. 
My parents decided to reach out to Scottish Rite for Children for a second opinion, and January 2017 was the first time I visited my new family at Scottish Rite. Everyone was nice and amazing. At our first visit with Dr. Richards, we explained my medical history leading up to that point, and the Orthotics department looked over my brace. As soon as the orthotist looked at my brace, he suggested that I have a new one made at Scottish Rite. The first step in that process was for me to have a new X-ray in the fancy EOS machine. We were told to go have these images taken, grab a bite to eat, and then we would hear from Orthotics. No sooner had we sat down with our food in the cafeteria, we were called back to the clinic. 

Dr. Richards and a few other people were already in the clinic room, and I could tell something was wrong. He told me that my curve had progressed, and my measurements were at the point of needing surgery. At this point in time, I thought my life was over! All that was important to me was gymnastics. My first doctor told me that if I had surgery, I would not be able to participate in gymnastics. But this was not the case at Scottish Rite. Dr. Richards explained to me everything he would do to save the motion in my spine. He said that following surgery and recovery, I could still do gymnastics, but it might feel a little different. I had my spinal fusion surgery in February 2017 and that is when my new life started. 

Following my surgery, my stay in the hospital was nothing but amazing. All the nurses and doctors were excellent. Of course, the healing process was a long time, but I got right back to everything as soon as I could. Being out of school for six weeks was also pretty fun. 

I was so excited when I was able to go back to gymnastics. Dr. Richards was right, things did feel a little different, but I was able to do everything I could before. It was around that time that I decided to try some other sports and started to play volleyball and basketball and run track. As soon as I found track, I felt like I had found my happiness again! I competed in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, long jump and the triple jump. I felt wonderful and was able to do it all. 

It was around that same time I had my one-year post-op appointment with Dr. Richards. I told him all about the track events I was participating in, and he was amazed at everything I was doing! It felt great to hear that I was medically cleared to continue jumping, throwing my body around, and I was able to keep doing what I loved. 

Prior to my surgery, I thought that athletics was something I would never get to experience. Now, I'm the record holder at my high school for the 100m hurdles, and I've found something that makes me happy!

I have committed to Tarleton State University and plan to compete on the Track & Field Team while studying accounting. 

Scottish Rite allowed my dreams to come true. When I first learned about my scoliosis diagnosis, I thought gymnastics was gone, and I never even thought track was something I would do. With the treatment I received at Scottish Rite, I am now healthy and able to do everything other kids can do. My favorite activities are going to the gym or running at the track. I love to do crafts, crochet, read my Bible and I aspire to become a high school accounting teacher and coach track and field. See ya’ around on the track!



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