As told by Lauren herself…
I was in 6th grade, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. At the time, my curve was only about 32 degrees. A few years went by and I could see the curve in my spine was getting worse, but I did not want to face the fact that I most likely needed surgery. The first specialist I saw did not establish a good relationship with me or my parents and they also gave us, what we later found out, was some bad advice. Because of that bad experience, we didn’t pursue treatment right away but instead waited to see how my scoliosis would progress. However, my curve was progressively worsening over time. Then, at the beginning of my 9th-grade year, I got pneumonia and my lungs had a harder time draining because of complications tied to scoliosis. My pediatrician referred me to Dr. Greg White at Phoenix Children's Hospital. The first time I went to see Dr. White, I was so nervous, but he immediately calmed my fears and made my mom and I feel very comfortable. After my first appointment, my mom called and scheduled my surgery for the soonest I could have it done. We scheduled this so quickly after meeting Dr. White because we could tell he was very confident in his work and we felt very comfortable with him as my doctor.
The day of surgery finally arrived. While I was very nervous, my excitement was overflowing. My curve had progressed to where it was 92 degrees. I could not wait to see my new body and be able to wear normal clothes without my curve showing. Once I arrived at the hospital, I had IVs put in and the staff prepared me for surgery. Before I knew it, I was taken into the operating room. Within what seemed like minutes (even though it had been six hours) I was done with my surgery and in the recovery room. My parents said all I could keep saying was, “I can’t believe it is already over.”
When I was moved to my room, my whole family was there waiting for me. For the five days I was at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the nurses and doctors were all so incredibly kind and caring. Everything was as perfect as it could be. All my nurses and physical therapists were very encouraging and positive. They always made me feel better - especially when I was in pain. The attitude of the nurses and staff always brightened my day when they would come into my room. Dr. White and his team did such an amazing job and took such good care of me after my surgery.
The first time I saw my body I was speechless. It was so incredible that Dr. White could make my body look normal. I finally had a waist and flat back like everyone else! I am almost 3 inches taller after the surgery.
Today, several months since my surgery, my scar looks incredible, and to me, it is a symbol of such an important life-changing story. My life is forever changed for the better because of Phoenix Children's Hospital and their amazing doctors, nurses and staff. I will never be able to thank any of them enough. My gratitude is endless for everyone who took part in my diagnosis, surgery and who contributed to my aftercare.
For information about our Comprehensive Pediatric Spine Program, call 602-933-3033 or 602-933-0975.