Superpowers

Success Stories:

Our daughter was diagnosed with advanced scoliosis by the surprising age of two. By the time we completed all the testing and consulted the recommended experts (about 3 months) her curve had progressed even further, into the range of surgical candidacy. The orthopedic surgeon detailed the surgical option: installing screws into several of her vertebrae and connecting them to steel rods to straighten the spine. Worse yet, the surgery would need to be repeated as she grew and would invariably affect her ultimate height and future health.Thankfully, the orthopedist offered another option: bracing. We had certainly heard of adolescents needing scoliosis braces during growth spurts but never imagined the same treatment for a 2-year-old. The doctor explained that we could try this non-surgical option, but that if our daughter’s curve increased any further we would have no choice but to proceed with surgery. We were referred to Luke Stikeleather.

We met with Luke about a week later and were immediately put at ease. The office staff could not possibly have been nicer and we found Luke warm and engaging from the first moment. He carefully reviewed our daughter’s medical records and conducted several functional tests on our daughter to see how her body (and spine) moved. He then explained the bracing options and his recommendation for treatment.

Luke proceeded to cast our daughter that day for her first brace. A week later we were back for the fitting, during which Luke painstakingly altered her brace until it was perfectly comfortable and exactly matched to her body’s needs. She began wearing the brace 23 hours per day which wasn’t easy at first. Thankfully, Luke put the straps in the BACK so that she couldn’t wrestle it off. (Smart guy!) Luke warned us that she would be wildly frustrated for about a week but that children her age accept things quickly. He was completely right on both counts. After the frustration passed, we began calling it her “armor” and made up stories of all the superpowers it was likely to convey. It became part of her.

We remained compliant with the bracing schedule and eagerly awaited our 6-month follow-up appointment with the orthopedist. We could tell from her posture that the curve was improving. Her (in-brace) X-ray showed a 75% reversal! The doctor even offered the option of reducing her bracing time to 18 hours per day. We could not have been more thrilled.

Within a year, the curve stabilized but remained at a modest level (less than 10 degrees). The next year (as she started pre-K) her bracing time moved from 18 hours per day down to 12, which meant that she didn’t have to wear the brace to school. We returned to see Luke every 6 months or so for adjustments and checkups. He continued to tweak the brace (or make new ones) as she grew and her curve changed slightly over time. By first grade, she was only wearing the brace to sleep at night and her curve was imperceptible without an X-ray.

We feel profoundly lucky to have found our way to Luke. We have zero doubt that his passion and expertise were the reason for our daughter’s cure. From the first moment he examined her, it was clear that he knew exactly what was needed to correct her condition. Then, over a period of 6 years, he continually worked toward further improvement. He did exactly what he set out to do and far-exceeded everyone’s expectations. We can’t possibly thank him enough.

Our daughter realized years ago that neither she nor her “armor” really had super-powers. But we’re pretty sure that Luke just might.

-MARK O’DONNELL