REAL LIFE

Her baby girl has to spend 23 HOURS a day in a back brace

She's made incredible progress.
Ruth Mathews

Ruth Mathews, 40, Aberfoyle Park, SA

‘And the winner is… Lexi!’

My eight-year-old daughter beamed as she walked up to take her prize as a Little Prom Princess while we were on holiday in the US. My husband Stewart, 40, and I were so proud of her – it proved 
to us how far she’s come.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at Lexi, but she’s battled pain and discomfort since soon after her birth when she was diagnosed with acute infantile idiopathic scoliosis.

 ‘As Lexi starts walking, gravity will make the curve worse,’ the doctor said. ‘But we’ll have to 
wait until her spine stops growing, when she’s 10 or older, before we can straighten it with metal rods.’ 

In the meantime, Lexi would need to wear a backbrace 23 hours a day.

Lexi getting plastered
Lexi being fitted with a cast on her torso. (Credit: Ruth Mathews)

Since she was two, our girl 
has worn a full plastic brace, but she doesn’t let it get in her way!

Still, it’s far from pleasant. Lexi suffers from sores where the brace rubs, and she 
can easily overheat. She is only free from the brace when she takes her shower, but 
she still has a smile on her face.

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When she eventually has her operation, she’ll need six months off school to recover. So we planned our holiday to give her some fun memories before the op. Using generous support from well-wishers and our savings, we jetted off to the US last September.

While Lexi still has a long journey ahead of her, I know she’ll take it all in her stride. She might have a brace, but nothing is holding her back!

Scoliosis

  • Scoliosis is a medical condition where the spine is curved. It can look like a C or S shape in X-rays taken from behind.
  • The effects of scoliosis depend on the severity of the curve and at what age it first appears.
  • For children, treatment can include wearing a cast or brace to keep the child’s back straight as they grow. Once the spine is fully grown, a metal rod can be inserted to keep it straight throughout adulthood.

Originally published in that’s life! Issue 8, 2016.

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