Isabella was born in April 2006 by c-section. She was full term and weighed 8 pounds  4.5 ounces and was 21 inches long. My pregnancy was what I would call a perfect pregnancy. I had no complications and felt great the whole time. There were also no complications with the delivery.

It was at about 12 weeks of age that we noticed something wasn’t right when we had Isabella in a seated position, she seemed to slouch. Whether she was seated on our lap, her car seat or swing, she had this slouch.  She seemed to lean to the side and in her baptismal picture she looked like the letter “S”. We blamed it on her young age. This continued for the next several months. She did visit her pediatrician regularly. We never missed an appointment or went past due on a visit. He didn’t catch it and neither did we. We thought it was something she would outgrow and be able to better support herself when she got older. I still kick myself for not asking any sooner.

At Isabella’s 12 month pediatrician visit (she had already developed a rib hump on her back) I brought up her “slouch” to her doctor. I wasn’t going to wait and see any longer. He immediately said that she had scoliosis and would need to be referred out to a specialist (orthopaedic surgeon) at a local hospital. Little did we know that at that same time of our referral an EDF Mehta trained doctor had just been hired by that local hospital. When we met our doctor, he didn’t even have business cards yet; he was that new. At the end of our visit he wrote on our x-ray sleeve “Heather Hyatt Montoya”.  Isabella was diagnosed at 12 months of age with Idiopathic Progressive Infantile Scoliosis. Her curve was at 51 degrees with severe rotation. The doctor recommended casting and estimated 2-3 years of casting with the worse-case scenario involving surgery at a later point in time.

Isabella has endured over three years of casting. In May 2010, her doctor moved out of state and just like that, California lost it’s only experienced EDF/Mehta trained doctor. We currently travel to Utah for her treatment. We will visit Utah 3 times a year.  Her doctors have been very optimistic and the word “surgery” has not been mentioned since her diagnosis in 2007. We have seen Isabella’s curve and rotation improve drastically. As of September 2010, her curve is at 29 degrees out-of-cast and 19 degrees in-cast.  Remember, she started at 51 degrees with severe rotation. Her progress has always been slow, but steady. I think about the story of the Tortoise and the Hare and its lesson…..slow and steady wins the race. And Isabella will win the race, thanks to Dr. Mehta, EDF trained doctors, and Heather Hyatt Montoya.

Note: Isabella (Izzy) is a happy and otherwise healthy child. She lives life to the fullest and nothing gets in her way, not the cast, and not scoliosis. There are a few no-no’s with casting like no sand and no water but the saying is true, necessity is the mother of invention and we have found ways for her to enjoy the beach and enjoy water play in the summer. She lives a typical life for a 4 year old, but with some life-saving plaster that hugs her torso.


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