Monday, February 17, 2014

Scoliosis- The Eastern Oregon Shriner's Princess

Recently, I have found out that my niece Mackenzie was named this years Eastern Oregon Shriner's Princess. Words can not describe how happy I am for her because this has been a long, tiring, and hurtful process for her. I don't remember exactly when Mackenzie was diagnosed with Scoliosis at the age of 7. From that time on she wore a brace nightly to help correct the curvature in her spine. As she grew up, the curvature began to get worse. She was required to wear the brace for the majority of the day and in school. However, for a young person this was hard to do and very uncomfortable to sit in a school chair. By the time Mackenzie turned 13 the brace was no longer correcting the curvature, and it became about a 51 degree curve. Shriner's had held out as long as they could without doing surgery. The importance of waiting this long was to allow the patient to grow because once they fused the spine together the could no longer grow. When Mackenzie went in for surgery the degree had worsened to 70, she an 13 year old with a birthday in less than 19 days away. In scoliosis surgery, surgeons attach tiny metal hooks or screws to the spine and connect those hooks or screws to small rods to straighten the spinal curve. Mackenzie underwent this surgery in which they had to fuse together 12 vertebrae's put in two rods and 21 screws. The surgery lasted what felt like forever, and was just the beginning of a long healing process. As Mackenzie stayed at Shriner's, I saw the worst and the best of her. She is the sweetest and quietest girl I have ever met. To see her in that kind of pain with nurses who didn't fulfill their duties was heartbreaking to watch. Not to mention Shriner's is a 5 and half hour drive from home. Mackenzie missed out on many activities as a freshman including volleyball and basketball, and going to the lake during the summer. Basically any activity that was considered "rough". As the healing process continued sure the scar was healing but there was a lot of pain she faced from just sitting that I couldn't imagine. Mackenzie currently is getting ready for her second season at the varsity level softball, this is her sport. However, many days she will come home hurting or upset that she had to sit out at practice because swinging a bat caused her pain. She has never been one to let her team down and she has a hard time listening to her body say that is enough. Although it has been a year and a half since her surgery she will feel the effects for a life time. I can not imagine being in her shoes. Anyways, Mackenzie isn't just a niece to me, she is one of my best friends someone I can tell absolutely anything to (and she will usually laugh and look at me like I'm a Joke). She is motivated and talented, she excels in everything she does and works so hard for what she has. To hear that she has been given the honor to represent Shriner's makes me have goosebumps, this is something she is truly deserving of and she will be a great representative of all the kids who go through Shriner's. I am very excited to see her wear a crown through the many parades she will be apart of. I am soooo lucky to have such an amazing niece who has gone through so much, and who has taught me a lot about life. She may only be 15 but she is the strongest girl I have met that still has a positive outlook on life. Below are the before and after pictures


  1. This is soooo awesome! What an honor given to such a deserving girl! :) She is definitely an inspiration and I hope she has a great softball season!

  2. That is so great, Trish! I'm happy for her :) I remember you telling me about her and she totally deserves this!

  3. Thank you for sharing! Your niece is such an inspiration I have been facing my own health conditions and your niece gives me hope. Thank you so much for sharing this was the inspiration I have been needing in a difficult week with my health conditions. Thank you!!