It has given me so much confidence in every aspect of my life.
“I thought I would always have a crooked back, but if you look at me head on now, you would never know I have scoliosis!” – Beth Howard
Growing up with scoliosis, Beth Howard had become used to the constant pain associated with her chronic condition. However, as she got older, completing daily activities was becoming harder and harder. “I have always pushed myself really hard, but I was really slowing down,” explains Beth.
One day, a friend with a similar condition told Beth about Dr. Michael Kasten at Bronson HealthCare Midwest Spine & Scoliosis Specialists. At her first appointment, Beth learned from Dr. Kasten just how severe her scoliosis had become. “He showed me the X-rays of my back. My spine was shaped in a complete ‘S’ and was squishing my organs.” Dr. Kasten suggested that Beth have immediate surgery to correct the curvature of her spine.
Beth was hesitant at first. “I was afraid of what surgery would be like. I just wanted to put it off as long as possible,” she says. But six months after her appointment, Beth realized she needed to go through with surgery. “I was having a hard time breathing and couldn’t hold anything or stand on my feet for too long without being in terrible pain.”
The surgery was done in two stages. First, temporary rods were inserted along the spine so Beth’s muscles could get used to the new shape. Five days later, Dr. Kastenand his team replaced the temporary rods with stronger, permanent ones.
Following such an extensive procedure, Beth needed to take her recovery slowly. “The physical therapist had me up and walking around my corridor almost immediately, but only for short periods of time,” says Beth. “It took about four months before I felt like I really wanted to move around.”
About a year later, a routine visit revealed a broken rod, so Dr. Kasten performed another surgery to make the repair. “Dr. Kasten is wonderful,” Beth says. “Throughout the entire process, he was always so nice to me and my family. He would answer all of our questions. When he came in the room, I always felt like I was his only patient.”
Because Beth has a chronic condition, she will never be completely pain free, but thanks to Dr. Kasten she now feels better than ever. Beth has already recommendedDr. Kasten to three people. “The people I referred have seen me walking around and can tell how successful my outcome has been,” says Beth. “I have more energy and I can stand for longer periods of time. Plus, I grew four inches immediately following my first surgery,” explains Beth. “My family and I used to always joke about how short I was. But after my surgery, I feel like I am the same height as everyone else. It has given me so much confidence in every aspect of my life.”