'Human tortoise' girl comes out of her plastic shell after 12 YEARS


The Daily Mail report about a 14 year old girl, Megan Parker, 14, who was diagnosed with hemi-vertebrae and curvature of the spine at just six weeks old and had to have over 40 operations to correct her twisted back!!!!

She was forced to permanently wear a specially-made body shell to correct her posture and keep her neck upright.

Every time she grew medics were forced to open up her back again to stretch the titanium rods screwed into her to keep her spine straight.

But after a lifetime spent in her shell she has finally broken free after racing to recovery - and has even taken up go-karting.

Nowadays Meg, who wants to be a singer, can be spotted zooming around her local track - a far cry from the pace suggested by her old nickname.

Megan, who lives in Colchester with full-time mum Tina, 39, and specialist car mechanic dad Robert, 43, said being without the cast had totally changed her life.

She said: 'There is so much that I want to do now, but I have to take things steady because it's still early days.

'It has completely opened up the world to me being without the shell. I could never wear girly clothes before because the cast was so big and now I can because I don't feel people are staring at me anymore.

'Until a few months ago I had never had my hair cut at a salon because I could never bend my head over the sinks.

'I do feel like there is a part of me missing without the cast. It feels a bit strange my outer shell not being there because it has been a part of me since I was very little.

'I sometimes get upset when I think about everything I have been through. But when I look where I am now it just shows why you should never give up hope.'

When Megan was born on May 5, 1995, in Colchester Maternity Hospital by emergency Caesarean because she had heart problems.

But there was no clue that there was anything else amiss until she came out and doctors noticed there was something wrong with her neck.

Scans taken at six weeks revealed her curved spine, a condition called scoliosis, so she was scheduled for the first of many operations in November that year at Great Ormond Street.



It was then her parents were told if the surgery had not been done her internal organs would have been crushed by her back curving and she could have died by the age of five. (I have been across many forums on the internet with many folk who claim that Scoliosis cannot do this to a person, well how wrong they are!!!!)

During the procedure medics removed a rib and used pieces of it to fuse into and straighten her spine.

It was then the 4lb plaster body shell that would house her body was fitted onto her.
Over the next eight years it would be taken off on 24 occasions, each time only ever in Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Middlesex when she was put on a traction table and stretched.

Once the procedure was over she would be put back into a new plaster shell and let to go home.

At the age of eight Megan was fitted with two titanium rods running from four inches up her spine to the top her neck.

She was also fitted with a new smaller body brace and had to have a further 12 ops to extend the rods as she grew in height.

But after an operation on May 13, 2008, she had her spine fused and given permanent rods.

And just six months ago medics gave her the news she had been waiting for her whole life - she did not have to wear a shell again.

The body cast meant Megan never crawled as a baby, having to get about by shuffling around on her bottom until she grew older, when she had to be pushed in a buggy.

At the age of seven she was given a wheelchair which she had to rely on to get around until she had the cast removed, now she only has to occasionally use it.

But her heavy shell meant she had never been able to enjoy a summer until this year.
The plaster made it too hot to go outside and she had to be careful never to get the cast wet.

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital clinical nurse specialist Susan Lister has treated Megan since she was a baby.

She said the teenager and her family had to be credited with battling against the odds.

She said: 'While scoliosis is not that unusual, the severity of Megan's condition was. If she hadn't have had all the surgeries her respiratory system would have deteriorated and her stomach would have suffered too.

'She could have died early because her lungs would have been compressed so much.

'Megan has recovered better than expected and its her fortitude and courage that have seen her through some hard times.

'She has had wonderful support from her parents and coupled with her bravery it has got her through - a lot of people would have given up.

'She will have tobe monitored quite closely, but we hope that the worst is behind her now.

'A lot of her recovery is simply down to Megan and the biggest credit should go to her and her family.'

Mum Tina said the transformation had been nothing short of miraculous. She said the doctors who had treated her had given her a chance to live a normal life again.

She said: 'She is my miracle girl, she's been through so much and we're delighted she is now out of her shell.

'The surgeons have been incredible and have transformed her life - their work has made sure she can play with her friends and do sport she has always wanted to.

'Driving a go kart was one of the first things she had wanted to do and it brought tears to our eyes when she finally did it.

'I feel like my little girl has finally come out of her shell - in both ways.

'She is still frightened a bit of being knocked and bumped but she is gaining confidence every day, she is like a different person now.'

Popular posts from this blog

Scoliosis and Periods - oh the pain!

Scoliosis and Memory Foam Mattresses

Scoliosis and Clothes Shopping