For most children with scoliosis, the path to recovery is marked by simple observation and bracing. But when one patient battles two curves, her path—and spine—take an unexpected turn.
At 11 years old, it wasn’t normal for Anjellina Guiliano to have back pain. At first, she thought she might have slept on it awkwardly, and shrugged it off. When it continued to hurt for weeks, her mother, Francine, began to rub her daughter’s back with a topical pain reliever each night to make the pain go away.
But as Anjellina took her zombie costume off after trick-or-treating on Halloween, Francine noticed something that she hadn’t seen before: two large bumps—one under her right shoulder and one near her left hip. “I noticed it right away and my eyes filled up instantly,” says Francine. “When I had been rubbing her back, she had always been sitting, but standing up, it looked like she was hiding mini watermelons under her skin.” Panicked, she made a doctor’s appointment for the next day.
At Anjellina’s primary care doctor’s office, it was clear that Anjellina needed specialized care. “I heard the doctor yell to the receptionist, ‘Get Children’s on the phone,’ and it really scared me,” says Francine. …