Mum Angela Buckley thought her teenage daughter had ‘growing pains’ that were causing her to have aches in her stomach and legs – but she actually had a twisted spine.
Angela’s 12-year-old daughter Olivia began to experience pains in her abdomen and legs last year, but she chalked it off to puberty pains.
But one night in May this year, the schoolgirl complained of a spot on her back and her mum decided to check it, reports CheshireLive.
It was then she noticed that Olivia had ‘curve’ towards the bottom of her back.
The schoolgirl had fallen down the stairs the week before but told her mum she had fallen on her bottom.
However, now noticing the curve in Olivia’s back and the pain she was experiencing, Angela decided to take her daughter to A&E.
Angela, from Crewe, said: “In August last year she started complaining that her legs hurt and I said OK well you’ve grown loads it is probably growing pains.
“She literally shot up last year. So I rubbed her legs like you do for cramp and stuff.
“One night she had come to me and said she had a spot on her back and so I lifted her shirt to check it.
“When I lifted her shirt up I saw this curve at the bottom of her back and I said ‘is that curved?’
“I didn’t want to alarm her but I said ‘you’re going to have to stand up, I think you have a curve at then back’.
“But she had fallen down the stairs a couple of weeks before, only half way down, and she said to me then ‘I have just fallen down the stairs’ and I said ‘you alright?’
“I asked what she had fallen on and she said her bum, so I said ‘you will be fine then’.
“But then I saw the curve and thought ‘oh my gosh’.
“So I phoned the GP and that was the Friday and they said they could get her in Monday, so I thought I am not waiting.
“So we went up to A&E.”
Angela said Olivia had had health issues in the past such as tummy aches, reflux and at one point was diagnosed with stomach ulcers, however was only ever treated for sensory processing issues and anxiety.
On Boxing Day in 2016, Olivia told her mum that she couldn’t breath and was rushed to hospital for an x-ray on her chest.
However, Angela said she was told by doctors that there was no problem with Olivia’s chest or breathing.
But according to Angela, while in A&E after Olivia’s fall down the stairs, doctors pulled up the x-ray from 2016 and said she did have a curve on the spine and that they thought she had scoliosis.
Angela said knowing the strain the NHS was under during the pandemic, the family decided to go private.
It was then Olivia and Angela were told by doctors how severe the 12-year-old’s scoliosis was.
What they thought was Olivia’s shoulder blade being prominent due to her being very thin, was actually her rib cage twisting inside her body.
Angela said: “They pulled me back in after the x-ray and when I looked I said ‘is that hers?’.
“I did swear and Olivia said ‘well that is a little bit more wonky then we thought’.
“Her chest had a massive curve in it and then they explained what we thought was the shoulder blade is her rib cage twisting.
“Since last year the rib cage is coming out more and more at the back then the front.”
Medics advised the family that more than a 25 degree curve is mild, 25 to 40 is moderate, 40 plus is severe and 85 to 90 plus is life threatening.
Olivia’s curves are 59 in her chest and 41 in her lumbar.
Angela was told by medics that Olivia’s only option in the UK was to have her whole spine fused which would reduce her flexibility.
Mum Angela said this would hinder Olivia’s love of singing, dancing and drama, which she wants to do in the future.
Angela added that due to her daughter’s sensory processing issues, this would also be a huge struggle for her daughter.
Olivia is currently finding it very hard to sit and have anything touch her back, but Angela said she is ‘still smiling’ and will be going for an emergency MRI.
Angela said: “She’s great in the day, she is dealing with it in humour.
“Sometimes when she goes up and down the stairs she is breathless and when we walk round the shops, she loves Hobbycraft, and we walked round there and after 10 minutes she asked if we could go home.
“When she goes to school she refuses to have any aides or help because she doesn’t want any help, so she is just shattered when she gets home.”
After researching for alternative treatments, Angela found an operation called vertebral body tethering, which maintains flexibility and people are able to live an unrestricted life. However, this treatment is not available on the NHS.
Angela found a consultant in Turkey who said Olivia is a candidate for the treatment, but because she has nearly reached full growth time is not on her side and the family was told that medics would need to carry out the operation as soon as possible.
The mum now needs to raise the funds for the life-changing treatment and has set up a JustGiving page to do so.
Angela said she has had an ‘amazing response’ from the community and wanted to thank everyone.
She said Northwich Victoria football club have been ‘unbelievable’ and have not only made individual donations, but the players have also pledged their first weeks wages to Olivia.
To donate to OIivia’s JustGiving page, please click here.