The surgery was supposed to be fast, done in a day and out of the hospital in a week.
Maddie Newton had gone into the hospital to correct a problem with the curvature of her spine. The 14-year-old Franklin girl had resisted getting the procedure done, but her mother had assured her it would be for the best and help her avoid back problems down the line.
“We thought that was going to be all we had to worry about,” said Kim Crouch, Maddie’s mother.
But what started as a short surgery has turned into a four-month battle with cancer and partial paralysis. A tumor found during surgery to correct scoliosis was cutting off the nerves to her lower part of her body. Waiting any longer to remove it would have left her completely paralyzed from the waist down.
Surgery to remove the tumor damaged nerves and left Maddie with little use of the legs. The 14-year-old can no longer move her left leg and can’t feel her right.
The situation has been so abrupt, the family hasn’t had time to really dwell on what’s happened. They’re still in a sense of shock.
“I was expecting a week. Scoliosis and then we were out. We weren’t ready for this,” Crouch said.
Doctors tell the family that she’ll be a “high-functioning paraplegic.” She can wiggle her toes on both legs and can raise one leg slightly off the floor.
But they’ve told her she’ll be dependent on a wheelchair and a walker for the rest of her life. Her legs can’t handle her weight.
In their Franklin home, Maddie is still learning how to maneuver around corners, through doorways and in her bedroom.