Introducing the Face of Tag Days 2018: Carter, Age 4
Carter is a very happy, wild 4-year-old boy who loves swimming, werewolves, dancing to music, and singing the Michigan Fight Song. Before Carter was born, he was diagnosed with myelomeningocele (the most severe form of Spina Bifida), hydrocephalus, and Arnold Chiari II. Carters diagnosis was at his Lumbar area known as his L4-5. This meant that the nerves going to his legs, bowel, and bladder were affected.
After receiving the diagnosis, Carter’s mom underwent many tests to see if they were a candidate for surgery. At just over 23 weeks gestation, Carter became the FIRST child to undergo a type of fetal surgery at CS Mott Children's Hospital with Dr. Cormac Maher, Dr. Marjorie Treadwell, and Dr. Deborah Berman. Although this surgery would not be a cure, as there is no cure for Spina Bifida, it had the potential to improve Carter’s outcomes after birth. The surgery went well and Carter was born a little earlier than expected at 34 weeks via cesarean section on October 10th, 2014. He spent the first few weeks of life in the neonatal ICU being closely monitored. Before being discharged home, Carter’s Arnold Chiari II had reversed, which was huge for his cognitive function. At age 2 months, Carter again required surgery, this time to place a shunt (Desmond) in his brain. As of today, Carters shunt is doing well and has not been replaced!
Fast forward two years later, with a lot of hard work and determination, Carter began walking. As Carter has gotten older his appointments have lessened, from monthly to now only annual appointments with Neurosurgery, Neurology, Urology, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Carter receives physical therapy to strengthen his legs and wears braces to keep his feet sturdy. Carter will be monitored his entire life by these specialty doctors and will need multiple surgeries as he gets older for motor function and maintenance of his shunt. As of now, Carter has only had three surgeries, but his family is prepared for more as he gets older, and we know he will be too.
Carter’s family is grateful to the Maternal Fetal Medicine team and neurosurgeon Dr. Maher who is a constant support system for the family. Carter and his parents are so excited to be part of Tag Day's 92nd year. They are so proud to join Galens in raising funds for wonderful organizations across Washtenaw County that help provide ongoing support and resources to kids like Carter!