My Gillette Story by Shelley Potter
Alivia is a happy 4-year-old who is spunky and determined. Livie loves and responds to all types of music. She hears a song one day and will be singing it the next. She recently has been plucking out songs on the keyboard by ear. Livie really enjoys her iPad, her early childhood class, and her grandparents. We are so proud of all the obstacles she had faced and conquered. She shows true courage and determination.
Livie was born with many congenital anomalies. She has hydrocephalus, absent radius bones on both arms, scoliosis, cleft lip and palate, and mild kidney issues. Livie and her twin brother were born at a local children's hospital where she was admitted into the NICU. I was so impressed at how many doctors were coming in to see my Livie; doctors from Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare were already coming to assess her and talk about follow up plans. I remember being so thankful for their knowledge and their ability to help my daughter.
When Livie was just two days old, Dr. Michael Partington placed a VP shunt to treat her hydrocephalus. I remember looking to him with concern and he said to me, "It will be okay mom, I will take care of her, don't worry." He was right—and from then on, I have trusted him completely with my little girl. Dr. Ann Van Heest has also seen Livie since she was born. She has performed multiple surgeries on her hands and arms to help her establish full function. She truly has Livie's best interest at heart. Dr. John Lonstein and most recently Dr. Tenner Guillaume have been wonderful in directing care for her scoliosis. Dr. Guillaume was very sincere and encouraging to a broken down mama at our last appointment. It means so much when our team at Gillette not only supports the patient, but also the whole family.
Gillette’s Assistive Technology department has been wonderful. Livie dislikes going in there but we know that ultimately, all of her bracing and adjusting will improve her quality of life. She has also had a CranioCap, multiple wrist/hand braces, and currently has a back brace for her scoliosis. She has had many X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Gillette’s imaging department is absolutely amazing!
We look forward to coming to Gillette not only because of the incredible staff, but also for the amazing volunteers and activities they have available for the kids. We love to see what the craft of the day will be. It takes Livie's mind off of her appointments and focuses it on something fun and interactive. Livie's brothers also enjoy the many actives available while waiting for their “sissy” to finish her appointments. As a mother of a special needs child, I can't begin to explain how wonderful it is to have such an amazing hospital and clinic so close to home. We’ve been blessed with knowledgeable doctors and specialists to help our little Alivia thrive, and for that we say thank you Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare!