Sometimes, a Picture is Worth so Much More than a Thousand Words

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, to us, that picture is worth a million words and one huge thank you. William “Bryce” Staverman was born with most of his cerebellum missing, has cerebral palsy, and a multitude of other medical issues. He lives in Northern Kentucky with his parents and his three wonderful sisters. He does not speak, cannot walk, but understands everything. And we mean everything!

On “Black Friday” 2011, our son was in for a routine upper GI procedure. Our family and his primary care physician had recently noticed some curvature to his back, so after the procedure, Bryce was able to have x-rays taken of his spine. When his primary care physician called first thing Monday morning, we knew it wasn’t good. He told us we needed to get in with an orthopaedic surgeon. We called and made the first appointment we could, which was in early December. We met with Dr. Jain and his staff. Wow. They were amazing and concise with the treatment options available. Given the severity of his scoliosis (65 degree curvature of his spine), we were told we could wait a year to see how it progresses or go ahead with the spinal fusion. We opted to go ahead. The first available operating date was February 23.

Maureen Grady is the “spine nurse.” She was incredibly informative in every step of the procedure and she had great care and compassion — not only for Bryce, but for our entire family. Because Bryce is a “special needs child,” she made sure the Adaptive Care Team was available to meet his needs — mostly anxiety-related, as well as physical. For our first of ten appointments in February prior to the procedure, someone from the Adaptive Care Team was waiting for us when we arrived — complete with an iPad of entertainment for Bryce. She showed us to every single appointment and answered any question we had. We were beyond impressed.

When February 23rd arrived, I knew we were as prepared as we could be for the 10+ hour surgery. We were updated regularly, prayed a lot, and when we saw Bryce for the first time in ICU, we almost cried. Although he was very well sedated, he was able to ask for his iPad and even managed to play with the bed controls endlessly. By the next morning, Bryce was sitting up in bed. Straight. Very straight. Dr. Jain was able to correct the curvature 100%. Five days later, he was home. And any time I called with a concern, Maureen was able to ease our fears and provide whatever assistance we needed.

The before and after photo tells the whole story.

The look on his face in the post-op photo is our favorite, ever. No one asks for a child with special needs, yet maybe they should. Because what you receive is a blessing — a child without a care in the world, one that gives unconditional love.

If you have never been to Cincinnati Children’s, you are one of the lucky ones. But those of us who have, we’re one of the lucky ones as well. It is an amazing place with the best nurses, the best doctors, and the best staff. And for us, it’s right in our backyard.

Kris Staverman

About the Author: Kris Staverman

Kris is a mother of four kids, ranging in age from 13 to 21, who loves advocating for her special needs son and other special kids who need voices. Kris and her family live in Northern Kentucky where she works part-time at both St. Henry Church and Thomas More College.

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  1. Colleen Meurer Mallari November 14, 20:32
    Kris, you are an amazing woman and have such a positive outlook. Bryce is luck to have you as a mother as our the other three. And I am honored to call you my longtime friend. God bless you and yours, Colleen
  2. Eileen Delaney November 15, 00:08
    Kris, I've followed you on Facebook for the last several years, but reading the information you shared about your son and his issues, and Children's Hospital is very heartwarming. May you continue to be blessed with people who care about your son, you, and your family. And, know that many other people will continue to keep you in their prayers. I will be one of those people. The family picture on the web-site is a great picture of a beautiful family! Thank you for sharing. Eileen Delaney
  3. M.J. Stallings November 15, 23:49
    Kris, what a beautiful story you have shared, thank you! Love the picture of your family! You're right... you are so blessed. You have an angel in your midst. And as much as you take care of Bryce he also, in his own way, takes care of you, especially spiritually. And you're right; Cincinnati Children's is a special place.
  4. Tracey Weckenbrock Gerstner December 10, 20:08
    Kristi, I love reading your article, thanks for sharing. You have always been a special person, may God continue to bless you and your famliy.
  5. Julie Eckstein December 17, 00:17
    Kris, My son Trevin is 3 and has special needs also, he too has scoliosis and went thru his first of many surgeries this year in June, and another just 2 Weeks ago. Maureen is our spine nurse also, Dr. Sturm is our surgeon, they are both amazing! Glad to see things went well for your son, we are truly blessed to have Cincy Childrens Hospital so close to home!