Norco family gives back after daughter’s 7-hour scoliosis surgery

13-year-old needed several pints of blood, so family hosts blood drive

After undergoing a seven-hour surgery to correct a severe case of scoliosis, 13-year-old Lora Leigh Luquet and her family are giving back to the community by sponsoring a blood drive on Friday at Harry Hurst Middle School.

When Luquet was 11, her pediatrician noticed that her posture was off and could tell that there was a curve in Luquet’s spine. After taking a closer look, an orthopedist found that the curvature of Luquet’s spine was 30 degrees, which meant that she had a significant case of scoliosis.

Luquet wore a hard plastic brace for a year, but when she hit a growth spurt her spine’s curvature jumped to 40 degrees. Any curvature approaching 50 degrees needs immediate correction through surgery. By the time Luquet was 13, her curvature was at 48 degrees.

Her mother, Lori Lyons, said even though Luquet was never in pain, surgery was needed to prevent major health problems in the future.

“If her spine kept growing it could compromise her lungs and squish her organs,” Lyons said.

Still, Lyons said she and her husband, Marty, were hesitant.

“It didn’t affect her life at all so I asked about alternatives,” Lyons said. “This was a major surgery and I knew that she would have this horrible scar and be in horrible pain after the surgery. I knew the recovery was going to be brutal.”

However, the family also knew deep down that surgery was the best option. On July 3, Luquet underwent the spinal fusion procedure, which lasted for more than seven hours.

After the surgery, Luquet remained in the hospital for the next six days.

“She had to turn from side to side every 15 minutes, had a morphine pump and couldn’t eat for days because of nausea,” Lyons said. “She tolerated everything well. Everybody was amazed at how well she did.”

Once home, Luquet had to meet with a physical therapist. Eventually she was able to walk on her own, though she suffered extreme pain in her ribs because the curvature of her spine was reduced from 48 degrees to 12 degrees. Luquet also grew about three inches during her surgery once her spine was straightened.

On the tenth day after her surgery, Luquet began singing the lyrics to “Titanium.” According to the popular song, “You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium.”

“That’s when we knew she was feeling pretty good,” Lyons said.

Luquet was able to start school on time, though she still can’t pick up anything heavy and is currently unable to do things that came naturally to her before the operation.

“She has a rolling backpack, she can’t sit on the floor or jog and she can’t bend down and pick things up,” Lyons said. “But she is doing a lot better and is figuring things out.”

While Luquet was in the hospital, she needed several pints of someone else’s blood despite the fact that her own blood was getting recycled through an IV. Because of how important that donor blood was, Luquet and her family will host a blood drive on Friday from noon until 3:30 p.m. at Harry Hurst.

All donors will receive a breast cancer awareness shirt emblazoned with the Saints’ logo.

“We are trying to give back because we are very blessed and very lucky,” Lyons said.


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