Noelle was diagnosed with Dysplastic spondylolisthesis at the age of 5. (Dysplastic spondylolisthesis is a rare congenital spondylolisthesis occurring because of a malformation of the lumbosacral junction resulting in small, incompetent facet joints.) I know that's a lot of medical lingo. Basically, Noelle 4th Lumbar is slipped and twisted over the 5th squeezing the spinal cord. Certain movements or falls could cause paralysis. Noelle was placed in a rigid back brace for 3 years. During those 3 years, she couldn't play outside, participate in physical education, recess or even ride a bike. It was a very difficult time but she remained consistently positive. She found ways to keep herself busy with sewing, piano and reading. Last summer her doctor said that although her condition remained, it had stabilized to a degree where she would be able to do some physical activity and slowly wean from the brace. In October, Noelle began swimming and loved every moment of it. In January, she joined a swim team and recently had her first swim meet! She is slowly regaining strength and muscle and thriving in the pool.
Noelle Gregoire in her first rigid back brace at age 5. She wore a brace 24 hours a day for 3 years. In the summer of 2013, she was weaned off the brace. Although her condition remains, she is stable enough to not need it every day.
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