Life With Pseudarthrosis

Carson Bartelt

Beep! Beep! Beep! Suddenly you’re jolted awake by the annoying sound of your alarm. As you roll over to turn off the alarm you see the time, it’s six o’clock on a Monday morning, time for school. You sit up, trying your best to resist the warmth of your bed. As you’re about to step out of bed you realize you forgot something. You lean over to the edge of your bed, grab, and put on your prosthetic leg. This is something that senior Caelan Hunter deals with every day.

Hunter was born with a deformity in his right leg. Hunter has a rare case of tibial pseudarthrosis. Tibial pseudarthrosis occurs when a fracture in the tibia doesn’t heal correctly. In Hunter’s case this happened in the womb, as he was born with this deformity. However, Hunter’s leg has never held him back from participating in school, activities, or hobbies.

Hunter has lived on the north side of Mount Vernon and gone to school here his entire life. Very early on in his life he joined the orchestra and has always loved to be involved. He was given his first violin in third grade and has played that same instrument for the Mount Vernon orchestra ever since. 

Hunter has also always had an interest in building things and architecture from a very young age. As a kid, his hobbies were to play Minecraft, Roblox, and just build things all the time. “I like Minecraft because you can build anything you want without any limits because the world is infinite. It helps me because it expands my brain activity to put things together,” said Hunter. Hunter’s goal is to become an architect one day and study civil engineering at Iowa State University. His leg has never held him back or affected this passion and dream even though there have been some tough times.

Slowly over time, Hunter’s leg condition grew worse. The pain was the main thing that gradually became worse. Some days it was so bad that Hunter was unable to walk. “When I was in a lot of pain, every day was the couch pretty much because I physically could not walk around,” Hunter said. So after thirteen years and two surgeries on his foot, Hunter decided to get his right leg amputated. Hunter did have other options like putting metal rods in his leg, however this would not have guaranteed a fix. Hunter was also already limping and off balance because his legs weren’t the same length. Because of this, he decided to get his leg amputated and this decision has changed Hunter’s life forever.

Life overall has improved for Hunter and has become much less painful since the amputation. While Hunter was in a lot of pain, he wasn’t able to do much and struggled with day to day activities. Nowadays Hunter is able to run, drive, have a job, and overall live a better life. There are still some present day challenges that his leg presents to him like making showering, driving, and swimming difficult, but none of these challenges can get in Hunter’s way. 

Hunter is on a mission to live his life the way he wants to. He also wants to share his story with the world to inspire others that live a similar life. “Even beyond the school newspaper I want to get my story further out there, and I’m thinking next year at the Iowa State fair; I want to make some kind of poster board with my story so other people can look at it and be inspired,” said Hunter. Hunter’s story just goes to show that you should never let anything hold you back.