Noah is a 13 year old boy who has hypermobile joints and injuryed his finger terribly in the summer of 2018 and Dr. Scott Wolfe got him back his finger mobility with a closed reduction and it was amazing. We didn't want to have to return to HSS for anymore surgeries!! Noah's feet became progressively deformed and painful. He required extensive bilateral foot reconstruction; about 4 hours each with bone grafting. He didn't walk from June 2019 until the time of his second surgery (Sept 24, 2019), after which he only started walking in November 2019. He is an amazing young man - not just because I am his mother.
Anyway this is his story:
My name is Noah Fischman. I am 13 years old. I have one favorite activity, and that is to play basketball. I’ve played on teams since first grade and my summers at sleepaway camp are spent mostly on the court since I have been 8 years old.
I fracture my finger in the summer of 2018 and my parents brought me home and I was operated on my Dr. Scott Wolfe. I have full motion in my pinky - I wouldn’t have had it otherwise. I got right back on the court and I thought that was my story and HSS had gotten me Back in the Game.
I continued to play and as I grew taller, I noticed my feet hurt after basketball games. My back and hips hurt too. I thought maybe that was normal for there to be pain after running. The pain became progressively worse and by June of 2019 I was unable to walk due to the severity of the pain.
I was diagnosed with a “collapsed foot”. The bones of my feet had shifted and needed to be put back together. After many consultations it was advised that I needed a bilateral foot reconstruction. I was terrified. I learned a lot of big fancy surgical terms like “medial calcaneal osteotomy”, "lateral column lengthening”, and that I had two extra bones in my feet that were making things worse - those were called my accessory navicular bones. I was so scared. I thought I would never be able to play basketball again. I was going to need to relearn how to walk. I didn’t know what my “new feet” would be like. I tried to think of life without basketball and what I would do instead.
I don’t know how to thank my surgeon, Dr. Martin O’Malley. Dr. O’ Malley was so positive from the start, and he guaranteed to me I’d be back and could be better than ever. My parents suggested that the NBA wasn’t in my future which I knew already - he told me never sell myself short.
My first surgery was July 9, 2019. It was about 4 hours and my recovery was 6 months. I stayed home that summer. My second surgery was Sept 24, 2019. I didn’t believe I could ever play basketball again when I couldn’t even get around without a walker. Rehab was slow and challenging, there were times I wanted to give up. At each follow up appointment with Dr. O'Malley he told me things are moving along as planned. I took strength from that. My physical therapist (David Goldman) pushed hard. There was a couple of months where I had a brace on one leg and a cast on the other. My 8th grade coach insisted I come to games no matter what and I was still an integral member of the team. My friends, teachers, coaches and family supported me, and my school set up a rotation for some of the moms to drive my friends to come hang out with me during lunch hour.
Let’s skip to the end now. I just played with my team for the first time on Feb 6, 2020. The whole gym gave me a standing ovation and my friends were cheering. I played well and I scored! I was better than I was pre-surgery and didn’t have foot pain anymore. I played again this past Sunday (Feb 23), and I played well. I helped bring my 8th grade team on towards the final playoffs, and I hope a championship for my school.
Dr. O’Malley and the HSS team – I am forever grateful to you! I didn’t believe it but I’m Back in the Game!