New City teen with rare spine deformity stays positive in face of challenges

It started with a simple scoliosis diagnosis in eighth grade found during a routine check most kids get during gym class. But then things quickly escalated for Joe Pisetzner.

News 12 Staff

Aug 1, 2021, 3:57 PM

Updated 1,088 days ago


A New City teen who is facing a rare spine deformity has been staying positive despite the challenges he faces.
It started with a scoliosis diagnosis when Joe Pisetzner was in eighth grade during a routine check most students get during gym class.
"My neck was progressively falling forward and just more forward," he explained.
After two years, Pisetzner, 17, got his first spinal fusion surgery. Then after another diagnosis, he underwent a second spinal surgery in summer 2020. Pisetzner says the situation then got progressively worse.
In June, he got a halo that is held in his skull by four pins and helps to keep his neck propped up. But the halo also forces him to be attached to a chord for about 20 hours a day.
"And basically, all I do is I pull on this string, and I watch as my head goes up," Pisetzner said, as he demonstrated the procedure.
"He wants to do the everyday normal teenage things, and he's missed out unfortunately on a lot of things," says his mother, Carolyn Pisetzner.
He will undergo what he hopes to be his final surgery this month, which will consist of a neck fusion operation that will take his halo off.
"I've been faced with many challenges, but I've been able to overcome them the best I can, staying as positive as I can," Pisetzner says.
His mother and father, Jeff Pisetzner, also hope that he can live a normal life after the surgery that that he's able to go for a long walk without any pain.
As he goes into his senior year of high school, he's taking every curveball by trying to be an example to fellow teens and anyone else that they too can overcome any adversity.

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