I was looking for stories to write when a colleague recommended I’d check in on Sarah Bauer, a northwest suburban woman born with
We wrote about Bauer in 2009, just as she was preparing to attend
It turns out, Bauer, 26, will graduate in June and wants to be a pediatrician, perhaps to specialize in helping kids with disabilities. Surgery wasn't for her, she decided. And not too long ago, she shadowed some of her own doctors in the spina bifida clinic, an experience she called exciting but also nerve-wracking.
Through interviews with Bauer, her family and doctors, I learned how spina bifida deteriorated her legs and took away her love of playing sports. At 17, she had undergone multiple major surgeries, sometimes making it difficult to get around or stand for long periods of time. Even today, when observing long surgeries for medical school, she sometimes takes a break and sits because it's too much.
But her disability also pushed her to succeed and gives her insight that doctors may not have when treating their patients. Her doctors say they're amazed she even wants to return to the hospital after everything she's endured.
On March 15, Bauer found out she'll be spending the next three years at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She was shocked, but in a good way.
And I think, at the end of the day, overcoming all those obstacles made the moment that much more sweeter.