New surgery helps East Aurora mother with birth defect breathe again

Posted at 12:42 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 12:45:20-05

It's been a long emotional road for one mother of two.

"I'm laughing again and I feel like I'm alive again."

Allison Naussbaumer says she lives for the simple things - listening to her daughter Calloway play the piano or playing the game of life with her family.

Several years ago, Naussbaumer began experiencing debilitating fatigue and shortness of breath.

She was born with a condition called pectus excavatum - a collapsed chest that puts pressure on her lungs and heart. It's widely viewed in the medical world as a cosmetic issue with no health implications.

"It robbed me of everything of life for my family and my kids," said Naussbaumer.

The mother say she visited countless doctors who all concluded her condition was only cosmetic. But, through social media, she found support and began to suspect her birth defect was behind her discomfort.

She says she found thousands just like her and learned about a relatively new surgery that may allow her to take a deep breath again.

"With finding this page, I was finding my answers and I was reading my story."

Several months ago, Naussbaumer had the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. She now has a plate permanently in her chest, pushing her sternum and her ribcage forward. This creates a space for her lungs and heart to function properly.

Now she can enjoy her quality of life, something she thought was gone for good.

She's telling her story in the hopes that other people won't have to suffer like she did for so long.