Waiting for Monday: Camlachie teen waits to see results of unusual surgery


Colton Bidner can’t wait for Monday.

After six months of wearing a metal cage on his right arm, the LCCVI student from the Camlachie area will finally be free of his metal.

Colton’s mother, Michelle, says the 13 year-old was born with one bone in his arm shorter than the other. That caused his hand to turn in making it difficult for Colton to do many of the tasks others do without thinking.

So, the family sought out medical help and found Dr. Pavey, who was at the time working on the US East coast. He was one of the few doing a procedure which would lengthen the bones.

So at the age of one, Colton had the Ilirarov Taylor Spatial Frame – also known as the Fixinator – attached to his tiny arm with 10 rods and 4 pins. Each day, his family would turn the pins ever so slightly to lengthen separate the bone so it would grow together again. Michelle admits it was difficult to do at first. “I can’t think about it. I have a weak stomach at the best of times, I have to keep thinking ‘it’s mechanics – it’s mechanics.”

After the first surgery at one, Colton had another at seven and then again in January at the age of 13.

“Because he was still growing we have to give him time to grow so it has been a long and painful process,” says Michelle Bidner. Between the ages of seven and now, Colton has been more active than most kids, getting involved in every sport you can think of including football and hockey, adapting his play to his turned right hand.

“Nothing has ever stopped him,” says Bidner. “There is just nothing he doesn’t try to do.”

The final stage of the procedure had to be done when Colton was still growing, says Bidner. “We wanted to do it before he started high school.” Colton enters Grade 9 at LCCVI this September so in January the family went to the US for the Fixinator to be attached.

Over the past six months, Colton says he’s answered a lot of questions about the eight pounds of metal surrounding his right arm including the obvious one ‘does it hurt?’

“I’m doing pretty good,” says Colton “It’s not hurting.”

In fact, the teen has barely slowed down. He loves skateboarding and still heads out with friends. “I feel safe doing it and as long as I don’t fall I’ll be alright,” he says. “Today I was towing my friend behind the go cart.”

And his friends who were first curious about the metal cage now make kid Colton about it. “We still kind of joke around with it…we still make jokes about putting lazers on it and stuff.”


Monday, he travels to Palm Beach where Dr. Pavey now has a practice to have the Fixinator removed. “It will feel weird because I’ve been carrying eight pounds around for six months almost,” he says.

But Colton is looking forward to the result. While the last two operations the changes weren’t as obvious; this time he can see that his hand has moved.

“We’ve never got this much length before,” says Colton adding when he was seven, the procedure helped the bone grow about 2 centimeters. “Now we had two-and-a half inches.”

Colton says the change is noticeable week to week. “It used to be turned right in but now I have my hand in a neutral position.”

Once the metal cage is removed it will be a month before the teen can be involved in active sports again. And he says he’ll have to relearn some of the things he’s done for years.

“For as long as I can remember its been turned in,” says Colton. “When I started playing golf I had to adjust; it will be a little weird to adjust my hand again…but I’m super excited. I can’t wait to get it off.”

Colton says the hardest part of the procedure this time will be the one-month wait before he can start playing sports like football and hockey again.

But before he ever throws a ball or shoots a puck, there is one thing Colton wants to do. “Wakeboarding.”