My “Ninja Turtle Baby”: Honoring the Soul of My Shell-Born Superhero Son

But when the 41-year-old new mother and her spouse Tim saw that James’ back was scabbing and getting bumps, they started to worry.

Kaitlyn told Southwest News Service, “It was a little concerning, as it looked like something was wrong. It kind of looked like a birthmark but scabbed over in parts.”

His parents took him for tests when the mark developed and began to resemble a big mole; they had to wait months for the results.

At that point, “the doctors didn’t really know what it was,” Kaitlyn recounted.

“At first, it covered seventy-five percent of his back, and it had started to get lumpier and fatter,” she added. “It appeared to be expanding.”

James couldn’t sleep on his back because of an unusual skin disease that he had from birth.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

Doctors were confused by the baby’s skin condition.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

James underwent several surgeries to have the lump removed.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

James’ lump expanded quickly, to the point where the baby had to sleep on his side due to its weight. 

She said, “[It] had become like a turtle shell on his back.” “It was so bulky that he couldn’t lay his head flat.”

In order to determine whether the nevus was growing internally, James received an MRI on his brain and spine before to his first surgery in February 2022 to remove it.

James’ quality of life has significantly improved, according to the new parents, since the bulk was removed.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

According to Kaitlyn, “internal growth on the brain or spine is one of the sub-conditions.” Thus, he needed to undergo anesthesia at the age of 2.5 months to have it done.

Thankfully, there was no internal growth, so his parents began the process of having it removed. Following his initial surgery, physicians tested the removed skin for infections, but the results were negative.

Tim and Kaitlyn joined a Facebook group to communicate with other individuals experiencing the disease because they were worried the mass might grow again. They claim this group has opened their eyes to other symptoms and side effects, like itching and lack of sweat gland production.

Kaitlyn and Tim said they will take scarring over having to deal with the mass.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

After connecting with a specialist in Chicago, James’ parents decided to start tissue expansion in September 2022, which involves growing the “good” skin surgically.

“You can do the expansion process from home,” Kaitlyn said. “The expanders are placed under the skin by the doctor and then we injected them with saline once a week and it slowly expands the good skin which replaces the nevus.

“He’s so much happier and more comfortable, and we’ll just be happy to get all of it gone by the summer,” she added.

He is undergoing skin expansion to regrow the damaged skin.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

 His back is healing well.

Coυrtesy Kaitlyп McCallυm / SWNS

James will be left with minimal scarring, with his parents saying they’re thankful it occurred on his back, as it usually occurs on the face.

“Having this removed will give him the best quality of life. He’ll be able to tell a cool story about it and say it’s a shark bite or something,” Kaitlyn pointed out. “We will definitely take the scarring over having to deal with this any day.”

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