Finding the Answer to Makinsey’s Pain

Reported by Mike Thompson |


HOLMEN, Wis. — Imagine living your life in almost constant pain and doctors not able to figure out what’s wrong.
That was the reality for a Holmen girl until an unusual chain of events changed her life.

13 year old Makinsey Schmidt of Holmen is a typical teenager. She loves to hang out with friends and enjoys
sports. But up until recently, life for Makinsey was anything but typical. “It felt like someone was repeatedly going
(makes stabbing motion) or hitting me in the stomach,” says Makinsey.

From the time she was about 9 or 10 years old, Makinsey lived with severe abdominal pains. They were so intense she
would often miss class either spending time in the bathroom or the school nurse’s office. “People always asked me why
are you always in the bathroom, I said I really don’t want to talk about it. People kind of made fun of me,” says

The pain continued for about 3 years forcing Makinsey to drop out of sports and completely change her diet and
doctors were just as puzzled as Makinsey and her family about what was causing the pain. Even Makinsey’s mom had her
doubts about what was going on. “I felt bad because I almost didn’t believe her at times because I’m like, I just
couldn’t see it and it wasn’t getting better, but then I’d look at her and take my hand and go like that and go all the
way up to her elbow and I’m like, there’s definitely something wrong, she’s obviously not eating for a reason,” says
Makinsey’s mom Jeannie. Makinsey says, “at lunch, I’d just start crying and my friends would say, what’s wrong, I just
don’t want to explain to them, I’d say I just got to go somewhere by own, by myself.”

By the time she turned 13, Makinsey had already had more tests than many adults will have in their entire lifetime
and still no answers, just dead ends. Jeannie says, “we watched her go from 50% in weight to, it just kept going down
until it was less than 10 percentile and I’m watching my child waste away and I’m trying to figure out, is there
something wrong with her because nobody can figure it out.”

But one day last summer, the pieces of this medical mystery started to fall into place. “We were at a softball game
and Steve, Jeannie’s husband, was telling me about Makinsey’s problem and kind of told me about what some of the
symptoms were,” says Makinsey’s neighbor Jason Yeiter.

That same night of the softball game, the Schmidt’s next door neighbors, Jason and Nikki Yeiter, had set their DVR
to record News 8 at Ten. “So I stayed up and watched it and that’s when you guys had that story on, kind of half paid
attention to it, but when I started to hear some of the symptoms, I backed it up and noticed a lot of things that were
being talked about were exactly what he was describing,” says Jason.

The medical breakthroughs story that night focused on a young girl around Makinsey’s age who suffered from a
condition called Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome or MALS for short. It’s a condition where a ligament puts pressure
on the artery that provides blood flow to the digestive system and it’s rarely diagnosed.

Nikki says, “it seemed so far fetched, but it was one more thing to look at. One more thing to try and they had
nothing to lose, everything to gain.” Jeannie says, “I went over there and I watched it and wow that really does
sound like Makinsey, what’s going on with her. So I called up her local pediatrician and I told him what I had seen on
the news and could they tell from the cat scan is that what she had? and he said no, no, there’s no way she has that,
it’s so rare.”

But after a second opinion, Makinsey’s pediatrician decided to go ahead with an ultrasound. “Let’s just do it and
then we’ll rule it out and I guarantee you she’s not going to have it so we did the test about a week later and the day
of the tests he called me up that evening and was like well, I got news for you, it came back positive,” says

Instead of telling her husband or Makinsey the results first, Jeannie ran over to Jason’s house and gave him a great
big hug and thanked him for showing her the news story.

“My mom was crying when I walked in and my dad was home because I think he came home early and my mom told me it was
positive and I started crying right away,” says Makinsey. In December, Makinsey had surgery to fix the problem and is
now living pain free. She can finally enjoy life again. “It feels good that I can join my friends for ice cream and
eat pizza with them instead of bringing my own food for a sleepover,” says Makinsey.

Makinsey and her mom feel she wouldn’t’ be here today if it wasn’t for their neighbors and the order in which things
happened. Makinsey says, “they’re my saviors I guess you could say. It’s really, really good to know it’s all

Nikki says, “it’s one of those things where, everything happened and it happened for a reason. You know you ran that
story and it seemed like a flaky story because it happens to so few people and Steve happened to tell us what was going
on with his child, that night you guys had the story on the same night and everything just happened in a row.” Call it
coincidence or call it fate, but the chain of events probably saved Makinsey’s life.