My ‘Ninja Turtle baby’ boy was born with a shell — he’s my superhero

When Kaitlyn and Tim McCallum, the parents of newborn James, first spotted an odd mark on their son’s back, they were first concerned about it. James’ birthmark, which had been scabbed over and was relatively modest at first, quickly expanded into a big mass that covered seventy-five percent of his back and resembled a large mole. The McCallums, who were concerned about their son’s health, went on a trip that would last for several months and involve a series of medical testing and uncertainty.

“The doctors didn’t really know what it was at that point,” Kaitlyn recounted about the situation. As she continued, she described the lump as becoming “fatter and more lumpy” over time, comparing it to a bulky turtle shell. “It seemed like it was growing,” she said.

Due to the rapid growth of James’ disease, which was classified as a nevus, surgical intervention was required because of the possibility of internal consequences associated with the condition. James, who was only two and a half months old at the time, underwent surgery to evaluate any potential internal growth, which fortunately yielded negative results.

James saw a considerable improvement in his quality of life after the successful operation, and his parents noticed a noticeable shift in their son’s condition. However, because the McCallums were aware of the chance that the nevus would reappear, they sought assistance and direction from a Facebook group that was specifically designed for people who had problems that were like to their own.

They went to a specialist in Chicago in search of an effective treatment, and it was there that they made the decision to seek tissue expansion, which is a revolutionary process that involves the surgical growth of “good” skin to replace the afflicted area. The procedure, which started in September 2022, has been yielding positive results, as James has demonstrated amazing development and increased comfort throughout the process.

Kaitlyn provided the following explanation regarding the procedure: “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.”


The fact that James is responding favourably to the treatment has given his parents reason to be optimistic about his future. “He’s so much happier and more comfortable,” Kaitlyn said, expressing her excitement over the prospect of James being nevus-free by the time summer arrives.

The path that the McCallums have taken demonstrates the significance of endurance and creativity in the treatment of unusual medical problems, and it provides families who are experiencing similar difficulties with a glimmer of hope.


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