Too Young For Sciatic Pain and Grey Hair

Well hello there, y’all! It’s been some time. So much to update you all on and where to begin… Hmmm. Well, lately I’ve been feeling stagnant and ready for some next steps. Although I still have some issues with my back, I’m generally in good health these days, so I’m finally ready to move out of my parents’ house again. I gave myself a deadline, which is great, however, when I make a decision to do something, I tend to dive-in to things full force and arms swinging. Which is what I did recently, and it ended in burnout.

Basically, I decided to activate my real estate license. Great! But I also decided to start working with renters at the same time that I was in the training program. (Not great.) By the end of three weeks, I was completely and utterly exhausted from driving all around creation after eight-hour class days, managed to suffer a panic attack, and then while washing my hands in the bathroom one day I looked up in the mirror and gasped. The light had hit my hairline just right… “Are those grey hairs?!?” Yep. “But I’m too young to be greying!!” Welp, apparently not. My Dad started going grey at age 25… same age as my baby brother, who is now starting to also see signs of the silver stuff.

Sigh. I didn’t really care about the greys though. (Silver hair is in, after all.) What I cared most about was the fact that I had a panic attack. The last time I had had a panic attack was less than two years ago, right before my surgery. And I felt like I had come such a long way with my health and managing my anxiety and stress levels. Why the F was I taking steps backwards?! Well, Caroline. Because it’s life and you are a human being. Deep breath. Sigh. Yeah… you’re right. And everything is a learning experience. And in this situation, I needed to take a step back and re-learn to listen to my body. Your gut is a very powerful thing and if you don’t listen to it, it will eventually build up inside you and MAKE you listen… cue the anxiety and panic.

So lets get down to the why of it. My co-workers keep asking me why I don’t like Real Estate. I explained it over and over again with each person, until finally I got tired of giving all of the excuses. Finally, one day, to one friend and coworker in particular, I explained something… “Scoliosis takes place in the nerves. Meaning that my nervous system is constantly on the fritz and automatically wants to twist and curve in different directions, on a normal basis. So I have to make a conscious effort to stand or sit straighter, on an every-day basis. So when outside people and events start pulling me in different directions, I have to work harder than most people to remain focused and stay the right course. (Very similar to ADD.) Add some renters, buyers or sellers to the mix, constantly pulling you in different directions, well it’s basically my recipe for disaster. (Again, I said “MY“. Someone else might be perfect for this! No judgement. Do you boos, and let me, do me.)

Most of my co-workers say that that is how it goes in the beginning and that eventually you learn how to curtail that and create a consistent schedule for yourself. But frankly, at this point in my life, I know myself pretty well and I have more respect for myself and my quality of life. Life’s too short. And we’re allot cut out for the same things. I can find another side job that I will actually enjoy. The Entertainment Industry already has a lot of ups and downs and sides to side… I don’t need another one leading me around in circles. And my body was trying to tell me that.

However, I don’t regret any of it. Everything is a learning experience and one more step in a new direction. That step was my push to take the bull by the horns and take a hold of my life and career again. It pushed me to reach out and ask for help. I know a lot of things about myself… I’m pretty conscious of the type of person I am. I know my flaws and my attributes. Now, with a little direction and help from a friend, it’s time to curtail them, with some guidance, and create a better plan to move forward. I’m going to start working with a coach and friend. This has reminded me that everyone needs a coach, from time to time, to get them re-focused and back in the game. It also reminded me to just take a step. It’s about the journey. And when you dive-in and start running too quickly, you’re heading in the direction of burnout, and that’s no good either.

In terms of my physical process with my Scoliosis, that too is also a work in progress. But I am doing sooooo much better than I was a few days, months and years ago. This I am fully aware of, however I still have my moments. As I’ve said before, yoga has been my blessing. It has helped my stiffness immensely and has made me more aware of the muscles and areas in my back and sides that are tight and need to be stretched out. Again, Scoliosis takes place in the nerves. So my muscles and other bones (ribs, hips, etc.) want to go back to the way they were prior to my surgery. The rods in my spine hold my spine in place, but I’m still working on strengthening and stretching the muscles into a position that will support them. So again, yoga really helps with this.

People also recommend pilates and core strengthening, which I have been doing. However, I’ve been made more aware, recently, of how tight, and even sore, my hip flexers are. But that is just me. Maybe you’ve had the surgery and yours are fine (or your going to, and yours will be). Everyone’s bodies, minds and spirits are different and I’ve learned to listen to what other people recommend, and take from it what will be beneficial and work for me.

The other thing yoga has done is make me super aware of my pattern. Patterns exist in our body and then we replicate them in our lives. I’ve realized, through exercises that a ‘Yoga for Scoliosis” Instructor gave me, that I constantly clench my left butt cheek muscle. My right leg is a bit longer than the other, so my left side has to work harder, in order to keep up. I’ve also been working more on my Root Chakra in my morning meditations, and noticed that, on those days that I concentrate more on this chakra, my sciatic pain is a lot more intense. I’m not sure if it’s a mental thing or a combo of the both, but for the past few months I’ve had the worst pain in my lower, left back side, butt and shooting pains down my left leg. It SUCKS! It’s almost like a gnawing pain – incase you’ve never experienced Sciatica. And if you’re around my age, there’s a very high likelihood that you have not. (Grrrrr…) Finally, one morning I had had enough and texted my Chiropractor. She is awesome and squeezed me in right away.

“Yeah, wow, you’re super tight. How long has it been this way?” I replied, “Oh, I don’t know… A couple months maybe?” “MONTHS!! Carolineeeee,” she half laughed, half scolded. I know, I know. But the thing is, I’ve also kind of prided myself recently on being able to work out a lot of my issues through yoga and on my own. But now I know not to wait that long again. Sometimes, yes, it’s good to work things out on your own. And other times… it’s okay to ask for help 😉 She could tell I was really upset, though, and getting down on myself. She soothed me, “I know, I know, you’re right. You’re too young for Sciatica and I’m sure you are frustrated. But the good news is, just a few sessions with me and you’ll be back to being right on track again.” Sigh. I was still frustrated but I felt better. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself from time to time. You still have to go through the motions in order to reach an end goal. And the goal was to feel better again. SO, I needed to feel sad and release that emotion, in order to start feeling happy again. So… so be it. Deep breath. Cry. Let goooooo….


My friend sent me this image on Insta while he is touring through India. This is just a breath of fresh air at the foothills of the Himalayas, bordering China, that can remind you that there is always light out there. So take a breath and ~ L E T  G O ~

There’s a few other things I want to try for my rehabilitation still, but I’m taking baby steps with them all now… A friend gave me the name of a great Acupuncturist and my Hair Stylist gave me the name of a Chakra Healer. I also know I should be working occasionally with a personal trainer or doing a one-on-one yoga session to help me with concentrating more on, and strengthening, the left side of my body. BUT, with all of that, you need money. So the way to get there is tooooo… (buda-bum-bum) MAKE MORE MONEY! So that’s my new concentration. Which will lead me to the next, and then to the next, and then to the next. So that’s sort of where I’m at right now. I’ll give you more of an update as things progress. In the meantime, I’d advise all of you to start asking yourself more questions and tapping into areas of your bodies and guts more. Maybe you’ll learn something 😉 Oh and if you know anyone looking for a fabulously, talented actor, writer or print model for hire, let them know about me 😉

‘Til next time, my friends! Have an amazing week.

 

Exes and Oh’s,

Your Little Fighter

 

PS. For those of you with hip issues or experiencing Sciatic pain, one of my yoga instructors from Surya Yoga Jersey City (they're amazing and if you're local, definitely check them out) taught me to do forward folds, but with your entire backside pressed against the wall. Stand in front of a wall and bend over. Walk your hands in, all the way to your toes so that you're literally folded in half. Make sure your hips are open and your inner legs are working harder and your hips are pulling up. This has helped me immenselyyyy. Try it!

 

Protection Mode

So lately I’ve tried, on countless occasions, to write a new blog entry. I think I have three drafts sitting in my pending posts section of my WordPress account, right now… One I wrote after my Grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving Day, the other I wrote last week, after the SAG Awards, and the other one…? Hmmm… I forget. (Ha!) But I’ve been very critical about them all so I haven’t posted any of them. Probably because my life has been so all over the place lately, so I feel like my writing has reflected the same– It’s lost it’s flow.

You would think that now that I’m back in Yoga classes, that my writing would flow more… Nope. Maybe it’s because I’ve been getting it all out in yoga, causing my creative voice to become stagnant. Maybe I actually need my heady, all over the place mindset, in order to do good work? They say that the best artists produce their best work during tortuous or traumatic times in their lives… Does anyone watch, The Affair? Noah, for instance, produced a best-selling novel during a traumatic, “all over the place” time in his life, but yet when he was grounded again and happy, the writing didn’t “flow”. And! Look at Hemingway! Ugh, sighhhhh. 😏 I hope and pray that isn’t the case with me…

Regardless, I’m pushing myself to write this and publish it this time, because of what happened to me tonight in yoga class. So bear with my peeps, I’ll eventually get it all out. But before I do, a little background for you… I’ve been crazy stressed for the past two weeks and I couldn’t figure out WHY! I mean, I had an idea, but I didn’t really think any of it was affecting me that badly until last week when constipation set in. 😳 Dun, dun, dun! 🙈 Yep.

Now, if you have been reading my posts and following my journey with my health and scoliosis surgery, you’ll know the issues I have dealt with in the past with IBS… And how upsetting it was after my surgery, when the pain killers made me constipated. So when this set in again, I started to geek out. Hell, I’m still upset about it! I haven’t dealt with an issue like this in a really, really long time!! In fact, it’s been just the opposite. I haven’t been able to stop going, before this. WTF, man?!

So, I started to think about it (shocker), and have begun to connect the dots. Basically, it leads to a few different issues. One being, I’m doing too much. (Double Shocker. 🙄) Hey, at least I’m aware, now, of when I am going down this path. And the first step to change is awareness, so… there ya go.

Last week I had an audition for a great Workshop Studio in NYC and I had to prepare two different monologues. I felt like I really knew the material and they were perrrrfect for me! (Or so I thought.) Granted one was a bit older for me, but only by a few years. However, the woman who auditioned me, informed me that I’m “way too young to be doing this type of material.” I bit my tongue, and then thought to myself, “Lady, if you knew how old I actually am, maybe you would change your tune.”… Probably not though. (The industry is based on a look and if you look like you’re 25-26, you’re going to be cast 23-25. Go figure.)

Anyways, I haven’t been auditioning lately so I was a little nervous. I knew the material, but a few lines in, I asked to start over because I could feel that I wasn’t being present. I did… and the woman on the other side of the table did not look happy. She immediately started jotting down notes and I could feel myself being judged. Whatever, keep going, Caroline.

After performing my two monologues, I probably looked down at my sides* a total of three times throughout the two monologues. Well, apparently that wasn’t acceptable. Basically she told me she “doesn’t usually do this,” but she was going to make an exception for me and tell me in advance that she was accepting me into the program… HOWEVER, I have a lot of work to do. She continued to go on and say that because I have a B.A. in Journalism and not. B.F.A. in Theater, I need to work harder. “Not to say NY is a snooty town, but it pretty much is and we are about the work here. There’s no excuse for you not being off book. This isn’t LA.” She then proceeded to tell me that she thinks I’m just used to LA and that I need to get my game face on if I want to do well in the program. “How long have you been back here?” “A year-and-a-half ,” I replied. Judgement written all over her face… especially while she perused my resume and questioned me on being on “America’s Next Top Model”. (I know what you’re thinking and she is actually a very good-looking, young woman, whom is also an actor,  so it’s not like she had it out for me or anything.)

But, I never made an excuse for myself. I never told her that I moved back to the east coast to have back surgery and still struggle with the healing process or cry sometimes on my way home from yoga. (I mean, why would I tell a perfect stranger that?) I used to be a pretty open book about it, but recently I’ve gotten to a place of people needing to earn to learn my story. Probably because I’m in a more stable place in my life and more accepting of who I am, what I’ve been through and where I am going… or perhaps this just ties in with me being in protection mode. I don’t know yet… 🤷🏼‍♀️

Anyways, I didn’t want her pity and I don’t want yours. I am fully aware of the fact that I am alive and healthy and don’t have some traumatic, life-altering disease, HOWEVER I am human, and everyone is entitled to feel a little sorry for themselves from time to time… like by crying to yourself and singing along loudly to Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” on your commute home from yoga class once in a while. (I guess I just answered the above on what place in my life I’m actually in, huh? 😄) So, I put my big girl pants on and thanked her, because honestly, she was right.

*Sides are the script or dialogue you are given to read from in an audition setting.

Basically, I’m aware of the fact that I’m spreading myself too thin… commuting to work, making sure I get my work outs in, running into and out of the city for auditions, meetings and classes, writing, shooting and editing my own sketches, starting to look around for an apartment and setting a timeline (Wooooo!! 👏🏻), working on marketing myself and then still trying to balance a social life and family… I’m exhausted!! And putting only 20% into each of them. I hate not being good at something, and 20% just isn’t going to cut it… especially when I know I can do better. So this is when I start getting down on myself, stressing out and I guess that’s where my body is now… Reacting with constipation. Sigh 😔

So all this leads to my big epiphany that I had in yoga class tonight… We did a move and the instructor told us to keep breathing and concentrating on the positioning and being in our bodies. “Get out of your heads,” she said. Well that definitely snapped me back to reality, because it’s something I am continuously working on. She said to be mindful of where our mind went, as she instructed us to move into another position. This time I focused on the move and releasing… suddenly I had a big “Aha!” moment! I was in protection mode!

Let’s rewind a moment… Another thing I’ve been doing over the past two weeks is adding an “Om” to my chakra meditations. (I do a Chakra Meditation every morning and it has done wonders for me!… until the “Om” was added.) Yes, it definitely made me feel more grounded that week, BUT this was when the constipation started. (Aha! … and Eek!!) I made the correlation and confessed it to my chiropractor this past weekend (only after I forewarned her with, “Can I say something to you and have you not think I’m bat shit crazy?…”). Thank goodness she knows about and is into this kind of stuff, because she agreed that it is correlated and that it was probably working different muscles and different breathing techniques than my body is normally used to. If you’re not into this stuff, you’re probably reading this and thinking, this girl is NUTS! (My Mom does, so it’s okay.)

I had my 1.5 year check up on my surgery yesterday and drove into the city to see Dr. Errico. My Mom came with me and we have an hour drive in, so I told her about the “Om”-ing… well, she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that my body would react that way to exerting a sound. “You just need to pray more,” she half laughed/ half scolded. I responded by telling her that meditation, yoga and chanting is prayer 🙏🏻 😇- (love you, Ma! 😘 )

I realize that I’m pretty body aware, so it is a little extreme that I would respond this way to an “Om” sound. However, I’m also kind of a hippy so it kind of makes sense. ✌🏻Growing up, my favorite Disney Movie was Pocahontas. I would always pretend to really “feel” and be extra in touch with the trees, the breeze, the grass, etc., while trying to talk to the squirrels and rabbits as they ran away from me. (I know, I know, I’m weird.) I used to lay in the grass and stare up at the blue sky and twirling, whirling clouds and I would SWEAR that the world around me was having an inner conversation with me. It’s hard to explain… I just felt very “in touch” with nature, I guess… Grounded perhaps? I suppose you feel those extra things when your younger… and it’s more socially acceptable when your neighbor walks by and catches you belting “Colors of The Wind” at the top of your voice and beckoning for John Smith to come rescue you… Yeah,.. not so much as we get older. Although NYC is a pretty crazy place, so maybe no one would even notice? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Anyways, back to my yoga “Aha”… as I laid there in the 98 degree classroom (side note, hot yoga has helped loosen and stretch my muscles immensely!), pulling my right leg closer to me, I realized that I’ve been protecting myself, EXTRA, over the past few weeks. Some of it is with guys… (I don’t know- dating is hard, I guess? And I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe.) Basically, I’m afraid of settling. And it sucks! Because I have the biggest sweethearts who will bend over backwards for me, asking me out- and yet I want nothing to do with them! But a guy who doesn’t seem as interested? Well, you pretty much have me, hook, line and sinker. Sigh. 🙄

I’ve talked to my Mom about this repetitively… “Why the F do I like the chase so much??” Maybe it’s because I know they aren’t the “settling down types”, and I’m still not completely ready to settle down, myself… so perhaps I look at them as fun and safe? And then these other guys who would probably treat me like a princess, terrify the fuck out of me. 😳 “Ugh, why did you just touch my waist like that?” “Why are you checking on me to make sure I got home okay? I’m a fucking adult woman, damn it!” “Why are you being so F-ing NICE?!” (See! Told you. I’m crazy.) One of my girlfriends tells me I’m sick. Ha! However my other girlfriends I’ve spoken to about this have made me feel better about my craziness by saying that those guys just aren’t the ones for ME. Which I do agree with… ‘Cuz if I was really into the person, I’d totally be down with doors being held open for me, romantic dinners, cuddle sessions… the whole shebang. Right? 🤔 But instead, I’ve let myself go into a clenched up, “Ahhh stay away from me, I don’t like you like that!” 🙅🏼 protection mode to heed these guys away. Can’t we just be friends?? Sigh… which just leads you to the forever-debated issue over whether men and women can just be friends. Hmmmm… #FoodForThought

So… basically, what I’ve determined is that I need to really focus on working on letting go and trusting myself, again. (Because it’s life, and we all go back and forth… this just seems to be one of the things I am always grappling with, apparently.) I knew the dialogue in that audition room. It was emotionally engrained in me. But I felt her judgemental gaze and clammed up a few times; looking to the page as my crutch, instead of trusting the fact that I’m an awesome actress and “I got this”. 💪🏻 That was actually the one excuse I gave her when she was giving me her constructive criticism… I started to explain that me looking to the page was more the fact that I needed to trust myself more, rather than me not knowing the dialogue. But she just shook her head and stated that it “still goes back to preparation”. Sigh. 😔 Whatever. You can always work harder to make yourself better, so I’ll take it and learn from it. 👍🏻

And then with the guys… I don’t know. I guess I need to trust the fact that I know my own feelings, and no one can force someone to like them… so, just let go and enjoy the ride. It doesn’t mean that if I accept an invitation and go on a few dates with a guy and make out with them a bunch of times, that they are going to automatically hydro-shift into boyfriend mode on me. (GAH!!! That freaks me out just thinking about it 😰). Deep breaths, Caroline, deep breaths. And let go…

I will actually say that I’m proud of myself, though, for letting go of one guy, in particular. Because I was pretty hung up on him. We’ll call him “Yoga Boy”. I met him at a Yoga Event and I knew him and his friends were pretty much just there to pick up chicks. I also knew, through speaking with him, that he was younger than me. Not by much, but when a guy is a few years younger than a female, they might as well be ten years behind them, when it comes to maturity (sorry boys, but it’s true). But basically, what happened was, we had a lot of mixed communication caused by only communicating via text… and Snapchat (LOL- don’t judge me! 🙈), and he never did a very good job with properly asking me out. It was always us trying to meet up after something, or going to a class at some point when the other got out of work… it was just very ambiguous and “safe”. No set plans were ever made, except for the first time we hung out after the Yoga Event. (And guess who invited who? 🤘🏻) … Now, I will admit, some of it was my doing, with my crazy-chaotic schedule and he probably just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. However, he wasn’t the most chivalrous of men I’ve ever attempted to date. And he’s a few years younger… I guess they’re still set in their way of hanging out in groups, then? I dunno… Regardless, I allowed myself to get a little hung up on it “not working out” because, although we only hung out once and locked lips while we were both slightly intoxicated 😜, as naive as this sounds, I felt like we had a more passionate connection. (Aka, it was the beginning, so we had a physical attraction.) But I also just felt like I didn’t put my best foot forward by mimicking his childish communication skills. I’m usually a pretty communicative and open person, but instead I succumbed to the chase and “playing hard to get”. So Long story short, I over thought all of it. Plus we are Snapchat friends and seeing someone on a slightly ego-centric social media ap every day makes your mind wander… #WhatCanISay #Human 🤷🏼‍♀️✌🏻💁🏼

Anyways, I’ve let it go, now. I realized that anything or anyone that is that hard or complicated, is just not meant to be. Plus, I have a date tomorrow night with a guy I met on Super Bowl Sunday and after all of those games and the protection mode I put myself in with the other guys, it was SO refreshing how he asked me out ☺️ He actually had a pretty clever pick up line that made me laugh. (I’m not into the pick up lines, HOWEVER, if it’s something clever and it makes me laugh, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least a drink or coffee date with me.) But he also asked what my favorite food was and offered to take me to dinner. Now, I’m not usually into having dinner with someone on the first date (commitment-phobe, remember? ✌🏻), but I don’t know… something about him kind of intrigued me 🤔 We’ll see, though… I did have a couple of Shocktops and a whiskey shot in me that evening, sooooooo… 🍻🥃 (Go Giants! 😋… Inside joke if you follow me on Instagram or YouTube.)

Alright, I think that’s all for now… Hopefully this post wasn’t too all over the place and somehow, someone related to it. I’ll probably go back and tailor the other posts sitting in my Saved Drafts section and eventually post them for y’all, but for now, I just felt like I really needed to get this one out… so thanks for reading. 🤗 Sorry there aren’t any pictures this time… again, I just felt like I needed to get this out in order to get the ball rolling again on the blogging. I know I say this all the time, but I really do hope to write more again for you (If anyone even still reads this- Ha!)

Oh! And this is probably TMI, but after getting all of my feelings out in this post, I took a break to go to the bathroom! Wooooo!!!! (Or should I say, Poooooo!! 💩💩💩💩💩) Score!!!! 🙌🏻😜 Hahahaha 😂

Oh and one more thing! I definitely need to do another post soon because I need to explain to you how I bruised my rib cage. It hurts like a mother f-er right now! 😡 Sorry, just wanted to throw that in there just to show how I really AM all over the place and how yoga and Pilates are really becoming a blessing for me 😇🙏🏻🤗

So… ’til next post my fellow crazies. Exes and Oh’s ❤️😘

Your Little Fighter,

CareBear ✌🏻

**UPDATE**- The following morning after I posted this, I came across a meditation specifically designed to relieve constipation on YouTube, and then went about my morning stretches. Well, after I was done with the stretches? I pooped again!! See? Chakra healing and meditations really do affect the body! Here’s the link if you’re having similar problems and curious… You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised! But the trick is to stay open!! To everything in life 😉 Hugs your way xoxo

Time

Time. Time is probably the most valuable thing on this planet. Probably because no one has figured out how to control it. And we don’t have much of it.

Think about it in the grande scheme of things, we really don’t have a lot of time. I was watching a movie a few weeks ago and he did some crazy math that explained that a human’s life is really only 5 seconds long, when compared to a universe that has been around for billions of years. 🌌🌠🎆

People say things like, “Time is of the essence,” “Time flies when you’re having fun,” “Timing is everything,” and “You have the same amount of hours in your day as Beyoncé”- Oh hey girl heyyyy! (Side note, I’m not a huge Beyoncé fan. But I do like her music and anything that inspires other women to be strong. So if she does it for you, then let the “fierce” be with you 🦁💪🏻😆 See what I did there? 🤓) Anyways, I bring this all up because I have been non-stop lately, and super stressed, because there is just not enough hours in the day for what my mind has on the itinerary. My body however, feels otherwise.

I started two new jobs last week (which is great), but also within the same week that I was booked for a hair modeling show. (Also great!) But starting all of those at the same time when you are still a commuter and have to add that travel time on top of it all?? Yeah, that’s what I thought… not so great anymore. But I took a deep breath and told myself that I could handle this… as I prepped my lesson plan for my new Film School students. Then the next day I said, “You got this girl” as I sat at my desk in Jersey City and scheduled my first Social Media Coordinating appointment. Then last Thursday, when my alarm started screaming at 4:00 a.m., 4:05 a.m., 4:10 a.m. and again at 4:15 a.m. 🚨 (Okay, I was a little nervous that I wasn’t going to wake up. Don’t judge me), I said to myself, “But first coffee…”

img_2999

I also managed to squeeze in not one, but two birthday celebrations for my bestie. Because one, I adore her, and two, I’ve never been to a hockey game and I wanted to pop my cherry 🍒… aaaaand also conquer a small fear I had. I once watched a show where they were in the stands of a hockey game and the puck came whizzing out and hit the person square in the nose. Or maybe it was the mouth? 🤔 I don’t remember, but regardless I felt that actor’s pain!! I legit could not get that scene out of my head for weeks. I mean, think about it! Think about how heavy that puck is. And how fast that thing would be coming at you! How could anyone survive that?! Well don’t worry, I didn’t get hit with a hockey puck, guys 🙃 But I did see one go flying into the second row! Thank God I wasn’t in that row or I would’ve freaked.

Here’s a Snapchat clip (👻: carolineheinle) of my experience from that night:

 

Anyways, this week’s load wasn’t AS extensive… No, I’m lying. Because on top of the teaching and social media coordinating, I’m also working on some material of my own and decided to add that to the equation 😬 I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ve been doing a good job about moving my Acting career forward. Some of it is marketing and administrative stuff, some of it is creative stuff, but I’m slowly starting to see my career moving forward and I have a really good feeling that great things are just around the corner 🤗 But the best part is, is that I’m enjoying all of it.

But here’s where my frustration comes in… I’ve finally gotten myself to a place where I’m honestly and truly enjoying the process and then??! I get another f*#!in sinus infection! Like seriously?? Really? Really, God?! Grrr!! 😡 I had one after I graduated Real Estate School.

(Oh yeah, before I started these new jobs, I was in Real Estate School. And it was hard. Like, really hard. Try going back to school and learning something you know nothing about. Most of the people in my class were either doing something in a related field or already flipping houses or doing something similar “under the books”… And were homeowners. And then there was me. Whatever, I still passed but it was super stressful and I ate a lot of f*%#in chocolate 🍫🍫🍫. Which I then stressed about after.)  *Disclaimer: I’m not saying chocolate is what put the few extra pounds on me. Dark chocolate is healthy and a great source of magnesium and antioxidants when eaten in moderation. There were several other factors that I won’t bore you with, but I just wanted to be clear about that 😉

img_1907

Sigh, why do we do that to ourselves, by the way? I mean, I don’t feel guilty about eating badly all the time, but when I’m in a vulnerable place and not feeling very good or the best about myself, I go there. I get really hard on myself! I said to my Mom a couple weeks after I graduated, “Ugh, school made me gain weight! And I’m trying so hard, but I just can’t seem to drop these couple extra pounds.” First she said she didn’t know what I was talking about and then she said, “Well, maybe your body needs that extra weight right now. You are doing a lot.”

Huh??? My first reaction was, “No Ma.” 🙄 But inwardly it was, “Yes, you’re right Ma.” And, “Hmmm so interesting”. 🤔🤔🤔 Welp, fast forward to me finally shedding those extra pounds I picked up and sick in bed with a sinus infection. Go figure!! #MamaKnowsBest

***Now listen, I’m not telling you this to complain about my weight. I know I’m thin and fit and I’ve even gotten to a self-loving place and am happy with my body- flaws and all! 🤗💃🏼❤️ I’m telling you this, because we all do it. We all can be really hard on ourselves and it usually comes during a time when we need to be kindest to ourselves. I’m working on stopping that. ✋🏻 #WorkInProgress

The other thing I’m working on… time management. My Dad’s employees all have a running joke where they mock him saying, “I don’t have time for that.” My Mom always says I’m like my Father, and I know I get really stressed about time. I’m currently stressing about getting something to my manager before the year ends, but one, I’m having a bit of writer’s block and two, I needed help! So I hired someone for one of the things and I’m so happy I did 😌

Sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. I’m excited to move out of my parent’s home and happy to have a goal in mind, but at the same time, I don’t know what I’m going to do without my Mom. She asked if she could help me with anything this week… she even offered to take over my Dating Ap accounts and schedule dates for me 😳 (Yeah… I started dating again. That’s a whole other can of worms which I’ll save for another post.) Anyways, I actually stopped and considered it 🤔 And then we laughed about how she’d be calling me up, “Okay, so you have a date with ‘Jeff’ at 6:00pm. Don’t be late, he’s cute!” And then I’d later yell at her because he wasn’t cute at all. (We have different taste 😝)

In terms of the back stuff… I’m a little frustrated right now. I notice that when I’m stressed my muscles are the stiffest. And when I’m doing a lot of computer work. I also notice that when I’m stressed, I clench my jaw in my sleep, which then causes neck, shoulder and trap stiffness, soreness and even some tingling, to get a bit out of hand. I’ve taken a little break from the back strengthening exercises to releave the stiffness because it’s been so bad. But I am making notes of all of these things and the first step is always awareness, so progress there.

I’ve had a lot of talks with my physical therapist about my condition and he says that yes, some of this stuff is related to my surgery, but some of my muscle tension was there before the surgery. So, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to aim to get back into a Yoga Practice. I haven’t done yoga since before my surgery but I’m going to give it a try and think it will do me a lot of good… mainly because I need some “flow” back in my life. (Ha!) But I am thankful for how far I have come. I’m knowledgeable that last year around this time, I was recording videos such as the one below, 👇🏻 and healing from a very extensive surgery. One year later, I’m tackling three jobs and have a plan to get a place of my own soon. Considering how sick I was for years before my surgery, I’d say that all of this is definite progress 💪🏻

I like to look back at these videos and see how far I've come. Today, I write this post one year and one month, post-op. This video was taken 3 WEEKS post-op. Yes, it's not the most attractive version of me. But as I sat here debating about whether or not I should post it, I brought myself back to my objective. Which was, and continues to be, to educate and tell my story from the most honest and truthful light possible. So yes, I am complaining about muscle stiffness, aches, sinus infections and acknowledging my perfectionism and workaholic tendencies, but I'm grateful for these awarenesses and how far I've come. I'm grateful that I never became addicted to my medication- something that is a very serious problem in America today. Especially with our youth. Someone recently opened up to me about his battle with this problem and a applaud him for overcoming it! ;) I'm also grateful for my journey. Yes, I'm still figuring out why I have flare ups and what causes what, but I'm not perfect and never will be. I'm happy and proud of the strong Warrior of a Woman I have become and happy to share it all with you :) #GirlPower

So… I’m glad I’m getting back to posting and hoping that someone out there has gotten something from this. If not, this has been very helpful to ME, so thank you for reading. Maybe it also helped with that writer’s block 🙏🏻

‘Til next time kittens 😽 Onward, forward, Olé! 💃🏼 and don’t forget to value your time this week 💗

“Time is free but it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can lose it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” ~ Harvey Mackay
❤️,

Your little fighter ✨

img_9283

IMG_5639 IMG_5638

P.S. I found these shots in my camera roll that I took while I wandered away aimlessly from my Mother in Home Goods the day I recorded the YouTube video in this post... clearly I was searching for some inspiration :P (If you can't tell by now, I ad<3re inspirational quotes... You should see my Pinterest Board - HAHA! ;)

Crying in my Blender Muffins


Today is one of those days… Or actually, it’s been one of those WEEKS! 😡, where my scoliosis isn’t really healing all that “gingerly”. Ten days from now will be my one year mark, since my spine has been fused. Crazy right?? Gosh, how time flies!

IMG_8329

Last Saturday I decided to try swimming. Yeah, bad idea. Well actually, apparently it isn’t a bad idea and will actually be really good for my muscles… eventually. (Says the guy I dated for a hot second and my physical therapist. But to be clear, I tried it because my physical therapist said to. Not because the guy said to. He was a former swimmer and frankly I thought he was just being biased. Also, I’m stubborn like that 💁🏼👊🏼) Anyways, after I swam, my muscles froze up faster than a wet towel in a snowstorm. (I don’t know why you would have a wet towel in a snowstorm, but I thought it sounded poetic.) My physical therapist said that this was probably because the muscles were over-worked in a different way than they had been used to. (I think my back just SUCKS.) He said I need to ease into it more. I guess swimming 10 lapse for my first time back at it, wasn’t such a bright idea… (Caroline, being overzealous? Weird!)

So now, over a week later, my muscles are still feeling really F-ing stiff and good ol’ James is away on vacay. So I want to cry. I mean, I’m happy my physical therapist took a vacation – he’s a hard worker and deserves some down time – but James! Couldn’t you have timed it a little better?! 😜 (Kidding James, you know I adore you. Do you, boo, do you!)

IMG_8499

Anyways, I’ve had a few revelations recently and have accepted the fact that I’m going to be living with this for the rest of my life. But I’m tired. I’m tired of a lot of things, actually, but I’m also tired of always being positive. I am human after all, so I’m going to tell you that, right now, my back is so fucking stiff that I want to scream. Or cry. Whichever sound comes out of my mouth first.

IMG_8567

There must be some pinched nerves going on because the top of where my spine is fused (right around my T2 area) feels pinched. It’s shooting up into my neck and through the cranial area of my lower skull, then going through my mouth and causing the roof of my mouth, lips and upper teeth and gum area to feel numb and tingly. (Weird right? As uncomfortable as this feels though, I always find it fascinating how connected our bodies are.)

So yeah… Needless to say, I’m sort of feeling sorry for myself this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been healing great and I’m so much better off than where I was, but weeks like this really PISS ME OFF! I always ask my physical therapist, “Am I going to be stiff forever?”, “Will I ever get full feeling back in the muscles in my back?”… the list goes on with the questions I ask. (James is a saint.) Now, I don’t care about having limited range of motion. To be completely honest, I actually can’t tell that my flexibility in my thoracic is limited, unless I’m sitting and someone wants me to twist and contort my body to look in some direction that is quite frankly impossible for any human being to do unless they turn their chairs. It’s the stiffness that bothers me.

It was getting better… but I guess I’ve back-tracked a bit. Sigh…

IMG_8510

Anyways, thanks for listening to me vent. And again, yes I know this is a part of my life forever, and that it takes years for some people to feel fully like themselves again. But I’m allowed to have my “cry baby” moment from time to time, so this is mine. Deal with it. Or don’t?

But if you don’t, you won’t get to read the post that I originally started writing for this entry which was positive and happy and consisted of an amazing food recipe. Wait, what?! Yeah, I thought so. Mention food and you have just about anyone’s attention. Except for Kate Moss… “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to her. 😆😋 Love ya, Kate! Well not really because I don’t know you and I think you sounded a little… let’s just say “weird”, in Calvin Klein’s new campaign on Instagram, but you feel me.

lijst-in-kate-moss-life-is-a-joke

So here’s the real entry. Thanks for listening to me bitch y’all. I appreciate it. And enjoy 😇😘✌

Hi y’all! Happy Friiiiyayyyyy!! 🍟🍟 (Because it was Friday when I started this draft. So pretend it’s Friday, you’ll be happier while reading it 😋)

So, I keep getting asked for the recipe for the Coconut Blackberry Protein Muffins I posted on my Snapchat last week (👻: carolineheinle), which I made for my brother to snack on during his flight back to Denver… He of course only took one and then asked my Mom in the car, “What IS this??” My Mom’s reply? “They’re actually really good.” (She’s not really into “healthy versions” of food either, but she LOVES these!) And guess what?! He gobbled the whole thing up! So booyah, people, booyah!We have a new recruit on our hands 😛 (Is it weird that I’ve said “booyah” now, two posts in a row? #NerdAlert!)

IMG_8590                                                      I also made a few muffy's with chocolate chips... Because a little dark chocolate never hurt anyone ;)

If you know me well, then you know that I’m a skinny girl with a fat person at heart mentality. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I have a HUGE sweet tooth. BUT I’m also really healthy and have really great self control. So basically, I am balanced. But what I love to do now, is discover new healthy recipes and tweak them to my liking… Basically I peruse Pinterest and drool over a picture of a comfort food dish at night, and then tweak the recipe to make it healthier the next morning – HA! (I’ll replace sugar with Stevia or low-glycemic coconut sugar or honey, replace wheat noodles with zucchini or sweet potato noodles, and so on… But then, I’ll balance it with a “go big or go home” game plan. Come on people, there’s nothing like a REAL bowl of ice cream, a “the works” gourmet cheeseburger or an authentic bowl of Italian pasta every now and then. Let’s not kid ourselves.)

But for the days when we are trying to be healthy but don’t want to compromise our taste buds, these delicious, but good for you muffins are perrrrfect! There’s no flour or sugar and they’re chock full of protein and fiber… A perfect “breakfast on the go” or enticing way to start your day (for you non-breakfast eaters). I on the other hand never have a problem eating breakfast. It’s my favorite meal!! (Aside from dinner… and dessert… and snacks. Basically I love it all, who am I kidding?)

I get most of my protein “treats” recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Blog. If you don’t follow her, you should! She’s known for her “healthy versions” of chocolate desserts, but she has other amazing recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well – Check her out!

IMG_8589

I’ve always known that protein is important but I didn’t really understand how much your body benefits from it (and healthy carbs), until I went through the healing stages of my surgery. Your body will tell you what it needs or is lacking. (Remember what I was telling you in my last post about my recent ice cream and Watermelon cravings?) My body was literally growling, “Give me pancakes!!” “ROARRRR!” “Gimme a big ol’ beefy burger!” 🍔 “Rarrr!” (Can you hear me cat – “rarrr-ing”? 😹) So I listened, but I also wanted to be healthy about it… Hence my new passion/ hobby in making “healthy comfort food” 😊 Because honestly, life’s too short, people – Enjoy it! Plus, I’m an actor, not a 98-pound Super Model. (Shout out to all the models out there!! I’m not hating by any means – y’all are GAWGEOUS dawlings! #StayFlawless)

Okay, so for my version of Chocolate Covered Katie’s Blender Muffins, I added 2.5 scoops of Nutritional Frontiers Vanilla Protein Powder and a carton of Blackberries. (Be sure to add the blackberries after you’ve scooped the mixture into the muffin tins, though. If you mix it into the bowl, the berries tend to bleed too much, so I highly recommend waiting to add them so you still get a full bite of blackberry when you’re ready to eat 😉 ) I topped it with unsweetened coconut flakes and cinnamon for a final touch.

IMG_8588                                                  Follow me on Snapchat for more fun and recipes: carolineheinle

Voila! SO DELISH!

I’m SUPER into blender muffins right now. They’re so quick and easy and really are a great way to start your day.

Enjoyyyyyy! 😀

 

Til next post,

You’re Little Fighter and now Cookie Cutter ;P <3

Memories, Mindfulness and Family

Sometimes I feel an itch to write and be creative… but I don’t know what the hell to write about. Or actually, it’s not that I don’t know what to write, it’s more like I have so many thoughts and ideas spinning around in this crazy head of mine that I don’t know which to grab on to and run with — Argggh!

Some might refer to this as being “heady”, while other fellow writers might file it away under “writers block”. Amy Poehler talks about the hardships of writing in her New York Times Best Seller, “Yes Please!” She basically reiterates over and over that writing is hard and she hates it. “The End.” This would make me laugh out loud because I completely and utterly could relate! (Side note, this was not the only thing she wrote about. It’s a really great read about her journey as an artist, woman and mom. Read it, it’s great.)

IMG_7182

So yeah… writer’s block. See how I’m procrastinating? I first started this draft last week on the eve that my baby brother was coming home for a visit. Right now, he’s exploring life in Denver, Colorado, but decided to come home for his birthday. As we waited for his delayed flight to finally land, I decided to tackle a new entry, but instead, wrote about how I have “writer’s block” and how I asked my Mother to pick up, not one, but three different ice creams from the grocery store so we would have dessert options that night. (Don’t worry, it’s been edited now so I’m going to spare you the boringness… Is that a word?)

But this just goes to show a few things… One, I was starving and trying to tackle a blog entry. (Great idea, Caroline!) Two, when you are going through something, you are too far “in it” to actually see what it’s really about… let alone write about it. Last week I had A LOT on my mind. Today is Sunday and I went to church. I can’t say that all of the things I had issues with this past week were solved, but I can say that I’m at least at peace with all of it heading in the right direction.

I was thinking about this at church earlier and thought about how in my last post, I said I wasn’t religious. I realize now that I guess I don’t consider myself “religious” because I still do things that probably aren’t the most “holy of holy”.

IMG_2161

But isn’t that part of being human? I don’t know. I’m still figuring out my beliefs and life, so I’m not going to put a label on anything… and I actually don’t think I need to. All I know is that I feel better now. Plus, it always makes a person feel better about themselves when they are able to be there for another… and today, I was able to do that for my Mama 0:)

IMG_7834

She came home crying after dropping my brother off at the airport. “My heart hurts,” she sobbed. My Dad responded with, “Uh oh, well maybe you should make an appointment with Dr. Rao this week.” Dr. Rao is my parents’ heart doctor, FYI. (Very funny, DAD.) To be honest, it was sort of funny and made us laugh ;P But she still needed some comfort. So I went over and held my Mom’s head in my arms while she cried (and of course I teared up as well because I’m emotional like that.) But it made me feel good to be able to just give her some support and be there for her… I always feel good when I can do this for her, or my Dad, because it feels like I’m giving something back to them for all of the support they gave me throughout my back surgery and journey with my health.

As we get older, I think it’s harder for us to be there for one another. We all work, have families, and are aspiring for the next best thing… a bigger house or apartment, an engagement ring, a baby, a raise, a promotion, an acting job, our story to be published, night school after work, cooking classes… and then still have adult responsibilities – like paying bills, cleaning our homes, taking care of ourselves and our families, etc…. it goes on. You get it. So yes, it is hard. But my brother said one thing in particular that stuck with me while he was here, and it went somewhere along the lines of that at the end of the day, you really only have family and friends. Because we are all going to die one day, so you might as well spend your days with people who love you and fill your heart up. Sorry, I know I’m getting sappy here but it’s been on my mind lately so I wanted to share it.

IMG_8482                                             The Broham. He might kill me for putting this in... Whatever <3

The other thing on my mind lately? Accessing old memories. Now I’m not talking about the ones where you reminisce about the first time you rode a bike, had your first sip of alcohol or first kiss (though those are fun to look back on too, though ;P ). I’m talking about the ones ingrained in our bodies, brains and make-up. Our human survival instincts. So like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been craving ice cream lately. And watermelon. (It is summer, after all!) So, last week, I had some time to kill in between an audition and a meeting in Union Square and hit up Barnes & Noble.

(I LOVE Barnes & Nobles! I could spend hours in that store… walking around and reading snippets of the books I’ve been “meaning to read”, grabbing a coffee, staring at the cheesecake in the Starbucks food display window – don’t do itttt, don’t dooo ittttt! – and of course, stumbling upon a new Best Seller, Romance Novel, Nutrition discovery or Celebrity Cook Book. Most of the time I don’t end up buying anything… mainly because I’ll go home and purchase it for $10 less on Amazon Prime. (Sorry Barnes, I swear I love you ;P )

IMG_8418 IMG_8419

Anyways, that day, I stumbled upon one book about adrenal fatigue and heightened cortisol levels (which I have suffered from). It also touches on why you crave certain foods and what it could be, that your system is lacking. One of the usual “culprits”?  I C E  C R E A M !  (See? I’m normal!.. And not pregnant, I swear ;P ) This, apparently, usually means that your body is lacking calcium and magnesium. So, I made a mental note to add more leafy greens and yogurt to my diet this week.

There were other interesting food facts, BUT the most interesting of all was something I had already learned about through my acting training but was nice to be reminded of… How our brains store sensory memory. Ice cream triggers memories of childhood – A time in our lives when we were (usually) provided the most codling, comfort and support. I’ve been super stressed lately… hence the reason for my body craving some coddling, comfort and support!  (I’ll have three scoops of the Banana Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor with chocolate sprinkles in a waffle cone, please? 😀 )

Ironically, also last week, my trainer, where I go for Physical Therapy, showed me a new exercise hat involves accessing an old memory we first learned to do when we were babies. Before we could walk or crawl, we learned how to turn over. I’m 11 months post-op now, and I’ve been in physical therapy for 3-4 months. My uncle asked me earlier this week, how my back was doing. “Ya know.” I replied. (Although I’m EXTREMELY grateful when people ask me how I’m holding up, on certain days, it’s more sensitive of a subject matter than others. Oh the human psyche.)

Obviously there are other variables involved on those particular days, but in a nut-shell, I’m still stiff. I’m DEFINITELY not as stiff as I was prior to me beginning physical therapy, but I still have progress to be made. All that being said, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is going to be something that I will be living with for the rest of my life. I have two rods in my back now. They will be there forever. The negative part is that some days I’ll be stiffer than others. (Stress, weather, exercise, lack of exercise, emotions, etc. – they all play their roles.) On the positive side, however; when y’all are 90 years old and look like hunched over question marks, I’ll still be looking like a straight-up exclamation point! Booooo-yahhhh! 😛 LOL! #SorryImNotSorry

IMG_5687                                              My scar a few months post-op. It looks SOOO much better now. A reminder to myself to take a new picture of what it looks like NOW. Regardless of what it looks like though, I LOVE IT. It's my battle wound and a part of who I am.

Anyways, the exercise has me laying down, flat, facing the ceiling with arms out-stretched above my head. I then lift one arm straight towards the ceiling, tongue in cheek, and twist my head towards the opposite arms arm-pit (yummmm). The other arm reaches over and across my body and I use my eyes, by focusing on a specific spot, and my tongue, to help leverage myself to flip over WITHOUT USING MY LEGS. (We are “babies” remember? We don’t know how to use our legs yet.) Sounds weird that your eyes and tongue would help you flip your body over but it definitely helps.

Anyways… So every morning, when I attempt this extremely difficult exercise (yes people, it’s really hard. For ANYONE. – Back surgery or heavy weight-lifter status…) I access an “old familiar feeling” while struggling to turn over. Now, I know I’m an uber-sensitive person and have a great imagination, but I swear there is a familiarity to the motion. As if I’ve already done it before. Interesting, right?! Whatever, I think so. Also interesting that this simple exercise is helping to stretch my ribs out more, make them more malleable and flexible again and also activates and strengthens my core. Yep, INTERESTINGGGG! 😀 😉

Anyways, at the bottom of this post is a video I recorded a couple of weeks, post surgery. I’m still on pain meds and experiencing different shifts and pulls in my body in it. (You’re spine is still fusing for three months after your surgery, keep in mind. So be patient with yourself. And kind. —> MOST IMPORTANT 😉 ) I’m also extremely constipated from all the pain meds so I took up walking (hence my sweatiness in the video). This was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my body and mind! I still walk almost every day! (And dance. Yes, I dance around my neighborhood. My neighbors catch me dancing and singing all the time. They love my crazy ass though, so it’s totally fine ;P )

Some people have recommended swimming to help strengthen and loosen the muscles but, as of right now, that’s not going to work for me. I tried it for the first time yesterday (11 months post-op) and I felt extremely claustrophobic in my own torso afterwards. So I don’t recommend it, but again, every body is different! 😉

IMG_8467

K, enjoy! Oh! And drink aloe water… that helped a lot with constipation too 🙂

Exes and oh’s,

You’re Little Fighter <3

 

 

#UpToUs

Hi y’all!! How’s everyone doing? I, for one, am feeling a bit melancholy this week.

melon collie

I do believe that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s enormous amounts of power in positive thinking, but I also believe that when you feel something you should feel it. With what is going on in the world right now with all of the shootings, bombings, racism, lack of respect for each other as human beings– it’s honestly and truly just sickening.

I know that, as an artist, I am more sensitive than other people. Perhaps not everyone can relate to a situation unless they, themselves, are going through or have gone through it. I get that. So maybe you aren’t affected this week by what went on in Dallas, Minnesota or Baton Rouge… Which is honestly mind-boggling to me, BUT that’s okay. I get it. I accept and respect people for who they are. (Hey! – I have brothers, okay? If you’re male, you hate to feel anythingggg… although, one of my brothers is actually very sensitive and hates to admit it. HA! 😉 )

Anyways, society tells us – men especially – to not cry, to buck up, calm down, relax, shut up… I could go on but you get the point. So I’m just one of the many (yes, there are many others speaking out against this now), to tell you not to be the norm. If you’re upset, frustrated, saddened, etc. right now, then it’s okay! In fact, YOU SHOULD BE! But, get it out. Write it down, journal it, go for a run, listen to some awesome music, cry, scream, draw, box, DANCE!!– Do somethingggg if you don’t want to actually TALK about it — but get it out.

I think it’s great that people are protesting peacefully. But it should be peaceful. Our nation was founded on Freedom of Speech. Police officers around the world are risking their lives to make the cities safe for its citizens’ to voice their concerns, yet they are still being given no respect. Hundreds of people were arrested across the country this weekend. Why?! Why can’t we have a civil conversation and respect each others’ opinions? Before the Dallas shootings, I was actually really proud of NYC for their camaraderie with the protests. I was in the city that day for an audition and it actually seemed like just another day… even the police were being supportive of the protesters. That’s the way it should be.

So, I think if people were more apt to go through the motions of dealing with their feelings, then there would be less violence in the world. People wouldn’t be bottling up all these emotions, causing so much confusion and pent-up aggression, and more people would be communicating (key word here). Relationships would be better… between human beings and countries. I really do think the world would be a better place. But… that’s obviously not going to happen… Or can it?

I just went for a really awesome walk, listening to Meghan Trainor’s new album, “Thank You” (if you haven’t heard it yet – GO LISTEN! It’s phenom!!), and danced around my neighborhood. (If you follow me on social media or know me personally, then you know I dance my feelings out a lot. And most of the time it’s around the streets of my little neighborhood in New Jersey 😛 )

Earlier today, I went to church and it was actually a really awesome sermon because he spoke about what is going on in the world and how priests and our government are doing nothing anymore to help our country. He also added that he doesn’t blame them. Society gets uncomfortable when people bring up God. It’s not “cool” and it’s “outdated”, or perhaps it’s just not “PC” enough. I, for one, don’t really give a shit what you think. I believe in God and I post about it. Whatever.

I’ve been on dates recently and if I’m friends with him on social media, he always ends up bringing up the fact that I’m “religious”. (Which I think is really funny because I don’t really consider myself “religious”. I’m “spiritual”. 😉 ) I was raised Catholic but I don’t believe in a lot of the things the Catholic Church preaches. So I don’t really consider myself religious for that reason. However, I am proud to say that I have a really awesome relationship with God. I think he’s awesome 0:)

IMG_8362

He helped me through my journey with my health, my spinal surgery and he helps me now when I’m feeling lost, overwhelmed, sad, frustrated with my career, or even with stupid frivolous issues — Like “boys”. (Insert eye-roll here.)

peter pan

The priest also spoke about the government and how it is in shambles and being pulled in so many different directions, today. There’s so much corruption within the system, that no one trusts the politicians anymore… Which led him to preach about how it us up to us. “Us” as in “the people”.

Shailene Woodley posted a photo on her Instagram page with the hashtag #UpToUs, encouraging everyone to put race and gender and everything else aside and start being kinder to each other. I completely agree. When I heard about what happened with Philando Castile and the cops in Dallas, I was honestly so disgusted with mankind and our country that I needed to take some time to process all that I was feeling. How can there be so much hate in this world? And why does everyone have to lump people together? Why is racism still an issue? Why do people still see colors? And why do people point out the color of their own skin? Why are we killing one another??! I’ve been told that I don’t really get this because I am white and have never really experienced racism. I admitted that they are right. But, I have experienced injustices throughout my lifetime, just as any other human being has.

Now, I get the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In fact, I really loved what Obama said a few days ago about how, “when people say ‘black lives matter,’ it doesn’t mean ‘blue lives’ don’t matter, it just means all lives matter. But right now, the big concern is the fact that data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents.” Amen! I completely agree with that. However, some people take the movement to complete extremes. These are the “bad apples” of the movement. Just as there are “bad apples” in the police force. So shouldn’t we start looking at all of this as a whole? Especially after what has happened over the past week… or actually over the past month! (Let’s not forget Orlando, people! God bless their souls 🙁 ) And shouldn’t we start looking at how far we have come?

In fact, I think y’all would be happy and interested to hear that I have found it to be harder for me to get a job as a white, thin, blonde, female actor, still building her career, in today’s world. Yep, no lie. It’s all about “ethnically ambiguous”, “plus-sized” and “quirky” humans these days. My manager even said, “I hate to say that your beauty is hurting you… but as a blonde, thin, female today, it’s harder to get you in rooms.” So you should know that. I’m frustrated with this, yes. But I also think it shows just how far our country has come. And that, I am very proud of. So can’t we start looking at the positives in life, take notice of the mountains we have crossed and stop competing with one another? We are all humans. Let’s support each other and start acting like it.

IMG_4443

Sorry guys, I don’t usually talk about politics, religion or this type of stuff in my blog entries or social media posts, but I thought it was important this time. I talk about my feelings… remember? 😉

 

Exes and oh’s,

IMG_4074

 

Two Weeks Post-Op

Sometimes, I think it’s great to tap into that inner confidence and “have no shame” and other times… wellllllll, let’s just say, you should have a little. Apparently, right after I recorded this video, I recorded another one informing everyone that I finally “passed gas”. Ha! Well, although I think it is important for those looking into having this surgery to know that you will be extremely medicated for several weeks (or months, depending on your surgery’s extent and your own pain tolerance) and your muscles will be in “sleep mode” for a while… I don’t think it’s necessary for me to post myself talking about it, though. (See what too much medication can do to a person?? 😛 )

Which leads me to saying, I was HEAVILY medicated in this video. I’m also very thin and look almost ill. I look this way for several reasons… One, your metabolism is sped up a great deal after surgery. My doctor later explained to me that this happens, because your body and nerves are doing extra work to help “repair” your back and readjust to its new alignment. So therefore, you lose weight. (Our bodies are so fascinating, aren’t they?!)

Two, I wasn’t eating that much. For various reasons – One, the pain levels are so extreme that it really makes you have no appetite. Two, you’re on A LOT of medication and they, also, make you have no appetite. Three, because you are so constipated that when you do eat, you feel like your food has nowhere to go… Because you’re so friggin’ backed-up! (Yeah… so this is where I can apologize for the TMI while, at the same time, not really feel bad about saying it… Perhaps because it is written in a blog and not broadcasted across Social Media – ha!)

The constipation… yeah. It sucks. Not going to lie to you guys – I HATEDDDDD it! Sometimes I cried about just the constipation alone. Probably more so because I hate the feeling of not being in control of my own body. (I was never one to take hallucinogens or any of those types of drugs for that same reason.) So not being able to have a bowel movement when I KNEW my body needed to was a pretty shitty experience for me. (No pun intended… but funny that I used it – hahaha! 😛 I crack myself up sometimes. Deal with it.) One day, I remember looking down at my stomach and thinking I looked pregnant. Another time, I remembered eating something and experiencing stabbing pains after having just a few bites because the food had nowhere to go… Or the new food was attempting to push the old food out. (Emphatical on the “attempt”.)

I remember the nurses recommending Senokot. Yeah, that didn’t work. Plus I had already been taking it in the hospital and it did shit. (Not cause me to “shit”. It did nothing for me, is what I’m saying… Just want to clarify again there 😉 ) Stool softeners helped later down the road, but what helped get the ball rolling, was my mother giving me an enigma. I then kept up with Smoothe Move Tea, stool softeners and aloe water, daily. (And not the “Aloe King” aloe water that has all the added sugar in it. Plain aloe water. Put it in a smoothie or mix it with regular water, if you don’t like the taste. Sugar causes constipation as well, so when you’re suffering from bowel problems, best to stay away from it and go the cleaner route.) Eventually I got back to having a normal bowel movement. But that took time… and me weaning off of the pain meds. So if you’re going through this right now – be patient. You’ll eventually poop, I promise 😉

Poop Emoji

Which brings me to the pain medication. Ugh. What a doozy. So I was on Hydromorphone – 5mg (aka Dilaudid). Plus muscle relaxers and a Nuerontin. Every four hours. I was high as a kite and it’s probably the reason why I don’t remember a lot of things… I don’t really remember recording this video. (And I’m sure the “not eating very much” didn’t make any of it any better.

I never felt “pain-free”, but some days, the pain was more bearable than others. It was like a nagging, uncomfortable, gnawing feeling in your bones and muscles. My Mother reminded me the other day about the first time I took a shower. She would have to come in and help me wash my legs after I finished with my torso, because I couldn’t bend or really lift my legs on my own. I would also walk around the neighborhood in a high as F*** state of mind… but hey, it helped!! (Oh yeah! So walking helps the MOST with constipation. Need to tell you that. Walk, walk, walk, and then walk some more. Because that is actually going to be your saving grace. It’s what helped me finally get back on a regular schedule because you’re lower extremities are moving and are “activating”. Plus it helps with your state of mind. Especially for me because I’m a heady person. So it was great to get me out of the house and out of my head and just walk around and enjoy life around me again. I actually still walk almost every day! It’s really a great workout for your mind, body and soul 0:) … But hey! That’s just me. Every BODY is different 😉 )

IMG_5612

Back to the medication… We switched me to Percosets, which did zilch. I think I even had a weird reaction and felt itchy??? I’m not sure though but something like that seems familiar to me. But I know it didn’t do ANYTHING for the pain. So we went back to the Dilaudid. My Mom would come into my room during the night, and wake me up every four hours to give me my pain medication, and every eight hours for the muscle relaxers. So again, to paint the picture more for you, I was high as Fuuuuuuuu** and I still felt uncomfortable. But thank God for pain meds! I don’t even want to know what that pain would’ve felt like, had I not been on anything. So yeah, they suck and have their side effects but hey, they helped get me through all of it and they’ll help you too.

Eventually when I called to get another renewal the nurse asked me how often I was taking it. I told her and she was like, “Ummmm okay. I believe it’s time to start weaning off…” (Yeah, okay lady.) She filled another prescription for me and when I saw Dr. Errico at my follow-up appointment, six weeks post-op, he started weaning me off then. By that time I was feeling sooooooo much better and was actually eager to start the weaning process. (I’m not a pill popper. Never have been, never will be. I’m sensitive to medications, vitamins, basically anything that is “foreign” to my body – so this was an exciting triumph for me.) Sounds crazy and like a distant dream to those of you that perhaps just had your surgery… But don’t worry, you’ll get there too. I promise! 😉

Breathing. Remember when I told you that when I woke up from my surgery I started gasping for air and exclaimed that I couldn’t breathe? And how the nurse told my Mom not to worry – that I needed to get used to my lungs being in a new place? Well that’s why they give you this fancy little contraption.

IMG_5611

To help your lungs get a little work-out in and learn to expand again… but in a new position. It’s also to help prevent pneumonia from setting in. (When you have a big surgery, such as this one, sometimes patients are susceptible to pneumonia because you aren’t moving as much and mucous builds up.) I didn’t get pneumonia, but I did get sick.

My “thing” is sinus infections. Everyone has a “thing”… Some type of weakness that attacks when your immune system is low. Maybe yours is stomach bugs? Or colds? Coughs, migraines, whatever… we all have them. Mine is always sinus related. And that’s what happened… (Another reason why I look a bit “sickly” in the video.) I probably, also, got sick because I wasn’t eating that much :/ Another thing I’ve learned throughout years of being chronically ill and not feeling like myself, is how important it is to take care of yourself. If you aren’t eating and feeding your body, you aren’t gaining fuel or energy. If you work as hard as I do, and aren’t fueling up, you’re running on empty. Eventually, your car dies… or in my case, needs to be “serviced” 😉

So my advice to you: I know you don’t want to eat – I didn’t either. But try. Try really, really hard. I promise it will be helpful and you’ll feel better in the long run. I eventually figured this out… just took a small sinus infection to get me there 😉

So I think that’s all for now… I’ll try to get another post in this weekend and give a small update on what’s been going on in my life. I’ll say that I’m extremelyyyyyy tired and have A LOT going on but it’s all good things! Production company is coming along and I feel like I’ve taken another step in my acting career… but that’s all stories for a different day. Thanks for reading and see y’all again soon!

 

Till next time… Exes and Oh’s!

Your little Fighter,

Care Bear

IMG_5647                                              PS this is my family dog. Isn't he the cutest?! He thinks he's a puppy... He's not. He's ten human-years old. Your only as old as you feel, eh? :P

Balanced and Multi-Tasking (Over the Hospital Hump)

Okay, back to my posts!

One thing that I’ve realized through this blogging process, is that it’s been hard incorporating my life right now, with my past videos from my surgery… Which is one of the reasons why my posts have been lagging. In essence, it’s very similar to the problem I’m facing with starting my own production company (YEP! So exciting! 😀 ) and writing, casting and producing my own web series (double YEP!!) Also, very exciting!! 😀 … Aaaaand overwhelming. Oyveigh!

IMG_7196

Although I’ve always been an excellent multi-tasker (most women are 😉 ), I’m realizing that it’s nearly impossible to wear nineteen different hats, as we get older and deal with such tasks as starting our own businesses.

IMG_7306As we get older, we need coffee! & lots of it!

So, in order to balance things out, I’ve decided to minimize my verbiage in these posts and just unleash the blog videos I recorded during the different stages of my healing, post-surgery. (At least until I’ve caught up with the present day.) Now, I’m sure most of you live more in today’s “instant gratification” day-in-age and will appreciate this. For those of you that want to read more, I still plan to write a brief synopsis with each post (like this one). And I’m sure sometimes I’ll have more to say than others (also like this one). Plus, as soon as we are caught up with the present day, I’ll get back to the writing. I thank you all for following my journey and please continue to comment if you have any questions! (I’m extremely busy right now but I will ALWAYS get back to you – so sit tight!! 😀 )

So now that that’s clarified… Moving on! …

This video was taken just a few days after I left the hospital. I look back at it and think, “Oh my!” Ha. “I was extremely high!” (On pain killers, that is.) I was saying recently, how when you look back on something after your “out of it”, you often realize how “in it” you were. (“What the hell is she talking about??”, you’re asking.) Well, to be more specific, I was recently talking to a friend about how I’ve looked back, and now fully admit and realize, that I was depressed. I was. SO. Depressed. Before my surgery. I actually almost went on depression medication. I had finally reached a point where I didn’t want to be sick anymore and thought, “Well, maybe I am depressed.” “Maybe I’m doing this to myself.” “I should at least give the medication a try to see if it helps.”

I’ll never forget asking my primary care doctor if she thought she should write me a prescription. “I don’t think so,” she said. “Not now, at least.” I gave her an inquisitive look, which prompted her to say, “You have every reason to be depressed right now. You don’t feel well. It’s normal and completely natural to feel depressed when you’re feeling chronically ill or are in pain.” I sighed a huge sigh of relief and thanked her for believing in me. I thanked her for validating my feelings and making me feel less crazy. And then I went home and cried.

IMG_7236

So granted, I had every reason to be depressed. Every friggin’ reason. But I’m happy that I didn’t go on medication and fought through it. I’m happy I decided to have my surgery, and get myself healthy and balanced (on all different levels) again. And I’m happy where I am right now. Yes, I am dealing with stiffness in my muscles right now, but I will work through this and continue to get better. For I look back now and see how far I’ve come. I look back and see how dark my life was then. It’s the strangest feeling, but I realize how sad and alone I felt. And how alive and bright I feel now. I’m so thankful to be out of it all. And I’m thankful for videos such as the one below to remind me of this.

One more thing before I wrap… I also remember craaaaaving carbs when I was healing. Before my surgery, I stayed away from gluten. And sugar. I was a nervous head case because I didn’t know what was causing what and wasn’t living LIFE! After my surgery, my body was saying, “FEED ME!!” Nam, nam, nam, nam!

So one morning (probably the morning I recorded this video), I woke up and asked my Mom to make me pancakes. “Say whaaaaaaa?!?!” she replied. (Well maybe she didn’t say it like that, but you get the gist.) I don’t think she had heard me ask her for pancakes in… I don’t even know how long. Ha! And granted, I started with gluten-free flour pancakes, but it was the first step towards my now balanced diet. Now, I eat a burger when I’m craving a burger. And ice cream when my sweet tooth is calling. I have dark chocolate almost every day and a cup of coffee in the morning. I will forever be a healthy eater (I actually enjoy healthy and “clean” foods), but I also really like food and enjoy a delicious splurge!

IMG_5608 IMG_5609Gluten-Free, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Cashew Butter Pancakes!!! Oh my! A mouthful... LITERALLY!!

Anyways, all this goes back to how this surgery saved my life and balanced me again – through body, mind and spirit. (Thanks again Dr. Errico!) And thanks for watching and reading y’all! God bless 0:)

***Side note, I lost weight after my surgery. My doctor explained to me that all patients do after the surgery because your metabolism is sped up due to your body attempting to heal itself and the nerves regenerating. I had a big “aha” moment then and said to him, “So THAT’S why I’ve been so hungry and craving burgers and pancakes!” It became my excuse to eat whatever the hell I wanted to while healing! Haha, wink, wink! ;P

 

Your little fighter,

Care Bear

IMG_7353                                                   Behind the scenes of a photo shoot I posted about on my Instagram page. (Insta Handle @carolineheinle or follow me on Snapchat: carolineheinle)

 

PS Don’t judge my scrubby T-shirts and my no-make up appearances in the coming videos… I’m candid!

A “Miracle” To Me

I’m not the most tech-savy of people… I know basic things for my Macbook and learn a few new things from time to time (like how to toggle from ap to ap using just my keypad – thanks Tim from Apple support 😉 ), but otherwise, when something isn’t working, my foot has pretty much been shot. So this video took a little while to get up.

I recorded it last week during the excitement of the New York Post and Daily Mail publishing articles about my story and promoting my blog, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get it to import to my laptop. (Actually, I know the reason now but it’s way too complicated and boring to go into… trust me!) Anyways, I’ve been on the phone with Apple Support for the past few days resolving this issue, which is still ongoing, but they were at least helpful enough to get this up for y’all since I’m trying harder now to be more diligent with my posts 😉 So thanks Apple Support! You rock!! Aaaaand I will be calling you again tomorrow.

So, please take the time to watch the video below. It is my thank you to NYU Langone for giving me the opportunity to share my story and for being so supportive when I first told them I was doing this several months ago 🙂 My thank you to Sophia at the New York Post – it was a pleasure speaking with you and answering all of your questions! You’ve been so great 🙂 Thanks to James Gordon and the rest of the Daily Mail team for reaching out to me and inquiring further about my story. Thanks to ALL of you, more people have been reached and my blog has been more widely shared.

It is also my thank you to all of YOU GUYS who are reading this and continue to follow my journey 0:) You’re support and viewership continues to encourage me to keep going with this. And I especially want to say thank you to those of you that have shared your story in return!! You’ve helped me in SO many ways, and it’s been really nice connecting with other people that have gone similar things.  Support is so important in life… especially when we are struggling. This is one thing that I KNOW I have learned from all of this.

My mom came back from seeing an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor yesterday, whom I recommended she see, and I asked her how it went. “I almost kissed him!! He’s incredible!” she exclaimed. And then admitted that she thinks she has a crush on him… Now my mother is happily married but I know exactly what she was talking about. (I have crushes on all my doctors remember- ha!) When someone takes the time to really and truly listen to you and hear what you are going through… and then HELPS you through it?? Well that is an amazing gift that you have just been given.

I’ve been experiencing neck pain and tightness in certain areas of my back and shoulders over the past few days. (I’m sure it’s because of all of the new exercises and stretches I am doing now, and as one muscle gets freed up, a new one tightens.) Anyways, I went to see James (my PT) today and told him about it… and then I admitted that I was tired. Tired of the forward and backwards motions that are constantly going on in my life. I went into more detail with him (because now that he knows me, he’s pretty much my mental health therapist too- LOL) and he just listened… he gave me a little bit of advice (although I already kinda know the answers)… aaaand then tried to steal my water bottle- ha! (He monitors my water drinking now too 😛 ) Thanks James- YOU ROCK TOO!

So regardless of the issues going on right now, thank you to everyone for this little miracle I have experienced over this past year and for giving me the opportunity to share it with y’all. THAT is what The Post meant when they said my surgery was a miracle… cuz it was a miracle to ME! 0:)

So thanks for reading/ watching, y’all! ‘Til next post… XOXO

 

Your little fighter,

Care Bear <3

Before I Move On…

Well good morning my beautiful peeps! 😎 I’m currently sitting on set for a Jack Daniels Photoshop and figured since I’ll probably be sitting around for a few hours, I might as well stick to my word (my word is my bond, after all 👊🏼😉) and work on my next post. If you’re in the industry, you understand the whole “hurry up and wait” concept. If you’re not, well, it’s exactly the way it sounds. You MUST be on time (something I am still working on in the social part of my life) in order to sit around for hours while production sets up the equipment, the lighting, tests the lighting, tests the sound, goes over the schedule, eats a few bagels.., (LOL) etc… If you’re one of the main talent, however, this part can go by quickly because you’re too busy getting picture ready 😉  If you’re not, you’re pretty much sitting there twiddling your thumbs, so best to bring something to keep you occupied 👍🏼

image

Anyways, back to my Scoliosis Surgery. Before I move on to talk about my recovery at home and explain the next video on my YouTube Channel (click that cute little floaty icon on the screen to check out my vids 🙃 ), I think it’s important for those interested in having the surgery to know that it is, BY NO MEANS, a cake walk.

FINDING THE RIGHT MEDS FOR YOU

I’m on of those people where, once I’ve gone through something, and I’m out of the dark stages, I’m great at seeing the “light” or the positive in it all. (Again, once I’m OUT OF IT, so cut yourself a break if you’re not.) But not everyone is like that, and as I said, I want to be as honest as I possibly can in my blog. So, you need to know that I was in A LOT of pain and on A LOT of medication. The one that worked for me was called Dilaudid. If you’ve been following my blog, you know from one of my past posts that the hospital has to try different medications to see which one works for youAnd again, everyone’s bodies are different. I don’t react well to Oxycodone. If you remember from two posts ago, they switched my drip medication from the Dilaudid to the Oxy to see if it would be better… it was not. Also, as I said before, the first night in the hospital was the worst night of my life. I was in SO much pain and felt very alone. Granted I had family and my high school bestie (love you Mondizzle) with me up until the early evening, but after they left, I was alone with the pain.

IMG_5574

You’re hooked up to an IV that allows you to self-medicate. Which sounds great in retrospect. But it’s a BITCH!!! Like seriously, capital B-I-T-C-H. You basically end up falling asleep because you’re so drugged up. And then you’re woken up by the pain an hour later. And you can’t move, to make yourself more “comfortable”. This was probably the most aggravating part for me because I’m such an “I’ll do it myself” kinda chic. (Ask the boys I used to work with cocktailing… If they weren’t ready with carafes and the bucket of ice when I was, I peaced the F-out, arms full and line-backer-ing my way through the crowd. Sigh, it definitely didn’t benefit my whole spine situation.)

   IMG_1167
Perhaps another reason why my spine got to where it did... I carry too many turkeys ;P
IMG_2161 

And to be fair, Skybar wasn't ALL bad ;) Love and miss you guys!!!

I had to buzz a nurse to ask them to adjust me, roll me, shift me, (then later in my stay), help me stand up, help me sit back down, sit on a special bed pan seat and eventually help me graduate to the Crimson throne. If you’ve been reading my blog (or know me) you know I drink/ drank a lot of water (I was addicted. No, seriously. ADDICTED. I’ll definitely get back to talking more about this in future posts.) I curtailed the water drinking habit before the surgery and STOPPED the crazy hydration habit during my hospital stay. One, because it hurt too much to get up,  and two, the nurses in the night shift were so grouchy and mean 😳

IMG_6160

YOUR HOSPITAL CARETAKERS

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been raving about NYU Langone and I still mean everything I’ve said. My Doctor- awesome! His assistant- awesome! My nurses during the day shifts- loved!! I even liked a few during the evening… But some?? Ugh, when I clicked my buzzer to ask someone to help me roll over or pee, I literally prayed that they would come within half an hour. Or that it wouldn’t be “the grouchy one”. (I do realize, and you should too, that not every establishment is perfect and there’s always a few bad eggs. That’s life. Deal with it.) I remember one night, hitting the buzzer and it taking so long for someone to come help me roll over that I finally just did it myself. I wasn’t supposed to, but of course I’m an impatient person and eventually just taught myself how to roll over just the right way to not hurt myself TOO much. Other nights… well I just cried.

Before I switched to a private room on the last two days (Oooooooo! I’m sooo fancyyyyy!), I shared a room with an elderly woman who wasn’t doing very well. I’m not sure why she was in the hospital… maybe my Mom remembers? (Mom? Wanna chime in?) Hey! Pain killers, remember? Cut my brain a break! Anyways, one day, my Mom decided not to come visit me so that she could, instead, get my room and the house clean and more functional for me. And, that day, I had NO visitors. None. I cried. I cried a lot that day. (Woah, I just welled up with tears thinking about that… Maybe I’m just as good at pushing those feelings down and burying them as the next person…)

My old acting coach in LA says that it actually takes the body 90 seconds for the brain to recognize a feeling, for it to travel throughout our bodies and then release. Over. Done with. Just 90 seconds. I meeeaaan, you’ll still be sad after 90 seconds, I’m sure, but he always says that if you just opened yourself up and let yourself really “feel it”, you wouldn’t be in as much pain as you still are 90 seconds after the fact. But we don’t want to do that. Humans are still animalistic and our survival instincts kick in. But what we think is protecting our heart, is actually hurting it.

Anyways… the elder woman next to me had a daughter that came to visit her, I’d say, every other day. You could tell she was a sweetheart when 30 minutes after I initially pressed my call button, she peeked her head around the curtain and asked me if I needed anything. (Maybe she just wanted me to stop that constant buzzing sound, but I’m a pretty good judge of character and annoying sound or not, she wanted to help.) “I have to go to the bathroom,” I said very shyly. (A person never feels as vulnerable as when someone is helping them go to the bathroom. I mean, toddlers? Different story. They don’t have that experience of already taking care of themselves. But an elder? We gotta hand it to them. They’ve lived a full life of independence and now, they have to accept the fact that someone needs to help them wipe their asshole. That, my friends, takes courage. And I’ll admit, I didn’t have that much courage with it… plus I was constipated. Ha! But I did have to still pee a lot. (Yes, I tailed back the water drinking habit but fluids also help with constipation, guys! God!) 💩😆😆  So… the second I felt like I had a little more range of motion in me, I was reaching for those wet wipes instead of that buzzer.

Oh!! The wipeys! Ha- forgot about the wipeys! That’s another “fun” part about the hospital stay… and even throughout your first week at home. You can’t shower or bathe. I forget why… I think one reason is that you still have a huge incision running down your back so you shouldn’t get it wet in the beginning.

IMG_5636
This was taken probably a couple weeks after I returned home from surgery. My Mom was afraid to pull that last piece of protective tape off. Dr. Errico kindly did it for us at my follow-up visit :)

 

But also because you can’t really move. I mean, I was walking two, almost three days after surgery but with a walker. And your movements are still pretty stiff and limited. So instead, you are “bathed” with wet wipes. I mean, you feel “clean-ER” after your wet wipe bath, but you definitely don’t feel clean.

IMG_5840
Sorry but I thought this was hysterical when I saw this meme while I was home healing... I'm sure you'll be able to relate eventually...

Ugh! And the nurses… So you are usually bathed in the morning. A nurse that was still on the night shift comes in to wake you and to give you your “wet wipe bath” and tooth-brush and small basin to brush and spit in. I remember one morning I asked if I could sleep a little longer and do it later. She gladly said yes (I actually had never seen this nurse say yes so nice to me before- LOL)… and then never came back. “Lady!,” I thought. “I don’t want to take a wet wipe bath as much as you don’t want to give me one, but I still need to feel clean, Gawddamnit!” Let’s just leave it at the nurses on the night shift weren’t the nicest. And some on days, weren’t the greatest either. But the ones who were AWESOME (shout out to you guys!!!! <3 ) made up for them 🙂 And they do have someone who comes around and checks on you and asks you how your stay is going. I eventually hinted that one nurse wasn’t the most “gracious”. The woman instantly jumped on it and asked if I wanted her to be removed from working with me. I felt bad saying yes but she could tell I wanted to. She removed her anyways, no questions asked. So NYU Langone is awesome in this regard too. (I’m not a tattle guys, quit judging me. 😏 )

YOUR EMOTIONS

K, back to my elderly roommate’s daughter helping me… **(And I do realize this is getting long, but hang in there. As I catch up to present day on these posts they’ll get shorter. It’s just been a while and there’s so much to tell!! Plus I labeled each section in case you want to skip to the ones that will be most beneficial for you 😉👍🏼 )

… I remember crying in that bathroom after she helped me there. I felt very sorry for myself because no nurse came to help me and I had no visitor there that day to lend me a hand. I also was on a massive pain-killer/ medication rollercoaster, so again, I know the meds had a play in it. I also remember having a good cry with one of my favorite nurses that day. I was venting about how no one came to see me that day. One of my besties from college got lost and went to the wrong hospital. Long story short, she had to cancel and would come to see me the next day. We had a good laugh about this again recently… she was re-explaining to me the surprised look on the patient she visited’s face that day when she walked in cheerfully and peeled back her curtain. “You’re not Care!!” 😳😔😂😂 “I’m going to go now…” Hahahaha! I have awesome friends. 😘

But that day, I didn’t find it very funny. I said I understood but I was definitely disappointed. And I also admitted to my nurse that I was slightly upset with my Mom for not coming. (Ugh! I’m so mean!! The poor woman was home cleaning/ getting ready for my hospital return and I was secretly upset with her. (Do you see what medications do to you?? Or I guess what trauma does to you? But I think that’s why I started crying… Because I knew I shouldn’t be upset with her but I couldn’t control NOT being upset with her and therefore just felt awful about it. JEEZ! I am a very complex human being, huh??) So I eventually ended up going on an emotional roller coaster, sobbing about things from my past, and you would think the poor nurse would think I was crazy, but nope. She was totally fine with it. In fact, she hopped right on my band wagon and told me something about what she was still struggling with. Then she looked out the window and started to cry. Yep.

This was an awesome experience though. Because it snapped me back to reality. This is what I mean about sharing with other people the things that we are going through/ have gone through. It snapped me out of my whole “I feel so sorry for myself” state of mind, and brought me back down to the, “everyone goes through hardships” planet. I’m great at being strong for other people. And so that’s exactly what I did. I sat there and listened to her, let her talk it out, gave her advice and let her have a little cry. We formed a bond. Aaaand then I asked her to take me off my Neurontin medication so it wouldn’t mess with my emotions anymore. Ha! (Disclaimer: I don’t advise you to do this. I almost asked her to put me back on it after she took me off. Double HA!) And later, I lost it and hysterically cried to the new PT guy on shift and refused to do anymore stairs. The poor chap #GodBlessHisSoul 😔😆😋

Feel free to watch my PT/ Walking Up Stairs Video Again ;)

THE PAIN

Now the pain… “Scoliosis Kerri” (I realize I have a lot of Kerri’s in my life so I’m giving them each nicknames so you can still follow- haha!) and I were texting this week and I was looking back through my texts to her in the hospital. Let’s just say they weren’t pretty! And I had forgotten just how kinda awful it was. So, here it goes… The best way to explain the pain I felt after the surgery, and while in the hospital, is like your body is permanently uncomfortable. And the pain is kind of like a gnawing feeling in your torso. The medications help, but not enough. I was switched from a self-medicating IV to a pill when I was moved out of ICU. The nurses came in every four hours to give me pain meds and every 8 hours to give me muscle relaxers. I forget how often they gave me the other medications (Neurontin to calm the nerves, iron for my anemia, Dolcolax to soften your stool- which does SHIT, by the way… no pun intended, my regular vitamins, and a few other drugs that I can’t remember…) And every time they came in with the pain killer I’d say I that I think I might need more… but then I’d back down because I was too chicken-shit and thought I’d over-medicate. (I know, I know- the way I think sometimes…) 🙄

The thing about my body is I didn’t respond well to ANY pain medication. The Dilaudid made my entire body shake uncontrollably. You know that shiver that happens in your body when your cold? How about that same shiver that takes place in your bones and makes your teeth chatter when your deathly scared? (Am I the only person that’s ever felt that?) Well that’s what would happen to me. My Mom would ask me if I was cold because I was shaking so much. And I remember it being pretty violently. My girlfriend, who is a nurse, came to visit me twice (love her) and I remember even seeing some concern on her face when she saw the way I was reacting to the medication. Clearly the meds were too much for my body and it still wasn’t masking the pain. (Imagine what I would’ve felt if I had no pain medication whatsoever?? OMG I can’t even.)

IMG_5571

The meds also made everything feel like a dream. You know when you wake up from a dream and you can remember what happened but don’t remember the details? That’s what I think about when I think of my hospital stay. I know it happened, and remember the major points, but the rest is all a blur. I also remember only eating a few bites of every meal… For a few reasons. One, because I was in pain. You’re not really hungry when you’re that uncomfortable. Two, I was really constipated. I didn’t poop once in the hospital. So even though I wasn’t eating much, I felt really “full”. On the last day, the nurse gave me an enigma in the morning. And I think I might have went a little bit?… I think. Again, I don’t really remember a lot of stuff and things are all hazy, but something like that happened… Moving on.

I also remember the last day. Dr. Oren and the anesthesiologist came to check on me and asked me if I wanted to go home. I remember feeling torn. Obviously I wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed, but I was also really scared! Like, was I ready to go home? Will I be okay if I’m at home away from doctors and nurses in case something catastrophic happens??!… Like, if I roll over the wrong way and suddenly my rods snap, the bolts pop out and my back splits completely open?!?! Will I really be okay?!? (Yes, this is the way my brain works. Not really but kinda. It’s pretty exhausting sometimes.) “Yeah… I’m ready…”, I replied sheepishly.

THE RIDE HOME

I remember giving the nurse I cried with a hug goodbye (or a somewhat hug. I still had limited movement, keep in mind), and saying goodbye to a few of the other nurses that were so awesome to me. Aaaand I remember being TERRIFIED of the car ride home. Past patients and my nurses all warned me that it wasn’t going to be fun. And it wasn’t. I definitely cried again. (I cry a lot throughout this experience… I guess you’re getting that?) I had two pillows behind me in the passenger seat shaped like a giant “T” and yet still, every bump, nick, pot hole in the road and swerve of the car was the complete death of me. You know when you’re hating an experience and you just keep bracing yourself and asking “When is this going to end?!??” 😩😩😫 (aka “When are we going to be there??!”) That’s what that trip felt like for me. My Mom felt really bad. So brace yourself for that ride… it ain’t pretty.

STAY POSITIVE

I know this all sounds so terrible but I wanted to give you a heads up on what you are in for and then follow by saying, “Look at me now!!” 

Be Everything
I did this photoshoot with the very talented Photographer Akintayo Adewole just 7 months post-surgery!

One of my manager’s at Skybar gave me a pep talk when I was waiting for my roommate to pick me up from my shift and take me to the Emergency Room (read back in my posts if you’re interested to hear about this one… OOF, it’s a doozy. **SIDE NOTE: It has nothing to do with my Scoliosis. I had several things wrong with me before my surgery.) Anyways, he actually would say to me, “The mind is a powerful thing. You can talk yourself out of/ into anything. Especially when it comes to the body and your health. He knows his shit. Follow him on Insta if you liked that one 😉 Shout out to Aid! So KNOW that you will be okay, and I promise you, you will be. 😇🙏🏼😚

IMG_5562 IMG_5711 
Another perk of the surgery- you're back is straighter! Before and After pics :) AND my back still had some shifting to do after the second pic!

I just left PT and was talking to James about all I’ve been through over the past three years with my health (in addition to having the Scoliosis pain and surgery), and he reminded me by saying, “Wow!! You’ve really been through a lot!” “Yeah…” I replied. He said, “Do you know that? Do you see how far you’ve come?” and I gave a hesitated “Yeah.” “DO YOU THOUGH??”, he seemed concerned. “Hahahaha! Yeah, no, I do,” I laughed and smiled graciously. I guess I was just hesitating because I had forgotten all these things. That’s why this blog is nice for me as well… because it reminds me of how strong and how positive I am now. So if I can do it, you can do it too!! 🙂 Keep going scoli sisters and brothers and anyone else struggling with illnesses, depression, hardships, etc.- WHATEVER! You’ll get there. I’m confident that you will. We ALL will! Thanks for reading 😉

‘Til next Post- Exes and Oh’s!!

You’re little fighter,

Care Bear