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 👍🏼

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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.

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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.)

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

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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!!” 

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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. 😇🙏🏼😚

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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

Update on my Recovery and “I Remember When…”

So, I’m starting this off by saying, once again, that I’m sorry about my delay in posts. And I PROMISE to get better about this moving forward. I was in a temp position in NYC for two and a-half months and it literally took over my life. A 3 to 4 hour commute (total) every day, on top of an 8+ hour work-day was not the most ideal for me, 6 months post-op… Plus it had been a while since I had even worked in a desk position. SO! Needless to say, I had to say goodbye to it. But when every door closes, a new one opens and now I have more time for posts such as these! So YAY! 😀

To give you some more background on where I’m at right now, I started working out again after my 3 month follow-up with Dr. Errico. BUT, keep in mind, I had been walking almost daily around my neighborhood since the day after I got back from my procedure (aka. my 6-day stay at NYU Langone in NYC), so I felt like I was ready. I had been recommended by a friend who had already had the surgery to walk, walk, walk…  and then walk some more in order to get some movement in the lower extremities to activate the bowels. (When your on pain killers with a dosage of every four hours, you get a BIT constipated… sarcasm on the “BIT” part). Anyways, I was excited to be working out in a gym again. I felt like I was making strides with my recovery… but like many things in my life, I got a little overzealous. (I’m an Aries… aka. Fire Sign… aka. I put my ALL into EVERYTHING I do… Can you blame me now??)

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How ’bout now?

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I met with my friend, who is a physical trainer and former body builder, who showed me some exercises to do to strengthen my back muscles… Yes, I said former body builder. No, I am not a huge person. Yes, I think I’m a machine… Moving on. SO, on top of the commute, my “reach in the dark” workouts and the cold weather that I still don’t think I’m re-accustomed to, my muscles started to get super stiff and I ended up pulling a muscle in my back :/ Yeahhhhh, I know, I know, I know, I know!

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But I’m okay again! YAY!! 😀 I’m in physical therapy and feeling awesome again. I just needed to take a few steps back again in order to move forward. (It’s amazing what some patience and a little TLC can do for a person. <3 ) My physical therapist, also, reminded me that I had a “really big surgery”, and “not too long ago” (8 months ago now, to be precise – crazy how time flies!!) Which was something I really needed to hear. I’m really hard on myself. I’m also one of those people who still thinks she can do a back flip on a trampoline the same way that she used to do them when she was twelve. (I know. I’m slightly crazy. That’s why I’m an artist – insert wink face here.)

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My birthday was last month and I was getting together with my very dear friend and also agent for a catch-up dinner and drinks. (I just have to add, I feel very blessed to have her in my life. Not many people have this type of relationship with their agents. In fact, I’d say she is my friend first and agent after that… We just get each other. We knew each other from our past and were reconnected when I moved back to the east coast. I think the Universe brings people (back) into your life for reason(s). Some people stay for a fleeting moment and teach you a life-long lesson. Others stay a while, go on the ride with you, vent with you, cry with you, laugh with you and enlighten your world. So thanks, my love, for all you do. You’re a badass chick and I ad<3re you.) Sorry. Needed to add that sappy moment, cuz I’m warm and fuzzy like that 0:) …

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… Anyways, she was looking for fun things for us to do in the Union Square area and came across a sex toy museum. (Sorry, this is where it maybe gets PG-13 rated?) Apparently that night they were having an exhibit where you could jump on large inflatable boobs. (I know that sounds weird, but check it out, it looks like a lot of FUN!!) But I bring this up just as another example of what kind of person I am. You see, she was the one who said, “Caroline just had back surgery. She probably shouldn’t be jumping around on large inflatable breasts like we are fifteen again.” Well, perhaps we all shouldn’t be… but hey, whatever keeps us young at heart, right?! 😉 So no gentleman, I will not be posting an pictures of us “pillow fighting” on large inflatable boobs here. Sorry to disappoint.

Okay, so now back to my back surgery and my hospital stay. I recorded this video in my hospital bathroom the day before I was going to leave. I remember trying to record it in my hospital bed, and the nurses kept coming in and out and I remember just feeling weird… I’m a pretty open person but some things you just have to do privately. Like bathroom selfies and documenting your recovery from back surgery. (Hmmm…. ?)

After watching this again, I realize how much I had forgotten about my surgery. And James’s words of “You had a really big surgery,” resounded loudly in my head. (My physical therapist’s name is James. He’s from New Zealand. He’s really cool.) I had forgotten all about the pain I felt, the ups and downs of my emotions… some because of what I had been through and some because of all of the medications I was on. Dude, that ish is no joke… the shakes I’m talking about in the video? Ugh, those shakes were the WORST!! For those of you looking into having Scoliosis surgery, I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just being honest. BUT you should also know that everyone’s body is different.

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For instance, my very dear friend from high school had her surgery with Dr. Errico in 2007 and the pain medication she was prescribed made me want to puke and did zilch for me. The stuff I was on did nada for her. (You see?)

Kerri was actually the one who inspired me to have the surgery (Thanks Ker! Love you long time <3 ) and had nothing but amazing things to say about Dr. Errico 🙂 and his team. I remember seeing mutual friends commenting on her Facebook page those many years ago, asking how she was feeling, etc. I instantly sent her a message: “Oh my gosh! Did you have the surgery?!” Of course she got back to me right away and told me that it was both the best and worst thing she had ever been through. (Apparently her pain medication caused her to hallucinate and see sharks and small children swimming around her bedside… Me? I just felt funny. And was an emotional MESS!! Again, ya see??)

Anyways, I needed to hear more about this “Spinal Fusion” and Scoliosis surgery thing. I’d say this was when I started researching it here and there, when I had the time. I always knew I would have to have the surgery at some point in my life, but when you’re younger, you don’t ever think it’s “going to happen to you”. We’re all invincible then. (And I’m STILL invincible now… remember?? 😉

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I remember Kerri sitting behind me in Chemistry class and teasing me, “I can see your cuuuuurve…” I, of course, would laugh. And then a few minutes later, I’d turn back around, (on a serious note) and say “Can you really??,” deadpan but devastated. (Yes, I was heady back then too.) I told her I was wearing my brace at night… wasn’t it working??

Dr. Altongy, my doctor that first diagnosed me in Summit, NJ when I was fifteen, told me back then that I’d probably have to have surgery at some point in my life, but I don’t think I really “heard it” until I got older. To be honest, I was too preoccupied with another trauma going on in my life that I won’t get into… (I’m an open person, but some things need to be kept private. #SorryImNotSorry.) Well, Kerri planted the seed that my Charleston Brace wasn’t going to correct everything, and it remained in the back of my mind until one day, after I graduated from college…

I was working for my Dad (I’ve done this almost every summer since I was twelve), and it was a slow day at the office. I was feeling some new aches and pains in my back (probably because my body was confused by this new “desk job thing” and wondering what happened to a few hours of class a day and all the booze– Oh URI, I will never forget you ;P Shout out!! ) Anyways, I started researching Scoliosis and eventually stumbled upon a page that told me that people with Scoliosis have a life expectancy of ten years less than the average person’s. Wait, WHAT?!? (Probably my first lesson not to believe everything you read on the internet.)

I called up my then boyfriend, hysterically crying, while my “boss” wasn’t looking of course, and his response? Well, he started laughing at me. (Shocker.) I was being “crazy”. Then my Dad walked in and yelled at me for being on the phone… “Dad! Don’t you know I’m dying!! Don’t you care?!” (Huh?) I explained to him what I had found out… and then HE started laughing. (Double shocker… are you seeing a pattern here?) ***Side note, to be fair, they are both great men and my Dad has a tendency to laugh when he’s concerned.

Okay… so now fast forward to August of 2015 when I had my surgery. All summer long I was texting Kerri with questions about the surgery, asking for advice and recommendations, how she felt, before, during and after… and probably the best texts were over whether or not I could drink at the wedding I was in the weekend before. “Why wouldn’t you be able to drink, Car?” “Well the instructions say no alcohol for two weeks before surgery!” (I’m a bit of a rule follower, if you can’t tell.) Kerri’s response, “Car, drink whatever the hell you want. I was so nervous, I probably drank all the way up until the night before!” (Hahaha she still makes me laugh 😛 And yes, I drank and had a great time at the wedding 0:) ) So needless to say, feeling nervous and anxious before your surgery is completely normal! I remember even having second thoughts and my mother reassuring me that I was making the right decision. And both of my Kerri friends reassuring me, as well: “Dr. Errico basically invented the surgery,” Kerri (who had the surgery) said. “Car, my boyfriend knows all about Dr. Errico and says you are in great hands!”, Kerri (my agent) said. (Her boyfriend is a Resident.) And then my cousin, who used to sell the devices that are actually put in your back, also knew all about Dr. Errico and rest-assured… I WAS IN GOOD HANDS! (I already knew I was in good hands, but sometimes it’s just nice to be validated 😉 )

Kerri (the one who also had the surgery) promised that she would come visit me in the hospital… and sure enough, even though we hadn’t seen each other since high school, (YEP!) there she was, right by my bed side 0:)

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No one will ever understand what you go through with Scoliosis and the surgery, until you’ve met someone who has. (Shout out to the other lovely ladies with Scoliosis that I’ve met just in this past year! 😉 ) I’m not saying that it is this awful disease… I am fully aware that there are worse things out there. But as Oprah once said, “Pain is pain, is a pain, is a pain,” and (also) “All pain is the same.” So basically, her message: if you’ve ever suffered (whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, whatever it be…), you can relate to someone else’s hardships. It’s people that start thinking “Well my pain is/ was worse than yours!” are foolish and competing with the wrong people.

Sorry… went off on a little philosophical tangent there. Anyways, the support of my family, friends and my doctors helped me get through whatever aches and pains I was feeling, post-surgery. Dr. Errico and Dr. Oren came to see me every single morning throughout my 6-day stay at NYU Langone- no lie! (Okay, minus the last day. But it was a Saturday… can you blame the man?? ;P ) I was definitely in good hands there. And if you are reading this because you are thinking of having surgery to correct your Scoliosis, I can confidently say that I know you will be in good hands too 🙂

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So I hope my video and this post has helped give you some answers, feel a little more secure about a decision you are making or just helped in some form or fashion/ inspired you some how. Because that’s my goal with this blog. If I can touch or help just one person, I’ve done my job 0:) Comment below if you have any questions or just want to voice some concerns about your Scoliosis journey… or WHATEVER! Honestly! I’m your sounding board. Ciao for now! And again, I PROMISE the next post will be soon 😉

P.S. My next video is up on my You Tube Channel: Caroline Heinle , if you can’t wait till the next blog entry 😉 Exes and oh’s, times a million!! <3

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Your little fighter,

Care Bear