Today is the 5 Year Anniversary of my Spinal Fusion Surgery on May 15, 2018. Usually, when I look at a milestone date, I think to myself “boy, that time flew fast!”. I cannot say that this time. This has been the longest 5 years of my life!
For decades my orthopedic and neurosurgeon doctors said “you don’t want that surgery” and I believe them whole-heartedly. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The first time I opened my eyes in the ICU I just knew I was in hell. It was a 10-hour surgery to rebuild and straighten my spine. Although you could not see any emotion from me at the time, you could see the motion of my thumb pushing the morphine button due to excruciating pain. However, on the inside I was so excited to learn that the surgery was a success and I was 3 inches taller!
I was on track with my healing and then Easter April 2021, I fell down the stairs, severely traumatized my body, got a concussion and landed myself back in the hospital. It was remarkable that my hardware was not damaged, but my progress in physical therapy was set back about two years by this fall.
At this point, I know I’ve had over 1000s of doctors appointments, multiple therapies, all kinds of tests, x-rays, scans, MRIs and hospital stays. Before and after my surgery, my scoliosis and other related health challenges took on a life of it’s own. No doubt, there have been times when I didn’t think I would make it. I am so thankful that I had supportive friends there who wouldn’t let me give up. I reached in deep and thought about my parent’s sacrifice, love and foundation they set for me and one of the most amazing things happened because of this experience. It led me to my passion and purpose. I embarked on a new and exciting journey and started seeing my new disability as an opportunity to rebuild my life. I started turning my dreams into action and showing up in a different fashion!
My journey led me to do my own TEDx talk at TEDxGreensboro on November 3, 2022. It's called “Adapt to Life's Curveballs with Fashion!” and it was truly a labor of love. It was such a privilege to share my journey with scoliosis and major spinal fusion surgery and help bring awareness to the need for fashionable adaptive clothing and shoes for people with disabilities. On the fifth anniversary of my life-changing surgery, I invite you to spend 15 minutes of your time and watch my TEDx Talk and see how far my journey has brought me. Thank you!