Week 1, down.
It’s hard to fathom that just a week ago, I was nervously walking into Nemours by 9am, crooked femur and all and in the O.R. by 12pm.
In one week, I’ve met more people than I can count, tried to make a granny style walker look cool, re-mastered the art of manual wheelchairs (and the art of convincing people to push me), watched lots of baseball (but what’s new) and with 3 hours of rehab a day, I’ve pretty much never been so exhausted in my life.
As I talk to more people, patients and employees included, I realize more and more how remarkable my medical team and this place actually is.
I get lots of surprised reactions when I say I’m from Florida or when people see my excessive Gator Gear.
But, when I say I came for Dr. Miller, it’s like a lightbulb goes off in their head, they’re faces relax and it all makes sense.
“He’s kinda world renown,” one PT told me. “People come from all over for him.”
Maybe the coolest thing to me though, is that right now on 3West, there’s 3 of us (2 of us from FL) that Dr. Miller operated on, who are all in college. And I’m pretty sure he operated on all of us on the same day too.
The thing about this life in the world of medical challenges, is that it can be isolating.
Not everyone understands or knows how to react to any of us.
Cancer patient, CP kid, whatever it is, sometimes it feels like we’re human curveballs to people and nobody knows what to do with us.
So, when you meet kids who are going through the same things you are, it’s special.
All 3 of us college kids have broken femurs right now. I actually think I’m the only one of us with only one femur broken.
Pretty sure Dr. Miller is the only person that can make you happy to have a broken leg.
We pass each other in the gym and live just down the hall from each other.
And though we haven’t talked extensively with one another yet, I have rarely met other kids with CP, let alone ones going through the same surgery at the exact same time as me.
I know that the Florida moms are planning to squad up soon.
This experience is super hard. But there are parts of it that are really cool.
We get our therapy schedules knocked down to an hour and a half a day on the weekends and have this Monday off for the holiday.
Though therapy is hard, it gives me something to do while being here. So it’ll be interesting to see how this weekend plays out with less to do.
I’ve been on a roll with playing people in iMessage games, so if you’re up for some competition, feel free to blow up my iMessage.
Because despite popular belief, one can watch too much Netflix.
To everyone who has sent us things and kept us in your prayers, truly thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Like I’ve said a million times before, but I really really mean it, all the support and prayers mean the world to us. Really. We wouldn’t be here without it.
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”
If there’s one thing that my 19 years on this earth have taught me, it’s that life is a constant whirlwind, full of surprises, rarely stopping.
Welcome to 3West, the place that my current whirlwind is circling.
3West is the floor of Nemours A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital that I have lived on since Friday, May 19th, 2017 and will continue to until my rehab team has officially kicked my butt and I’m ready to fly back home to Orlando, FL.
I won’t bore you with the extensive details of my entire journey, I’ll just hit ya with the quick synopsis.
I graced the world with my presence 9 weeks early and my mom will never let me live down the fact that I didn’t give her time for an epidural (emphasized sarcasm on the word “graced”.) At birth, I was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus and at about the age of 2, Cerebral Palsy got added to my medical chart.
My journey of surgeries began pretty much at birth, as a shunt was placed in my head to control my Hydrocephalus. I have since had a series of orthopedic, neurological and eye surgeries to bring my grand total to 10 surgeries.
But this chapter, the chapter that fired up this blog, starts in my home state of Florida (Go Gators) and moves into Delaware.
It starts back in 7th grade, when my world flipped completely upside down. I underwent a left femoral and tibial osteotomy. Which basically means they broke my femur, turned it out and then broke my tibia and turned it in, in an attempt to make my leg straight.
But nothing went as planned.
My femur was over-rotated 7 degrees and I woke up, riding recovery into a worse state than I was in before surgery.
Fast forward to 10th grade, I’m living in more pain than ever and we knew that it was time to go on a wild doctor hunt to find the guy to do surgery number 9. Long story short, a neighbor on a plane ride gave my dad the recommendation to go to the head of Florida Hospital’s Trauma Department.
A 2 hour appointment with Dr. Cole (the recommended doctor), brought a honest confession that he wasn't our guy, but a promise to find me the right doctor.
One day later, he called back. He told us to take our pick: a doctor in Delaware or a doctor in Australia.
We obviously grabbed Delaware.
A little bit later, we were walking through the doors of A.I. DuPont to meet the man we now love and owe so much to, Dr. Freeman Miller.
We soon decided to allow him to operate on my feet, it hopes my gait would improve, despite my still crooked femur.
All our hopes came true and I recovered fully, transitioning to crutches for the first time in my life.
A few more years later, I’m still hanging in there. But my out of line femur is increasingly causing pain and frustration. So, in amidst college tours during my senior year of high school, we headed back to our hero, Dr. Miller.
He promised he would fix my femur, but he wanted me to get through my freshman year of college first to confirm that I want to walk the road of a broken femur with a rod in it again.
Now step into more recent times, the middle of my freshman year at UF. My leg is shooting with pain and I knew exactly where I was heading this summer.
I was heading to Delaware. To Nemours again, searching for more healing and hope.
And now we’re caught up and live. 6 days post-op, my femur is straight.
For the first time in my life.
Overjoyed and hopeful are understatements.
Rehab started yesterday, and it was long. But writing is what helps me clear my head. And as I’ve traveled this road my entire life, the Lord has taught me the importance of sharing our stories so his glory can shine through.
His glory is shining in 3West of Nemours, folks.
Because none of this is my doing. It’s all Him. And I’m beyond thankful.
Welcome to my journey. Welcome to the blog that will come to you live “From 3West”.
I’m excited to see what the Lord reveals to me through this process.
To all the kids who join me in the bubble of medical challenges: this is your story too. My deepest desire is that From 3West, we can find hope in our bubble of uncertainty.
Here goes nothing.