A few years ago, I had never even heard of Wilmington, Delaware.
But now, I wholeheartedly feel like a part of me will forever be there.
In 2014 I was burnt out, scared and losing hope that my situation was ever going to change. To say that I was sick of doctors’ appointments is an understatement.
But then one doctor in Orlando said something I hadn’t heard before from any other doctor:
“I’m not your guy. But I will find you your guy.”
And he did. Soon enough, Delaware was on my radar.
All I remember is walking through those duPont doors and feeling an overwhelming sense of peace. And when I shook Dr. Miller’s hand, I felt an instant trust.
He was the right guy.
In 2014, my world flip upside down. But for the first time in a long time, it flipped in a good way.
To Dr. Miller:
The gratitude I have for you and what you have done for me is immense. I really can’t put it into words.
When I first met you, I was scared like you wouldn’t believe. Orthopedics had failed me in major ways and I didn’t think I would be able to trust it again.
But you changed my view. You looked at me and studied my gait functionally, not structurally. You explained things in ways I understood. You smiled at me, showed me you really cared and made me feel like for the first time in years, I was going to be okay. Your confidence made me feel like relief was just around the corner.
My initial impression was right and still stands. Almost immediately after that first surgery with you in 2014, I knew I had found something special in you and in Nemours.
To put it simply, you changed my life. You handed me that pair of crutches and helped me see a future for my life that I had never thought possible.
When we decided to come back to you this summer to do the osteotomy, the surgery that had failed me previously, I was scared but strangely okay.
Because I knew in my core that you weren’t going to let anything bad happen.
You were going to give me all you had and do your best to fix my pretty crooked leg.
I’m 3 weeks post-op and in a lot of ways, I already feel better than I did before surgery.
Dr. Miller, thank you. Really. You absolutely turned my life around, not once but twice. Freshman year of college was super hard because of my physical pain. But I kept trucking because I knew we were heading your way this summer.
As I think you are for a lot of kids, you were the light at the end of the tunnel for me. What you do is incredible. And you will forever be one of my most favorite people on Earth.
To Nemours – all the nurses, therapists and rehab doctors:
I’ve been in my fair share of healthcare systems.
Nemours, you are at the top of my list.
The care I have received with you all is unmatched.
To all the nurses, you rock. Never before had I stayed in a hospital where every single nurse was always smiling. You would come in, take care of me and often stick around to talk for a while. There were so many of you, so if I named all of you that impacted my stay, I’d be here forever.
Just know you all are the best and you made my healing process a lot smoother.
To the therapists and the rehab team:
I honestly don’t know where to start.
When I checked in for inpatient rehab, I didn’t know what to expect and was pretty nervous.
But you guys have created an environment in that gym that brought me so much comfort and hope.
Thank you for pushing me to be my best and believing in me. Your confidence in me threw open doors for me. You all are a main reason I bounced back from this so fast.
The foundation I have on my recovery is because of you guys, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
The work we did was tough. But that gym was a fun, happy and healthy place to be. I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to you guys.
You changed the way I look at therapy in the hospital and I will miss you guys.
To everyone at Nemours – Dr. Miller, the nurses, therapists and rehab doctors:
You guys have created an environment that was hard to leave. I left with a lump in my throat because I felt like I was saying goodbye to a bunch of new friends I had made.
I will forever love Wilmington, Delaware and will forever owe Nemours A.I. duPont everything.
My dream is to be a Sports Journalist. With CP, that could sound like a weird one because I’ve never actually played sports in my life.
But Dr. Miller and everyone that helped me at Nemours are the reason I’m on my forearm crutches and able to be independent in college.
All my dreams are coming true. And I owe so much of it to Nemours.
You absolutely changed my life.
When I’m hopefully writing for ESPN one day, know that the smile on my face and the words I’m writing are largely because of one incredible team of doctors, a life-changing hospital, the happiest hospital rehab gym I ever did see and the best hospital staff out there.
Thank you. I’ll remember you guys forever.