II Corinthians 12:9-10

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities... for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
II Corinthians 12:9-10

Monday, November 17, 2014

5 Years

5 years. It feels like yesterday, but it feels like a dream.

I remember those years in high school, lying in bed, thinking about the day when I would take my brace off for the last time. I would wear clothes that fit, tie my shoes without breaking something, and BREATHE AGAIN. After wearing a brace for 6 years, you get used to it. But I still wished it would come faster than anything else.

And then I would wonder what it would be like to need a spinal fusion. What would it feel like? And the surgery experience? Would I ever regret doing something like that? If I did, there would be no turning back. You can't take the rods out. I thought about all these things. But it didn't matter. It would never happen to me.

5 years ago, I woke up as I was being lifted and set down on the x-ray table. That was the beginning of a long, difficult recovery. But this recovery was a life-changing one for me. It was so painful to do the things that I had never thought twice about, like brushing my teeth, sitting up, rolling over, writing, coughing, sneezing, moving my arms, and the list could go on forever.

And I was right. There was no turning back. And if I had the choice, I wouldn't. My nurses said this is one of the hardest surgeries you could experience. And I would still choose the surgery. I have a new perspective on life that I would have never possessed on my own. Hundreds of people have come to me in times of need, and I have had countless opportunities to come by their side during these hard times. My friends and I have raised $2,700 for the same charities that helped my family during my surgery.

It has been worth every second of it-- even the nights that I couldn't sleep because of the pain... the days I cried because it hurt so much... the frustration of being so dependent on other people, when I should be playing volleyball or ice skating with my friends.

How can I say it was worth it, then? That's the thing. I have no answer, except this: God is good. He knew this would be best for me. In fact, He knew it when He created me with that small curvature in my spine. He knew it when I stood in my closet frustrated to tears because nothing looked normal over my brace. He knew it as I lay on the operating table, with an 18 inch incision, and two rods and 18 screws were being drilled into my spine. He knew it as I lay in the hospital bed, unable to move, and hardly able to speak. And He knew it as I type this blog post, reaching those I've never even met. God is good. Only a good God would allow me to go through hard times in order to change me for the better. And I want to show the world that He is truly good. My only hope is that those who have never experienced His goodness will come to Him.

5 years later, I now stand tall, partially because I have no other choice, but mostly because I am so blessed. Many people live the rest of their lives with emotional scars-- as if the physical one wasn't enough! Memories flood into my mind during this week every year, but memories of thankfulness. I hope I never get used to the fact that God is so good.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Global Scoliosis Foundation of Chicago

This June, I crossed off yet another item off the bucket list: start a scoliosis chapter. As president of this chapter in Chicago, I must hold four main events a year. These events can include fundraisers (my favorite!), educational meetings, social gatherings, etc.

Our first event was a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. A concert featuring movie theme songs and "familiar favorites" raised $865! Coming soon will be a Christmas concert!

If you are interested in following our latest efforts to spread awareness, encourage those with spinal deformities, or raise money for incredible charities, you can like my FaceBook page HERE.