Saturday, November 16, 2013

Scoliosis Surgery Three Year Anniversary

Today is November 16th. And three years ago today was a day that has forever changed my life. I am blessed. So many of you know this story but I wanted to write today to share with other people who may be considering scoliosis surgery or have already scheduled it. You need to know my story. I had talked to so many of you on the phone over the past 3 years, we've actually met over at Southwest Scoliosis Institute (SSI) and we are friends who try to keep up with one another on Facebook. A few of you are like family now. It's a day that continues to give in the friendships that are cemented and will never end. I thank you for your trust and encouragement over the past 3 years.

When I was 13 I was diagnosed with a mild to moderate case of scoliosis. It was still pretty new but Dr. Paul Harrington had invented the Harrington rod by 1968 and we found a wonderful scoliosis doctor in downtown Dallas. My case was not severe enough to warrant surgery so we used a Milwaukee brace for my treatment. I'm sure many of you know what those look like. And a bunch of my friends went through 2 years of it in what we used to call junior high. Some of you encouraged me to not become a turtle who hid in her shell and wouldn't come outside the summer I got it. We lived in the country then and everything we did was outdoor physical during that hot time of the year. My passions were reading Nancy Drew and horses. Daddy had sold my horse before I went into my brace because horseback riding wasn't really allowed back then during or after treatment. No water or snow skiing either. No diving into water due to the pressure it would put on my back. So the entire 8th grade year I wore this brace that required special help for desks, special clothes my Mom made. Mom and Daddy were so good helping me get through it. I had every color of shoes and purses to match to go with my special clothing. And I was stared at. And horrified loads of people. I got used to it and so did my friends. And when we had 8th grade graduation I got to take that brace off and graduate in the most beautiful pink dress my Mom had bought for me. I felt like a butterfly. And my waist was only 21 inches!!! Boy how I wish we had kept that brace, LOL. We did, down in the barn once I was given the okay. And there it stayed until Mom and Dad sold the property in 1985. So in 9th grade I still had to sleep in it at night and so many of you who MIGHT read this will remember helping me get it on just right. And I had to walk 2 miles initially and swim as much as I could. Which was hard when the swimming pool was a natural pond that the cottonmouth's loved to share. We had to drive to Farmer's Branch to swim. Do y'all remember that pool? So by my sophomore year I was out of my back brace and into teeth braces which I wore through my senior year. Once I got those off I hurt my knee playing football with the family and ended up in a knee brace. Dr. Dale Jackson just shook his head and asked if I were ever going to get out of braces. I did. Thankfully I did.

Fast forward, well, let's just say many years. In 2005 I was painting the master bedroom. Moving furniture, the usual and I felt something in my back move. BIG time and heard it crack. But there was no pain whatsoever when that happened so I didn't think much about it. Over those many years I lived with various degrees of pain that increased once I got older. During that time I had become a volunteer firefighter/EMT and I did have to pay attention to my back. At times the pain shooting down my left leg was intolerable. But I was able to "pack out" and hit structure fires, training, EMS runs, etc. I left the service in 1994 due to political reasons. So my back had pretty much hung in there until the day of the loud pop. I kept painting but when I sat down in the bathtub that night my torso no longer lined up with the waist. Something massively had changed and I did not want to know what it was. In 2006 I went to see a neurologist at the suggestion of my PCP. The x-ray disturbed him enough to make me see about it. I don't know what the degree of curve it was at that time but when I went in for surgery at SSI I had an 80 degree curve. Other doctors warned me against back surgery at all costs and frankly scared my husband and I to death. I worried about it constantly but I was in constant pain and trying to function on a muscle relaxer and ibuprofen. In 2010 we decided to go see what all the fuss was about over at the SSI. Nothing to lose but at this point I knew I needed surgery no matter what. I could no longer live the way I was. And Dr. O'Brien, without a pause, told me they would fix me. Period. Blown away at a doctor's candor my husband and I felt very good about scheduling surgery. And so, on November 16, 2010 Dr. O'Brien "fixed" me and I have not regretted it for one minute. My back rarely hurts. I can pick up heavy items without a twinge and I'm straight, taller and people can no longer tell by my clothes that I'm crooked. There have been complications following but not attributed to the surgery. There are several "dead" areas on my left leg from the knee down and another surgeon said it has nothing to do with my back but starts at the knee. He said many times he sees cases like this because of the pressure stockings they make us wear after surgery to prevent embolisms. I do not think they are used any longer by Baylor scoliosis patients. I can live with numbness. My lower back has a bit but very rarely did I experience pain after surgery. That could be the reason, I don't know, but I was off pain meds in less than a month. I am liberated from a demanding back that would have only gotten worse and twisted me until I was crippled. I thank God for His goodness back in 1968 and again in 2010. 

If surgery is recommended DO IT! There are no guarantees in life and of course surgery is one of them. Don't wait until you are 55 like I was. Do it as young as is recommended. Sure I have problems bending now but does it bother me? No and I would have surgery every single day to have the life I now have, numb leg and foot and all. I function normally and when I see other people with serious physical problems and defects I praise the Lord all over again. I am lucky. I am blessed. Don't wait. If your insurance will pay for it now or hopefully after the first of the year have it done if that is what is recommended by SSI. Don't let another practice scare you to death as I did for 4 years. I can't express the gratitude I feel.

Please feel free to leave a comment or question here on my blog and I'm on Facebook as well. Let's work together to Cure the Curve and get the message out that it can be cured one spine at a time.

Deb Brod
November 16, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

JFK

Each year as we approach the anniversary of a world tragedy, the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I begin to look for new books or magazine specials to read and am glued to the TV for new specials or simply watch the video library I have acquired over the years. Even though it was published months ago I am reading Killing Kennedy by Bill 0'Reilly and look forward to watch the National Geographic special movie based on O'Reilly's book. Rob Lowe will take a stab at the title role. He has garnered praise but I think I will have trouble seeing him as Kennedy. Ginnifer Goodwin plays Jackie which I do not see at all but then I couldn't imagine Katie Holmes in that role either and she did very, very well. So maybe I will be surprised. Clint Hill, the secret service agent, assigned to Jaqueline exclusively has a new book coming out this month as well.  He is an excellent writer and absolutely was the rock Jackie could lean on. So I'm in my "JFK Mode". It's a somber time of year because it happened here. In Dallas. And it was the first big event I remember being exposed to. I do remember how upset Daddy was when Kennedy beat Nixon. We were living in Baldwin Park California and I was 5. But I remember the black and white TV, and Daddy's anguish on election night. I really didn't know what it all meant at that age. I focused on Daddy's mood. But I knew he wasn't happy with JFK but he really was negative only a few times about the new President. That's what I saw but Mom could probably tell a different story.
When I was 7 years old Dad took a job at Texas Instruments in Dallas Texas. That was October of 1962. We rented a house in Lewisville until our new house was built on 5 acres out in the beautiful country. Fast forward a year and a month later and November 22, 1963 arrived. As far as I knew it was just another work day for Dad, another school day for me. I was in third grade at Central Elementary in Lewisville a suburb a short drive to Dallas. Mr. Bolin was our principal. I found out that night that Daddy and several co workers had stood outside to see Kennedy just minutes before he was murdered. That surprised me. Even though Dad wasn't thrilled with the choice he had enough respect and interest to go see a man. A man that he would see once and never see alive again. In person. On the TV. Never again. It was a normal day at school and we were in the library when Mr. Bolin came on the loudspeaker. We knew what was happening that day and of course, we found it exciting. But the words we would hear from those old fashioned speaker boxes on the wall would stun those of us who could understand what was being said. It was a point in history none of us will ever forget. Where we were when we heard those awful words that our president was dead. That was just about all the information we were given. People were crying. I watched not sure how to feel except very very sad for a man my Daddy didn't vote for. When I was finally on the bus that afternoon there were boys in the back (we rode with ALL grades back then) were talking about the fact that Kennedy was a "N word" lover and that's why he was killed. I didn't understand because I had never heard that word but they were being ugly and it made me cry. As I walked home after being dropped off I cried and when I got home I asked Mom what a "N" was and why would those big boys say that? My first taste of what the south was like at that time. But not everyone, no not everyone, because all across the board people were shocked and broken hearted that it had happened. Mom assured me that that was not the reason. There are people who do things and we might never know why and she held me in her arms while I cried for a man I didn't understand. He had a beautiful wife and 2 precious children. One only 2 years younger than me and I wondered what would happen to them. Daddy came home in shock that afternoon. He was one of the last people to see the motorcade and I wished I had been with him. So I could see. This man that was loved by many and sadly, not loved by so many. We remained glued to the TV for the next several days. Until it was over. And when Jack Ruby walked up to Oswald Dad jumped up and yelled he has a gun. And the gun fired. And Oswald would die later at the same hospital with some of the same surgeons that had tried so valiantly to save the life of a young man who was president. And his wife had part of his brain in her hand and gave it to the doctor in the event it could help. And she crawled up on the back of the limousine to retrieve a piece of skull that might be used in repairing her beyond help husband. And we watched the night they landed at the air force base with the president and saw her blood splattered pink suit and her blood soaked legs. And I will never forget that because it made it real to me. In the days to come we would see LBJ take the torch (another man Daddy didn't really like but he WAS a Texan), we would see the most beautifully executed funeral of all time and a sweet little boy in a blue coat salute his precious father one last time. And we cried. Because what happened was wrong. No matter what. And I'm sorry it happened here. Close to us. 

I think Daddy would like Kennedy very much today, warts and all. I do. Not only am I fascinated by him I admire and respect him for the things he did. For the things he did that were wrong and stood up and took the brunt of the fault. Honestly and sadly. He ached for what had gone wrong in the Bay of Pigs. He was heart broken. He messed up and admitted it. Like a good president should. Like a good leader should. And people respected him. He fought for civil rights and things changed during LBJs watch. We went to the moon by golly. I wish he had seen it. Daddy was a valuable part of the space program and we were up for every launch. I gained a huge respect for that program. And to a large degree I have a president to thank for that. And so does my dad. Daddy is gone but we have continued to see his work in later years. Especially with the Space Shuttle program. I think Daddy and Kennedy would get along now. Because actually their goals weren't that much different. Some were. It's not for me to judge. But I think Dad could sit and explain the inner workings of things to President Kennedy. As he did for us. And I miss you Daddy so very much as this time of year rolls around. So much I would love to ask about that day. The day you were a witness to history changing.

So I was a 3rd grader at Central Elementary in a little town called Lewisville, Texas. And for years after this all happened visitors to our home would want to see where it happened and Daddy would drive the route and then, without much thought, would speed up at the spot our president was killed, and speed under the triple underpass to Parkland. That makes me smile and I teased him about it as a child. I love the 6th Floor museum. If you are local and haven't visited it yet please do. I think we owe it to our former President and his beautiful, broken hearted wife, Jaqueline.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gosh, how did we get so old?

Today is Wednesday. Enchilada Wednesday. I try to take it easy on Wednesdays so I actually feel like going out in the evening. I am old. I've dealt with so many issues but you know? In light of what others are dealing with my health issues are small. I am grateful for that. Thank you Lord. But by the end of the day, even if my accomplishments are minor, I'm exhausted. Ready to get my legs and feet in bed and watch TV and do something crafty. So until I feel comfortable enough to wear my PJs, no makeup and closed eyes to El Fenix I will continue to take it easy. How did I get this old? I was a JV Cheerleader. I played football and baseball in our pasture. I was a firefighter. I was a size 3 when I entered high school and left at size 5-7. The shades of things to come.....

So today I was looking through YouTube and finding bands I liked in the 80s. Trying to stay off the news although I think Chris Christies's speech was a prelude to what will come on 2016. If I believed that politicians made a difference anymore or give a damn about Americans I might have paid closer attention. The very way the witnesses or whatever, are being treated by the congressional hearing is petty, sarcastic and very sad. Something to defintly expect on Facebook but not in congressional hearings. Everyone is frustrated. Rise above that behavior no matter how badly you want to pull out the snark card. I digress.....looking at newer videos I was like "my Lord, they are old. What happened to them?" And then I took a gander of my hands and realized how my neck looks like a turtle and my face a road map, LOL. We have all aged bands and fans alike. Well, except for Keith Richards who, bless his heart, has looked like something off The Walking Dead for years. Keith, you have my permission to dis me as much as you choose. But dang, some of them still sound so good and so many bands have new lead singers which on principal I refuse to listen to. Until today. Some of the newbies are pretty good. But newbies your band will die out way before you do so you might take that into consideration. My precious Eagles. Yep, we all look pretty old. Except for you my darling Joe Walsh. You've stayed about the same but in a good, funny, hysterical way. And I love your comedy and your songs. You will always rock as will you Steve Perry. The Eagles who wrote "Get Over It" because of a newscast Don Henley had watched/listened to prior to coming to the studio. It says exactly what needs to be said (except on Facebook) and I admire them for putting it out there. So we have all aged quite a bit but we can still rock on. If it's on a Wednesday. When I try not to tire out or throw a hip, knee or back. Yeah, aging can be a good thing for all of us. God bless, pray for our nation, her leaders and bring God back. He is our only hope. Also, on Hannity tomorrow night on Fox (OH NO) Sean will be speaking with the Rev. Billy Graham. What a special man and I got to see him in the early 70s at Texas Stadium. It was an event that will remain in my heart with fondness. What an honor to hear this precious man of God speak in person. So watch Rev. Billy and let him bless your life as he tries to bring America back to where it used to be.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Special Needs Pets

I have been very vocal about special needs pets for quite some time. Following the death of our beloved girl Rosie, I was given the opportunity to draw even more attention to what mainly is the cause of these poor little creatures. I think every problem in the world can be traced back to greed. There is a group of people who start out taking dogs, cats, etc. in and end up being a pet hoarder in spite of the good intentions of their hearts. I can most certainly identify with that. I would be an animal hoarder. I know this in my heart. And since I'm just shy of 60 they would become too much for me to handle. There are days the cockatiels (Boo and Hoot) our rescued greyhound Chucky and all the beautiful fish in my koi pond become overwhelming. But I love each and every one of them. The fish have names. They are precious to me. And there are days I don't know how I will go on with life when they die. And the bottom line on many breeders today is money. Greed. And they breed and breed indiscriminately and another Rosie is born. And they are born and born and born. They are neglected as was Rosie and it is truly a miracle when they survive on their own again, as Rosie did. And there are so many other stories to be told. And then there are the rescuers. Who have saved so many and put up with the terrible remarks about what they have done, about the animals and personal attacks on them. I will tell you that it hurts. It hurts badly because I have witnessed this. Hearts have been broken again this week as more rescuers, doing everything medically possible to fix these little broken bodies, lose the fight for life. From the kitten I rescued who had been bred and bred to have no tail (Manx) and lost after 3 weeks of daily enemas at the vet's, washing his little bottom time and time again during the day and holding him in my arms, he was so tiny, and praying and willing him to get better until the surgeon said there was no repair for his bowel problems. He was loved by everyone who met him because he was a tiny orange fluff who was so happy and yet so sick. I always feel like I let Simba down. And then I tell myself I was so lucky to take him in when he was no longer wanted and gave him the best 3 weeks of life I could give him. He was saved after all. But my brain knows that; my heart doesn't very much. I still grieve for him as do many of my family members. And then there was Emma Rose. We lost our first greyhound rescue, Holly Rae, in March of 05. We had had her a little over 5 years. We were devastated when she developed bone cancer and we had to let her cross over. I gave myself a month and then decided to adopt a senior female greyhound. Emma Rose was 9 1/2 years old when we got her. Her story was not happy. And after a few months we noticed she was having some major urinary tract problems. Fast forward 11 months later when we found an inoperable tumor near her bladder. Two girls in less than a year and I felt like I failed her. We really never did get her back emotionally so she was still broken as far as I was concerned and then we had to let her cross over. None of us, including our precious vet Nub Neighbors could believe we were going through with it again so soon. But there comes the saving in spite of our hearts. I got up with Emma multiple times each night and cleaned the carpet more than I can say. We did everything we could do to make sure she didn't suffer while we were trying to find out what was wrong. Saving by losing. That is how I try to comfort myself and someday I will be convinced.

Bottom line: consider adopting a senior or a special needs animals. People will tell you to put the ugly blankety blank thing to sleep, they might make fun of you and your baby.....the list goes on forever. Greedy breeders. Broken bodies. Broken hearts. It doesn't stop.

Over the next several days memorial services for Rosie will occur around the world. Around the world? Are you kidding me? For a little pink dog? You bet. She touched lives because she was different with a little broken body but not her spirit. Nope. The strongest spirit I have ever seen. I still see her little blue eyes, her soft little pink skin, her misshapen feet and nails. I still remember how it felt to kiss her and tell her I loved her. And she will be remembered around the world. For further information see Everything Rosie on Facebook and Remembering Rosie or leave me message here. I will get the information you need.

This blog is dedicated today to Rosie and Miss Trixie. Two dogs with stronger hearts than we humans have who have made a difference in this world for the underdogs. Literally. And we have been blessed to be a part of their story.
Please check your pet adoption centers to see if their is a special needs animal that NEEDS YOU!