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BeYOUty Mark

This blog was inspired by my daughter, Jaiden, as I was encouraged by her spinal fusion surgery journey. She’s a fighter, a warrior, an overcomer! She’s been resilient from the day she entered this world as a preemie at 4Lbs11oz.

Jaiden was diagnosed with adolescent scoliosis and was under the care of her orthopedic doctor (Dr. Shannon Kelly, Children’s Orthopedics…she’s awesome!) since about the age of 8 or 9. Anyone who knows Jai well knows she was on the petite scale for several years - below the height percentile - so her curve was at somewhat of a standstill. However, about mid-2015 Jaiden began to complain about back pain and discomfort. She was a competitive cheerleader at the time and was starting to dive into a more complicated level of tumbling, so I assumed she was just being lazy and full of excuses. You know, a drama queen {Lord, forgive me lol}. I eventually took her to Dr. Kelly and it was quite evident that her curvature worsened, and preventive reinforcement was necessary in an attempt to slow down or alleviate any progression. The preventative reinforcement was a back brace to be worn for hrs a day. Of course, a little guilt slapped me straight in the face. But, fast forward to December 2018 – 2.5 back braces and a few growth spurts later – Jaiden’s curvature had aggressively grown. After prayer and consideration, it was determined that spinal fusion surgery was the optimal option towards her quality of life going forward. I’ve had numerous surgeries myself, but it’s a different kind of concern when it’s your child!

Lo and behold, Jaiden underwent surgery on Monday, February 5, 2018, and that was the longest 5 hrs of my life (super shout out to the village who prayed, visited and checked on us throughout the process – we appreciate you!). However, I was and I still am, empowered by her strength and tenacity. She remained so sweet, patient and easy going, especially during her hospital stay, which was very pleasant BTW (SUPER huge shout out of appreciation to Children’s National Hospital DC for the TLC they extended to us – the stay was comfy, and the food was surprisingly delish!). Jai was up and moving a lot faster than I envisioned and she was determined to be discharged on target. I was so proud of her!

Once she arrived home, she was home schooled for 5 weeks. And to my surprise {again}, she handled her temporary lifestyle change very well. Even the separation from her social life and school. I thought she would experience some form of separation anxiety as it was her 8th-grade year and she being a social butterfly and all, but it wasn’t bad – big ups to snap chat and facetime!! There were moments of boredom but nothing too unbearable. An added bonus was her tutor - a Christian Woman who not only taught Jaiden, but also poured wisdom and encouragement into her. Thank you Mrs. Johnson!

Today – She’s healed, taller, slender, more confident and *drum-roll* her curve went from 50 (pre-op x-ray) to 7 degrees (post-op x-ray) *inserts praise dance*!! Truth is, I wasn’t certain how she would react to her scar, but she’s worn a few tops that exposed it and she owned it! It warms my heart to see Jai embracing her scar which I affectionately refer to as her “BeYOUty Mark” Thank you, God!

Mushy mommy moment: Sometimes when I see her BeYOUty Mark, especially when wearing tops where it’s visible in public, I’m led to empower her to see the beauty in it. To know that she has a story that will/can one day encourage another little girl with scoliosis. She doesn’t like those moments, though (inserts side eye), I’m way too mushy for her lol. But, she’ll understand and appreciate it once she gets older.

So far, Jai’s only regrets are her restrictions:

1) Cheer: She wants to cheer again but she’s restricted for 6 months post-op (which puts her past the tryout season).

2) Roller Coasters: She loves roller coasters (and other thrill-seeking rides), but she’s restricted from roller coasters and other rides that might cause forceful/intense upper body movement for 1 year post-surgery.

Blessing: Both are only temporary (inserts praise hands).

A few revelations I received through Jaiden’s journey:

1) The problem we encounter could be the very thing that God uses to catapult us to where we’re destined to be.

a. Perhaps we’re thrown a curve on purpose. To force us to go through the process of finding a relationship with God or our destiny to a straight path ahead.

2) The process doesn’t always feel good and most times, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

a. We must stay the course and keep the faith, even when it doesn’t feel good and we can’t see the result.

3) We will lose things and/or be removed from our norm on the road to our destiny.

a. Sometimes we’re stripped of our standard – people and things. That time is necessary for the healing/growth process. Embrace it!

4) Don’t compromise your heart and demeanor, no matter how difficult the current situation might be.

a. People are always watching, and we never know how much of a blessing or inspiration we could be to someone else. Jaiden’s nurses kept expressing how respectful and mannerly was - they were extremely appreciative.

I Thank God for covering her/us through the whole journey from the very first diagnosis to post-surgery. God made a way over every hurdle and roadblock. It isn't easy to see the blessings in situations where pain and problems exist, that takes a lot of faith. I try to remind myself, that it could always be worse. Thank you Jesus for loving Jaiden and protecting her from those things I couldn't see.

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share my luv bug's story with you. I Pray this blog will inspire another child and/or parent gearing up for Spinal Fusion Surgery. Be Blessed and encouraged!



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