Recently, my sister went through a major back surgery, and when I say major, I mean MAJOR. This particular scoliosis surgery came with many potential complications, including death. Despite this, Michaela accepted her need for surgery. She harnessed a positive attitude and fearless spirit to make it through. She inspired everyone she came in contact with during the surgery, including myself, so I just HAD to hear the whole story from her brave perspective. She agreed to share the story with me, and after hearing it, I am more convinced than ever that having a positive attitude and fearless mind really can get you through anything. It is a major key to skyrocketing your success and happiness! So without further ado, here is the experience from her perspective.
A Life-Changing Discovery
One morning, Michaela woke up to go get her routine physical done so she could play basketball that upcoming school year. When she got there, the doctors ran their hands along her spine, and told her it seemed really out of whack. She was told she had to go get an x-ray before she could get cleared to play her favorite sport that year. What seemed like an easy task turned into an all day event as Michaela and her grandma had to visit 2 “minute- clinics” and 5 hospitals to finally get her X-ray done. Luckily, they were able to get it and she got a doctor’s note allowing her to play basketball. However, when the results came in, she got some bad news.
“That whole week there was practice in the morning and then practice 2 a week. I went to those and was fine. I got the x rays back 2 weeks later. He showed me the x ray and it was really bad and crazy. But, I wasn’t scared. I don’t know, for some reason I wasn’t scared or sad at all when I saw it. I was just like ‘this is a challenge.. I can take this. I got it.’ You know? Like I wasn’t scared at all.
Then, I just texted some of my friends about it and they were wondering why I kept having to go to the hospitals and stuff. They all felt bad for me, but I didn’t feel like they needed to because I wasn’t scared… Next time I went to the doctor’s, they told me I needed surgery. I still wasn’t scared though, because I just feel like there is no point in freaking yourself if it’s going tohappen for sure and there’s no point in stressing if you just stay positive. It’s just like living another day even though your whole life just changed.
Meet The Surgeon
Sometimes I felt like I should be stressed, but I just never was stressed about it or anything. That summer was weird for me because I felt like other things were happening in my life too, and it all just kinda added up. It was just pretty emotional summer for me, but at the same time I wasn’t scared of the future… I just kept going to the doctor's and then finally I got to the surgeon. His name was Hillard Theophilous Spencer. I remember his name because it’s really unique except his last name haha. He’s just like this really educated, smart looking guy.
I still wasn’t scared. I liked him because he was really straight up, and just said everything exactly as it was. He wouldn’t keep anything from me. Other doctors wouldn’t tell me the whole deal and that kinda annoyed me. He told me and my parents everything that was going to happen in the next few months. He told me everything that could go wrong and like the worst thing that could happen to me was death, but I just was never scared.
I probably wasn’t scared because my dad has always taught me to have a fearless mind because of Craig Manning, who teaches how to control your mind. I had already developed that skill pretty well because I had already used his program in basketball. This just made me realize that you can control your mind in any situation and it makes everything so much better because you’re just calm and not freaking out about anything big or small that happens to you."
The Shocking Truth
Eventually, results showed how truly severe Michaela’s scoliosis was. She had 2 curves in her spine, one at 66 degrees and another at 45. The regular level is 0. Because of this she had to get an MRI, which she admits was the first time she felt scared. But, of course, she put the fearless mind program and positive thinking to the test by saying, “This is going to build me and make me stronger.” She made it through very easily, even falling asleep in the process.
The MRI showed even worse results, indicating Michaela had a condition called spondiliothesis, meaning one of her vertebrae had completely cracked from the pressure of her scoliosis. This would mean she would have to get almost her whole back fused during surgery. While Michaela still wasn’t scared, her parents were. They did a lot of research into other healing options, but Michaela wanted to go with her gut and do what she thought was best.
Taking A Positive Perspective
I have always felt like I’ve had big dreams that I want to fulfill and that surgery would allow me to do those things. My parents are so awesome, but they were just focusing on the things that would restrict me because I can’t bend my spine any more. They were just thinking of the things that would be burdens, but I just kinda thought of surgery as a blessing because I could now live my life to my complete and full ability.”
In the days leading up to her surgery, Michaela went to a few more doctor’s appointments. On the last one, Dr. Spencer told her AGAIN how hard everything was going to be. It would be very painful for a few months and there were definitely risks. However, Michaela moved forward with faith, knowing she would be ok.
On the weekend before her surgery, she went to a school football game and had a blast. She also went on a run in the blistering heat. Since running and working out are some of her favorite things to do, she pushed as hard as she could despite the heat, knowing it would be her last run for a while. Her sister Katelyn made the thought of surgery even easier by throwing her a surprise birthday party, since Michaela's birthday would be a week into the healing process. After participating in some fun events, Michaela was ready to face her surgery with confidence.
Facing Her Fears
So, down to Orange County the family went in preparation for surgery in the nearby hospital the next day. Her parents sat her down one more time, trying to remind her of all the other possible options she had other than surgery. This really stressed her out and made it harder to stay strong in her decision. Despite the resistance from her family, she continued in pursuit of her surgery, knowing in her gut all would be ok.
However, when they went to bed, her sister Katelyn woke up with really bad stomach pain. “I was really scared for her because I didn’t know what was wrong with her. It made me second guess surgery. My dad took her to the hospital, and everything ended up ok, but I didn’t know why this would happen the night before my surgery. I finally went to bed and I was just like ‘It’s ok. It’s just an obstacle trying to stop me from doing the right thing.’ I just went to sleep and told myself it was ok. I prayed for them a lot because I was so scared for them, but it all ended up ok.
My dad woke me up in the morning so I just brushed my teeth and washed my face. I still remember what I wore, which was a pink sweater thing and black leggings and grey puma socks and black slides with a pink Nike on them. We got in the car and drove there and said a prayer on the way that everything would work out and be ok. I wasn’t scared at all and knew that everything would be ok. We got there and just talked to people and went to the waiting room. There was a Mexican family sitting in the waiting room with us. I was just wondering what one of them had to get surgery. I prayed that they would be ok too. A doctor or nurse came out and called me, so my dad and I went in.”
Getting ready for surgery was pretty stressful for Michaela, but she did her best to stay positive, knowing it would be ok in the end. Well, the surgery came and went, and she made it through. She was in a ton of pain in the hospital, but she was still able to walk more quickly than most scoliosis patients. She was completing all her physical challenges with flying colors! Eventually, it was time to leave the hospital and go home.
There, even more challenges came because she was confined to her hospital bed in the family room. She was in terrible pain and often woke up crying alone in the middle of the night. She even remembers her sister going up to her room and crying because it was so hard for her to watch Michaela suffer like that.
On The Road to Recovery
Eventually, Michaela was able to walk around the house step by step. As the weeks past she slowly improved, and things really took a turn for the better when she was able to sleep in her own bed for the first time.
“That was a huge awesome step for me. In the morning I woke up and I had slept in. I felt so good … because I just woke up and got ready and Kathy brought me breakfast and I just felt like way better than I had any other day. I just watched Youtube on my phone and stuff and I felt really happy. I felt more like myself. I just kept getting better and better and I wasn’t taking the meds anymore and I just kept feeling grateful that I was feeling better than the day before.
My home hospital teacher came throughout those weeks and helped me do school so I wouldn’t be super lost when I got back, so I started to sit up for long periods of time working on the computer doing some school stuff, which was super awesome because before it hurt so bad to sit up for even a little bit.
2 weeks after surgery my aunt came to visit and I wanted to go outside. I was shooting hoops and dribbling and everyone was in awe of me playing basketball after surgery because that was insane. That was really awesome... The next day I wanted to go on a walk so my aunt, grandma and I went on a walk around our neighborhood. We walked a mile and a half and I was speed walking and they were so impressed and trying to keep up with me. That was so awesome too.
After weeks of just going on walks with family members, I started feeling a lot better. Soon, I started going on speed walks by myself, which made me feel good. I just eventually started getting better at daily tasks. Then on thanksgiving break my cousins came and I felt good. That was just a cool week because I was able to do a lot. I was carrying my sister’s baby and that was like the heaviest thing I had carried up until then.
After that week, I decided to go back to school and get my life started again. So, I went back and I just felt so good. It was kinda like moving from the hospital bed to my bed and it gave me a boost like ‘OK I’m getting better. I can do this.’ It made me feel awesome that I could do it.
It was really hard to get back into things. My English teacher was making me do things that I shouldn’t have had to do and I just did it anyways. I ended up ending the semester with straight A’s, which was super awesome. I actually could have stayed and done the homeschool until the next semester and just gotten easy A’s, but I just wanted to take the harder route and go back to school because I knew it would be better for me.
Then basically after that, I just kept getting better and better and weeks and months passed and I have been feeling better and better every day. I have felt so grateful for my health and happiness and for how well my surgery went. In a couple weeks, I get to go to my 6 month appointment!”
That's The Power of a Fearless Mind
Hearing this story was so amazing to me. I know this brave 15 year old was able to conquer her surgery and heal so quickly because she maintained a positive attitude. She overcame her fears, held strong to her faith, and was able to conquer challenge after challenge with flying colors, healing MUCH faster than expected. While the road was rocky and challenging, she pushed through with a positive attitude and created a happy, liberating path for herself. This is the power of a fearless mind.
See you next post!