Scoliosis Fusion Surgery & Scars Only Make Me Stronger

You know it’s funny. I didn’t know how having scoliosis surgery would effect my modeling and acting career. But surprisingly it only made it – and me – stronger. Apparently everyone is not a shallow Hollywood jerk face we are all lead to believe. People barely notice the scars and if they do, a simple retouch in Photoshop or Lightroom clears them up in one fell swoop. As humans, we are not perfect. It is our imperfections that make us beautiful.

Since healing from surgery, I feel like a new, better version of myself. The kind of person who doesn’t take crap from anyone and has a strong sense of purpose and an even stronger sense of faith – in myself, the universe and life. It’s as if I was given a second chance at making my dreams come true. And you can bet I’m gonna reach the stars, moon and beyond.

I’ve had to shed some dead weight that was holding me down but that’s all part of the process I suppose. Some people were poking holes in my canoe. I see that now. I also see that I was using alcohol as a sort of pain management before surgery and could easily drink a bottle of champagne myself, then ask for more. That is not the person I am inside. That was the person my curving, twisted, painful spine had made me. And now everything is crystal clear. I see now who is really there for me, through thick and thin. Some old friends came out of the woodwork to support me and for that I am forever grateful. However it is much like the saying goes, it is who is there for you during times of happiness and sickness that truly count.

As promised, here are my scoliosis scar photos, some blended into my X-rays by my photographer friend Mark Harris Photography. He did an excellent job being my unofficial/official back study photographer. Little did we know when starting out, I would end up being a cyborg. You must assimilate says my father!

Here is my back circa January 2016.
Here is my back circa January 2016.
And here is what lay beneath in January 2016.
And here is what lay beneath in January 2016. At the time of surgery, the curve had reached 53 degrees.
The other side of my back with a slanted, visible curve in January 2016.
The other side of my back with a slanted, visible curve in January 2016.
Certainly not the most flattering photos but realistic nonetheless. My incredible shrinking spine had pushed my waist to the left side.
Certainly not the most flattering photos but realistic nonetheless. My incredible shrinking spine had pushed my waist to the left side.
And even with arms up, my crooked spine had shuffled my body to one side and I was gaining weight rapidly. It makes logical sense that if your organs are squished, your body cannot metabolize properly.
And even with arms up, my crooked spine had shuffled my body to one side and I was gaining weight rapidly. It makes logical sense that if your organs are squished, your body cannot metabolize properly.
My scoliosis scars 10 weeks post operation complete with Freddy Krueger slash on my right side where the doctor went through the front, put spacers in between some of my vertebrae and shaved some bone off my right hip to graft unto my spine.
My scoliosis scars 10 weeks post operation complete with Freddy Krueger slash on my right side where the doctor went through the front, put spacers in between some of my vertebrae and shaved some bone off my right hip to graft unto my spine. I still have that ridiculous mole which is called my chocolate chip.
So you can see exactly what lies beneath, Mark superimposed my new bionic spine right where the scars are placed.
So you can see exactly what lies beneath, Mark superimposed my new bionic spine right where the scars are placed.
After we grabbed the back shots, we headed to the nearby Gorgas Park for some colorful warm weather photos.
After we grabbed the back shots, we headed to the nearby Gorgas Park for some colorful warm weather photos.
My butt was a little flat white girl pancake like here. I've been delving back into yoga, squats and the stairmaster to fix that problem. Unlike most women, I find that flat pancake butt look very unattractive.
My butt was gettingĀ flat white girl pancake like here. I’ve been delving back into yoga, squats and the stairmaster to fix that problem. Unlike most women, I find that flat pancake butt look very unattractive.
Just me and my kitten pants hanging out in the park, looking taller, straighter and more streamlined.
Just me and my kitten pants hanging out in the park, looking taller, straighter and more streamlined from a photo from my cell phone.
I still can't twist, but can do the mashed potato. I'm also not allowed to fully bend yet.
I still can’t twist, but can do the mashed potato. I’m also not allowed to fully bend yet.
This photo sums up how I feel in general. Happy, revamped, energetic and looking forward to what the future holds. It's good to be back!
This photo sums up how I feel in general. Happy, revamped, energetic and looking forward to what the future holds. It’s good to be back!

And just like I said, I have been hitting the gym hard as well as physical therapy weekly. Most people think PT is easy but not with my new trainers… I mean therapists. Lucky me, I get a two for one deal as a student named Steve is shadowing my new guy, Terry. So they both torture me twice as much! And on my days at the gym, I have been doing walking, climbing and the elliptical, adding in hand weights, planks, side planks and squats. Just last weekend I returned to yoga class which was nice although I couldn’t do all the moves or twist, I could still work my legs and drop down to the ground from a plank which surprised even myself. Of course there are days I need to rest my body and I remind myself of that and do so. But it isn’t easy.

Going on a trip down south with one of my besties and making a pit stop to model along the way was a true test of endurance. We spent almost 12 hour days running around, doing tours and exploring and by midnight I would crash. Then up and at it again at 9 a.m. Granted, she drove all the way and I did nap along the route and totally crashed with I got home, but it was worth it. And I think it proved to me that most of my limitation is in my mind. If I feel this good now, I can only imagine how amazing I will feel by next year!