Can you imagine going through life with a spine that is so curved it altered the shape of your entire back? Now, add in a lifetime of daily activities with a spine that is not supposed to be shaped like that, combined with motherhood, work, a marriage and a daily stresses on the body. That is what my friend, Katrina, has been enduring for over three decades. She has suffered every single day of her life with no end in sight and finally has a glimmer of hope: a corrective surgery that will allow her to live PAIN FREE once successfully completed!
The surgery, however, will be grueling and requires MONTHS of recovery, best case scenario. This has been sprung on Katrina and, with a husband and small son, naturally her first concern is for her family and how will they cope while she is out of commission (literally) for months. Katrina is a writer and her livelihood depends on her ability to sit at a computer for hours on end, which she won’t be able to do for quite some time after her surgery. Not only does she have to worry about basic necessities like paying bills, but she also has to worry about getting food on the table, going back and forth to Duke...How can they afford this when their household has suddenly been cut down by 50% of its income? How will they afford all the doctor’s visits and expenses along with a whole host of unforeseen expenses that have suddenly been thrust upon them? All of these burdens are on her right now and, of course, it comes after having taken a huge hit financially during Covid.
I asked Katrina if she would be ok with me beginning this fundraiser for her and her family. Brandon (her husband) and Skye (her son) already have enough to worry about come February without having to concern themselves with how to pay for a hotel room so they can be near the hospital or gas to get there, etc. And forget even thinking about the months following the surgery. It’s enough to bring someone to their knees.
Let’s help check their worries at the doors of Duke Hospital when Katrina checks in for surgery...please consider donating today to help a local OBX family during their time of need. All of the funds raised will go directly to Katrina and her medical bills/expenses to help her family through the challenging months ahead.
Any amount will help...please don’t think that a small donation won’t make a difference- it will! One hundred people thinking $10 wouldn’t do any good, when combined together, would be $1000! That’s a huge difference!
So seriously, thank you in advance for any donation! And if you can’t donate today, there is still a way you can help: SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! Getting this fundraiser out there and sharing it means more than you know.
**Katrina has written a letter below explaining her circumstances:
This December, an orthopedic surgeon at Duke University told me he was scheduling me for spinal fusion surgery on February 2nd. It’s a risky, major procedure, where they’ll slice in from the base of my neck clear down to my lower back, putting in pins, screws, and ground up cadaver bone. 8 hours of surgery. 1 week in the hospital. 3 months of recovery.I got that news and I cheered.
When I was a kid, I remember having adults bark at me to stand up straight a lot. As a preteen, I used to lay down on the floor after walking for long periods. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I got my diagnosis. Not from the orthopedic specialist I saw– who didn’t believe my condition was worth treating, but from the physical therapist I saw after. I have Sheuermann's Kyphosis, a spinal disorder in the same vein as scoliosis. The not-cute term for it is hunchback. “Hunchback” is what someone yelled out a car window at me when I was 16.
When I was 16, how I looked in my clothes, what idiots were yelling out of car windows, people repeatedly asking if I was pregnant, that was most of my concern. But as I got older the curve in my spine got worse, and I had new concerns. The pain graduated from something that caused me to take a few more breaks after a long day to taking long bathroom breaks at work so that I could lay down on the dirty restroom floor. It got worse when my son was born, the demands of caring for a newborn causing enough pain that I was frequently reduced to tears. The pain became a constant thing I had to power through. I tried everything in the book to manage it– heat, ice, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, booze, a tens device, CBD, and so many ibuprofen my liver is starting to shut down. I saw more doctors, who reluctantly prescribed more drugs. My six-year-old learned how to get mommy her ice packs out of the freezer, because some days I couldn’t get up to get them myself.
And then at that appointment at Duke in December, for the first time in my life I heard a doctor say, “Your condition is severe. It’s causing you daily pain. And we should do something about it.”
The surgery will reduce or eliminate my pain and it will stop the curve from getting any worse. As a bonus, I’m going to be taller, and I get to tell people I’m a cyborg.
It feels like a light at the end of a tunnel, but there’s a lot of obstacles to get there still. Like many families, COVID wreaked havoc on our finances, and we’re behind on basically all of our bills. My husband works full time and then some, but it’s not enough to cover expenses for our family of three. I work full-time as a fantasy author and freelance writer. Some months I make bank and some months I make nothing, and we’ve had a few too many nothing months in a row. Now, instead of focusing on my surgery and recovery, I’m worried about…
-My husband taking unpaid time off of work while I’m in the hospital.
-The cost of the hotel he’ll stay at for that week (we live four hours away).
-The gas to get there and back for my surgery, as well as all my pre and post-op appointments.
-Petsitting for my dog while we’re away.
-Medications, medical equipment, copays, and hospital bills.
-The one to three months I won’t be working, where we’ll only have a single income to support us.
-Physical Therapy Appointments and the means to get there and back, not to mention pay for them.
And that’s just if everything goes right. God forbid I need to be in the hospital longer. Or need to hire in-home assistance.
I’m ready to embrace a new life without pain, where I can take care of my family and chase after my beautiful little boy and not worry about the lumbar support on waiting room chairs. I want to keep dancing badly at my community theater and I never want to lay on the floor of a bathroom again.
I just need a little help to get there first. Any little bit you can give my family to get us through the next few months would mean the world.
- Amanda Finchem
- Michael Powers
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