Patient gives back through volunteering

2012-02-07 13:18:59 by tdomf_6569b, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

Akron Children's Hospital has played a vital role in my life. At age 2 I was hospitalized here with a broken femur. In 2008 I found out I had scoliosis. I tried a chiropractor to fix it with exercises and back adjustments, but the curvature rapidly increased.

A few months after finding out I had scoliosis (I was competing in the long jump in Track & Field when I put my back out of place and had X-rays done) I was told my curvature required surgery. So, about a month later I came into this very hospital scared to death. Everyone here, though, was amazing and put me right at ease.

The scoliosis surgery was incredible - I never said easy or painless - but worth it! If I told you this surgery was no big deal, I'd be lying. But I can tell you that there is hope.

A couple days after surgery I was up and walking, and within a couple months, I was back to sports. I was a huge athlete prior to the surgery, so I wasn't going to let this situation bring me down. I was diving on the volleyball court, running, etc. It took awhile, but slowly my strength returned.

For me, this surgery was traumatic for many reasons. I'd never been in the hospital before (other than with my broken femur), and I could no longer compete in sports my junior and senior years in high school as competitively as before surgery. I don't want to scare you by any means. This surgery saved my life as prior to it I couldn't run for long without losing my breath. There was so much pressure on my lungs and I walked crookedly, so I also lost my speed.

Due to emotional abuse and trauma growing up, I turned to anorexia to cope. I was hospitalized many times during 2009 for my eating disorder. They even called "code blue" on me since my heart rate had dropped to an unconscious rate.

I could've died many times, but Akron Children's saved my life!

I was so malnourished that my body was eating away at my muscle. Eventually, this last muscle was my heart. I had many physical symptoms due to anorexia - lanugo (fine, white body hair), irregular heartbeat, etc. I was hospitalized 3-4 times within about 2 months at my worst. I was hospitalized for a total of about 8-10 times because of my eating disorder.

I am blessed to say that Akron Children's Hospital physically saved my life. I received emotional and spiritual healing elsewhere - but I am excited to now be on the other side of anorexia. It's so much more beautiful on this side.

I am forever grateful for the miracles Akron Children's did in my life.  I now volunteer every Wednesday to try and give back - also because I love this place with all of my heart and the people here. I want to be a light in the darkness and bring smiles, hope, laughter and fun. I want to help the rest of the world see how beautiful this hospital is. Many miracles happen here.

I want to thank the adolescent clinic and also my two doctors in sports medicine.  I am forever grateful for your passion and incredible care. I would truly not be here without you. This hospital is full of staff and volunteers with incredible passion and talent.  I would be honored to one day work here as a nurse. There is no better place to bring your child, in my eyes.

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