I'll be back at you bright and early next week because SUNDAY IS THE DAY RYAN IS DRESSING UP LIKE SANTA AND THERE WILL BE SO MANY PICTURES/VIDEO ON MONDAY!!!!!! And also, less importantly, Tuesday is our 2 year wedding anniversary, so I have a post planned for that as well. And I still owe you all a review of The Casual Vacancy but it's been hard to read with all that's going on lately. Because it turns out that if you read a book while on muscle relaxers you do not remember what you read the next day.
So I thought today would be a good opportunity to help out a friend. I'm sure many of you know Heidi from Girl To Mom which means many of you probably know by now that she's written a book! A book that supports a very good cause. So when Heidi, who I met at BlogHer this year and who gave me a big hug even though I almost certainly smelled like bacon (there was SO MUCH bacon for breakfast) asked me if I would mention her book here, I thought I would do her one better.
So without further ado, here's Heidi.
Hello to Lauren's adorable readers! My name is Heidi and Lauren is very generously letting me guest blog and share my story with you. I'm a fellow blogger (GirlToMom.com) and the reason I started my blog, which led me to meeting Lauren and stalking her, is the reason for this post.
The holiday season is all about being thankful and I have a lot to be thankful for, my little boy Bexon, age 5, has a rare form of scoliosis that is potentially fatal in babies and young children, but he was saved by an unlikely village of heroes.
At age 19 months, his little spine was so dangerously curved; his back looked like a letter "C." The craziest part was that it happened really fast, at age one his spine looked pretty normal, with a slight curve that was almost unnoticeable to a casual glance, but over the next six months it veered off course like a train hurtling off the tracks.
I've heard it said that if your boat aim is off by even one degree as you set sail for Hawaii, you will miss the island by 100 miles. That’s what it's like with Progressive Infantile Scoliosis, the slightly curved spine gets way worse as the child goes through rapid spinal growth before age two. (Interesting fact: The human spine grows 50 percent of its full adult length before age two.)
The other unbelievable part of our story is that no doctors in the entire city of Los Angeles, and we went to "the best in the West," gave us the right medical advice or even warned us that our baby's spine could crush his heart and lungs. We found the right treatment, a series of non-surgical body casts, through a Google search.
Without the Internet, our boy's life would've been forever altered for the worse, he would've endured horrible multiple surgeries from age three on, been deformed and fragile and suffered pain, not to mention psychological damage. He couldn't have jumped or been bumped in the lunch line at school, let alone play sports.
The reason we're so lucky is we found a non-profit charity started by an incredible single mom in Colorado named Heather Montoya, whose daughter Olivia has IS. Heather helped bring a form of casting (body/torso casts) that are the only cure for this condition if begun in time, ideally starting under age two. At nineteen months, we were almost too late.
This treatment was invented by an India-born female doctor named Min Mehta who practiced in the U.K., but it's only done in the U.S. because of Heather's advocacy and Bex’s doctor being willing to learn the technique.
As a mother, I wanted to crawl into a hole from the fear and horror of this situation, honestly, I wanted a morphine drip. I wanted to be put into a coma until it was over (I developed PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression), but you can't give up as a parent, you have to advocate for your baby and fight.
My fear tuned into anger and outrage that this treatment wasn’t done in the whole state of California, it was hardly done in the U.S. at all. We travel to Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah for medical care, and we owe them so much- without Dr. Mehta, Heather and Olivia, and Shriners, we would’ve been lost.
Bottom line, other kids like our son were (and are) falling through the cracks every day, doctors were making 1.5 million dollars per child from these surgeries and it was in my opinion, criminal, when these non-surgical casts are a cure.
Cut to today. Bex has had 10 Mehta/EDF casts from the age of 19 months to 4 years old, and he is now in a night time only, removeable brace. His spine went from 63 degrees at 19 months (zero being straight) down to 1.21 degrees at age 5 in his current brace!
While I was in the thick of his treatment, before we knew what my son's outcome would be, I began writing a novel called CROOKED LOVE about it, in order to get the word out to save more children and provide comfort to other families in this boat. The characters are fictionalized, I made the mom younger than me and a single mother, because I simply can't imagine how moms like my friend Heather survive this alone.
I added some subplots and twists and turns, humor and a love story to make it a good, fun read, but the medical facts and the emotions are all true. (The book is available on Amazon in paperback, with the Kindle and Nook e book versions coming next week that will be a lot cheaper at $5.99.)
Two dollars from the sale of each book will go to The Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program and Shriners Hospitals (one dollar each), and I'd love to give three signed copies to you guys. Take it away, Lauren and thank you so much! I will be closely following your yoga moves and delightful Christmas cheer. XOXO
Oh hey guys! It's me again! As Heidi mentioned she's giving away three copies of her book (which is in a vein a la Jodi Picoult) to all of you. So if you'd like a copy just comment here. And if you have any questions at all for Heidi, post those in the comment section as well and she'll be more than happy to answer them.
I'll talk to you all on Monday!