** Julia Update: March 1st, 3PM PST. Julia’s surgery was successful! This morning Dr. Eman of Boston Childrens/Harvard Medical performed a 6-hour surgery that fused and held together 12 of her vertebrae with titanium instrumentation. Sasha reported that Julia was scared, but strong. Julia is now resting in recovery. Seven members of Julia’s family made the journey to Boston to support her through this major surgery. Again, you can check on Julia and her progress at www.Caringbridge.org/visit/juliamiller. So happy to report great news! **
I sit in awe and inspiration this morning. As I write, there is a special Snoqualmie young lady traveling all the way to Boston to undergo major surgery. I coached this special 7th grader for two soccer seasons. She always played with determination and hustle. Whatever I asked of her defensively she always did – at 100%. She never quit on the field and never complained.
This beautiful girl didn’t play soccer this fall and we missed her. I had no idea of her medical condition until the last month or so. Once her mother explained the seriousness of her scoliosis I was amazed that I got to coach her for two years. I always thought of scoliosis (curvature of the spine) as something completely treatable with a traditional back brace. I never imagined what happens when that brace doesn’t solve the problem – when the solution becomes major surgery.
When Julia’s conditioned worsened this fall her mom went to work. She traveled the country looking for a skilled surgeon and the best procedure for her daughter. She didn’t just head to Seattle Childrens and schedule the surgery. Sasha studied the disease, the surgery and knew what she wanted for her daughter – that being the best long-term outcome. That search finally landed her in Boston at a meeting with a Harvard orthopedic specialist. This week she is taking Julia to Boston Children’s Hospital for her surgery. One that requires a two-week recovery hospital stay.
The passion and fierceness of a mother is amazing to witness. About two months ago a complicated surgery involving a titanium rod being inserted into her daughter’s spine was outlined. Fear would be my first reaction. I cannot tell if it was Sasha’s. Her protective instinct went to work. She educated herself on the surgery, the outcome, the side effects. No surgery was not an option since Julia’s spine was quickly degenerating. She lost an inch of height in one month once the scoliosis worsened. Organs on one side of the body began to be compressed. Even putting the surgery off until summer vacation was not an option.
Back here in Snoqualmie, you would never know what this cheerful girl was going through. Active, friendly and vibrant every time I ran into her. Simply amazing. In tandem is a mother whose passion for her daughter is plainly evident. Both mother and daughter are my Sunday morning inspiration. So to Sasha and Julia, I wish you safe travels and best outcomes. There are an awful lot of people at home thinking of you, praying for you and wishing you nothing but the best outcome possible. You amazing ladies are in my thoughts.
You can get updates on Julia by visiting www.Caringbridge.org/visit/juliamiller.