As you may already know, Lady Gaga has reached out to our forum moderator Emma, who suffers from scoliosis and hip dysplasia, to pay for a trip to New York City to meet the same team of doctors who helped the singer with her own hip surgery last month. Emma was kind enough to share her story below.
“Where to start? This whole thing still feels like a crazy dream that I haven’t woken up from. Prior to attending my Born This Way Ball on February 6th in St. Paul, MN, I never in a million years thought I’d meet one of my personal idols, let alone develop a friendship with her. If anyone ever told me that anything of that nature would ever happen to me, I’d probably call you crazy.
Despite a rough childhood with a lot of medical and emotional trauma, most of the time, I was always happy and smiling. My parents did a great job instilling me with good morals from the get-go – despite being physically different, but I was always treated just the same as any other child. Somewhere along the line, though, between constant hospital stays and surgeries, I realized that in fact, I had something that other people didn’t. And to be frank, it wasn’t something that I put in a positive light.
For example – my first childhood memory? Age three, circa 1997, we were living in a suburb of Sioux Falls, SD. I distinctly remember attempting to crawl around the hard-wood floors in a purple Spica cast – reason being, I had my very first major hip surgery due to hip dysplasia. With both legs casted and pins on my ball and sockets keeping the joints together, I spent over six weeks recovering. My parents – bless their souls – would travel six hours one way to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, MN – a hospital that specializes in treating children with all kinds of disabilities. Eventually, we had to move to a small northwestern Wisconsin town, where I’m still living, in order to be in closer proximity to the hospital’s main campus. Sixteen years, two near death experiences, and dozens of surgeries later, I maintain a very close relationship with the hospital and staff – often expressing my desire to work there as young as ages ten or eleven. Even throughout really difficult times, such as a second procedure to re-align my hips at age twelve and a full spinal fusion for life-threatening Scoliosis less than a year later, my family and I persevered and stuck it out.