My name is Caitlin and I was born and raised in Bellevue, WA. I grew up dancing almost everyday for many many years and performing in competitions. I was also a cheerleader in high school, which at my school was more like a dance team. I went to University of Idaho as pre-med major then transferred to San Diego to go to nursing school instead. I moved to San Diego in 2005. I have basically lived here ever since except for the few months in other cities when I was a travel nurse. I started my nursing career in the NICU then began travel nursing and did NICU, PICU and pediatrics. I have also worked in an outpatient surgery center and have experience in leadership, education and lead roles.
I had lower back issues start when I was in high school and officially gave up dancing right after college due to the pain. I am big into yoga, barre and pilates. In 2013, I got my 200 hr yoga teacher training certification and taught classes for a couple of years, but with my nursing schedule, it was too difficult to keep my regular classes. Around this time, I started having hip pain, but I chalked it up to an old torn hip flexor injury from when I was younger. I ignored it and pushed through it and thought that having a high pain tolerance was bidding me well. I remember feeling it in pilates and sometimes having to stop doing the exercise to let my hip move around and not feel “stuck.” I also would feel that stuck feeling when I was biking on my beach cruiser. The pain got progressively worse, but I just thought that it was me getting older and maybe there was some scar tissue from the old tear. I live a very active lifestyle and I didn’t want it holding me back.
In 2016, I had an injury to my cervical spine and I was diagnosed with stenosis, several disc herniations, severe cord compression and spinal cord bruising and injury. I was injured on the job when lifting a patient. I had a multilevel cervical spine fusion. Through finding a surgeon to repair my cervical spine, I also found the hip specialist of San Diego. After many X-rays, arthrogram MRIs and CT scans, he sent me to his partner for another opinion. They both diagnosed me with bilateral acetabular dysplasia which basically means shallow hip sockets on both sides. I was also diagnosed with anterior labral tears on both sides and femoroacetabular impingement. From my images, both surgeons agreed I was a rare case and they presented me at a radiology conference for more opinions on treatment options. Being a rare case and having your surgeons tell you they are not sure what to do with you, is always so comforting and just what I wanted to hear! (Said in sarcastic tone!) It was determined that I would need an arthroscopy, ostectomy and a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO). I had all of that TWICE; eighth months apart for each hip. This blog followed my experience in recoveries and now follows life after surgical repairs. My fifth and final surgery in two years, was to have the hardware removed. I am now the proud owner of seven very expensive titanium screws (not including the hardware that is still in my neck)!
As for my neck, unfortunately the fusion did not fuse. It is called a non-union and sadly, I have another surgery in my future to fix it all. I am not ready physically and more importantly, mentally at this time and my neurosurgeons are on board with it being on my time. So in the meantime, I have gotten back to living life and being the active and adventurous person that I once was! I am trying to buy as much time as my body will allow until I need the next cervical spine repair.