Noun A rising again into life, activity, and prominence
Who We Are
We’re two California girls who have bonded over some badass surgeries.
We became friends in high school, both active and athletic in our own ways. Kate was a talented ballerina and Molly dominated in volleyball, basketball, and soccer.
During our college years, we reconnected when we both underwent traumatic surgeries within the same year. While Molly was recovering from her car accident, Kate reached out and sent her a picture of the back brace she was bound to after her final spine surgery.
We bonded all over again, knowing that in many ways, we now shared an experience that no one else in our lives had quite shared in the same way. Both of us, respected athletes in our disciplines, feeling disabled and powerless; uncertain of what the future held for us. Would we ever be the same again? Was our talent taken from us?
Fast forward to today: we are not only recovered from our surgeries, we are thriving. (Read our personal stories of resurgence below)
With this project, this movement, this community... we have decided that it is time for not only our stories to be heard, but all of your stories as well: The stories of athletic people embodying human resilience. Help us inspire those about to undergo surgery, or who have undergone surgery and are asking themselves the same questions we all grappled with during our periods of uncertainty. Help us inspire those with scars who view their wounds as painful reminders instead of emblems of survival. Help us get the message out that there IS life after surgery.
Follow our daily motivational posts on Instagram for badass scar pics, stories, post-op tips, self-love, body confidence, and overall inspiration to help with the tough realities of life after surgery
Our Stories of Resurgence
Surgery Summary "My idiopathic scoliosis was discovered when I was 12 years old. Naturally, when you wear a ballet leotard everyday, it was only a matter of time before noticing that one shoulder protrudes more than the other. I had to wear a back brace, which I describe as a corset made of bone-like plastic over my uniform to school during 7th and 8th grade. I only got to take it off when I showered, ate, and danced. In tandem, I went to a Feldenkrais practitioner: a less invasive form of physical therapy that I would highly recommend to those with physical ailments.
By the time I was 17 years old, my orthopedic surgeon told me that my spine (an s-curve: 52 degree thoracic curvature and 38 degree lumbar curvature) would get 1 degree worse every year if I did not undergo spinal fusion surgery.
Spinal fusion surgery is said to be next to open-heart surgery in the level of severity it entails. I was prone for 9 hours, lost pints of blood, and had 5 lbs of stainless steel (Harrington rods) bolted and screwed in fusing 10 vertebrae."
Resurgence "A difficult summer passed and I returned for my senior year at boarding school in Connecticut. Miraculously, only 6 months after my spinal fusion surgery, I was not only dancing in our winter dance show, I was choreographing and even had a solo. My orthopedic surgeon at UCSF said it was the quickest recovery from this type of surgery he had ever witnessed and claimed it was due to my dancer flexibility and strength.
I never danced with a ballet school again, and even though my teachers encouraged me to become a professional dancer, I knew dancing was not what I wanted to do for a career even prior to my surgery. After the fusion, my arabesques and back bends were never the same. I began dancing for fun, taking up different styles like latin and contemporary just to fuel my soul.
I won’t lie to you though… the physical pain isn’t the worst part of recovering from surgery: it’s the mental and emotional pain of watching your friends live their lives while you lie there immobile feeling powerless. That’s when you are handed the choice to step into a new identity. Your friends and family (most likely) don’t know what you are going through and you have yet to find out who you are going to be when all this is over. Although at the time it never feels like it will end. But it does. And a few months go by, a year, a few years and suddenly you realize you’ve forgotten the pain. You fully step into your reality of a different version of yourself. Not the same, maybe not capable of what you once were capable of (physically), but mentally… you are infinitely more resilient than you were before your surgery.
I had a new thirst, a new drive to challenge and test what I was capable of. I didn’t do anything crazy… well, I jumped 18,000 feet out of a plane once, but I am EXTREMELY mindful of what could really do damage to my spine. I mean, to this day, I still walk very, very slowly down a hill or on ice because I’m terrified of falling and hurting my spine; I do risk serious consequences. However, I dance, I do yoga, and I have been kicking ass in Muay Thai boxing for the last 2 years! I won’t ever compete in boxing of course, I won’t become a professional dancer or master yogini, but it’s all phenomenal physical and mental exercise. And the point is, I CAN DO IT. " [FULL STORY]
Surgery Summary "I grew up playing sports. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship and play Division 1 College Volleyball at Iona College.
Going into my Junior year at Iona, I was in a very serious car accident. I fractured my neck in the same place Christopher Reeves (C2) had, and suffered some other painful injuries including two punctured lungs, a fractured arm and some gnarly scars on my arm from the glass of the car. I am lucky to be alive and walking.
After my accident, I underwent neck surgery. They put a rod in for 6 months which would help my fracture heal. During those 6 months I couldn’t do much physical activity. I had never gone this long without playing sports and staying active. I felt useless. I felt defeated. Sports defined me growing up. I had never been much of a bench player so sitting on the bench was a new feeling for me. It was a tough 6 months watching my close friends excel into a championship match, an experience I will never be able to say I did. The question "why me?" popped into my head a lot at this time in my life.
I was waiting for the day to be able to get back on the court. My doctor had told me I would be fine when the rod was taken out. To me, fine meant being able to come back and be the same athlete that I once was. The rod was taken out 2 days after the championship game. Talk about timing huh? The rod was out and I was ready to play again. Or at least that’s what I thought."
Resurgence "After months of training with my team, I couldn’t lift as much weight as I had before, I couldn’t hit the ball as hard as before, I wasn’t as quick as before. I was not and I was never going to be the player that I was before surgery. I was completely shocked. I was expecting to be the same kid that I was pre-surgery, so when I couldn't build that strength I once had it was devastating. If you’re an athlete I’m sure you can imagine how hard of a pill this was to swallow. I was heartbroken. I had a harder time mentally and emotionally than the physical pain I endured.
Unfortunately my collegiate career didn't end on a high note. I went from being a starter to a bench player towards the end of my career. Even though I didn’t end my collegiate career as I wanted, I’m grateful for the opportunities it gave me. I pushed and stretched myself as much as I could to get back on the volleyball court. An experience that few face, but a true test of resilience. My recovery made me stronger than ever and I wouldn’t change it for a second. My tattoo “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” is my reminder that I’ve overcome adversity.
I wouldn't be on the career path that I'm on now if my accident hadn't happened. I specialize in working with athletes who have experienced a setback, move past their mental and emotional roadblocks so they can move forward and thrive, not only in sports but also so they may succeed in other areas of life.
It may have taken me a few years to appreciate my experience fully, but I’m thankful every day that I can get up and work my ass off. The strides I’ve made with my physical strength always surprise me but it’s my mental strength that I’m most proud of."