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Becoming Better—Literally—Using the Power of Our Minds

Every time the nurses or doctors came into my daughter’s hospital room, they shuffled through her chart, puzzled.

“Did they forget to mark her oxycodone, her painkillers?” they would ask.

“She hasn’t taken any. She’s doing fine with the ibuprofen,” I would confirm.

“Are you sure? That doesn’t seem right.”

Yet it was perfect. In the days following major bone surgery, my then 15-year-old daughter, Chiara — who gave me permission to share her story — only took one oxycodone pill. Knowing that 6-10% of patients post-surgery end up on long-term use of opioid painkillers, we wanted to stay as far away as possible from an addiction epidemic that is all too real in America. And with the help of an empowering self-managed program, we succeeded. So if you or someone you know ever faces a planned surgery (especially during the time of Covid), tuck away this post, because what you’ll learn could be of measurable and immeasurable help.

Chiara’s Story

In June of 2018, my daughter underwent surgery. A major one. Her left femur was sawed in two, straightened with a piece of cadaver bone, and fused together with a titanium plate. We had been through the ordeal once before with her right leg 18 months earlier. And while I wouldn’t call it “easy” or “routine”, my daughter came through with relative ease, each day better than the day before. Her story is a shining and powerful example of how we can access the power of our thinking to help heal ourselves and each other.

Chiara was born with a rare disease (XLH) that led to soft bones. It wasn’t diagnosed until she was two-and-a-half, and by then she was bow-legged. Thankfully, this didn’t harm her other than making her an awkward, if non-existent athlete. And it meant she (we) had to stay on top of her medicine doses 5-times-a-day and monitor everything closely with her doctors. Despite the medicines, once she stopped growing she’d still need surgery to straighten her legs.

While the osteotomies were the most intensive part of Chia