Carla

Carla

“What’s something you love to do with your kids?”

“Um, I like to play football with them. With my boy. And then volleyball with my daughter. She’s really into that, and gymnastics. But I can’t do that. I’m disabled now.”

“I’m not disabled and I can’t do gymnastics either.”

“I can still do the splits, though, and I’m going to be 43 years old. And I can still do cartwheels.”

[Carla demonstrates that she can do the splits. We laugh and I groan with pain.]

“That’s impressive!”

“I’m still real limber, even though my spine is deteriorating.”

“What’s going on with your spine?”

“I got sick from the flood, and it caused an infection in my body. It traveled to my spine. My lumbar 2 is totally gone. My lumbar 3 is deteriorating. It’s almost gone. And my lumbar 4 is deteriorating. They say they don’t even know how I’m still walking.”

“Geesh. So there’s nothing they can do for it?”

“Nope. No surgery. Too risky.”

“And it’s all from an infection?”

“Yeah, like something in the water, you know, that was like bacterial. But I’m very fortunate. I mean, I beat cancer twice.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I had some tumors, and I had them taken care of. I’m in remission, and I’ve been in remission for like a year now. I’m very strong willed. I’m blessed.”

“When you found out you had cancer, how did you beat it?”

“I really got depressed. I got down, and I wasn’t going to do the chemo, but my boyfriend stood by me, and he really pushed me, and then I decided, ‘Okay. I’m gonna do it.’ It was scary to me, and I lost all my hair and everything. The first time was like 2009-2010, so it’s been in remission for a while. And then I had some more tumors. […] And I just overcame my depression and stood up and fought, because I had a lot of friends that encouraged me, and my family. They were like, ‘You’re stronger than that.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not!’ I got kind of crazy, like didn’t leave my house for months at a time. And then I just, one day I was like, ‘Okay! I’m going to stand up and fight.'”

“So, my friend’s going through a lot of things right now, and I’m helping her. She’s had a hip replacement and it’s dislocated, and then she fell and it lodged backwards. So, this is kind of my ‘pay it forward’ thing.”