MMC Faces Behind
Canines Help Her Overcome Depression
For as long as she can remember, Kelly’s passion was to work in the
medical field. When she attended college, she pursued a degree in nursing
and worked on campus as a personal-care attendant for disabled students.
During her sophomore year, however, she left college to get married and
start a family.
In 1995, following the birth of her second child, Kelly began battling
depression. The condition was so debilitating that she had difficulty
getting out of bed. Trying to make ends meet on her husband’s minimum-wage
job while parenting two small children, under the age of three, was overwhelming.
Once Kelly pursued a career of her own, life began to settle down, giving
her a feeling of normalcy.
Then, during an emergency room visit with her one-year old daughter, Abbigail,
Kelly’s world began to spin out of control. “I was totally
shocked when the ED physician asked me what my pediatrician’s thoughts
were concerning my daughter’s scoliosis,” Kelly remarked.
“It was totally unrelated to our visit, and I had no idea what he
was talking about. For my own piece of mind, I scheduled an appointment
for her to be seen.”
Shriners Hospital for Children diagnosed Abbigail with Idiopathic Scoliosis.
Suddenly, Kelly’s life was consumed with numerous appointments to
physicians, therapies, and fittings for orthopedic devices. Unable to
juggle work with her personal commitments, Kelly was forced to quit her
job. For seven years, life was a cycle of surgeries, body casts and back
braces. “I would cry myself to sleep asking God why. Could I have
prevented this? I would pore over books in the hospital’s medical
library while my daughter slept upstairs,” Kelly remarked. “I
kept going through the motions, but it was like an out-of-body experience.
I was becoming increasingly withdrawn. Heartbroken, I watched as my daughter
was in 24-hour halo traction for three months. I was completely shattered
when I saw that frail little 8-year-old body that had just endured a 12-hour
surgery,” Kelly said as she held back tears.
When Abbigail’s surgery proved successful, Kelly could finally breathe
a sigh of relief, but something was still terribly amiss. She felt such
a sense of emptiness. With her children now school age and her husband
working third shift, she found herself feeling so isolated. Once again,
sadness took over. “It was a challenge to change into something
besides my pajamas. I had no desire to leave the house. I was miserable,”
“Had I known that adopting two rescue dogs would bring me such happiness,
I would have done it sooner,” Kelly commented. “Dogs are like
children: they need to be taken care of and they are excellent listeners.
I enrolled in obedience classes. The routine and structure gave me such
a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It wasn’t long before I became
involved with dog obedience competitions; it was a win-win situation.
It opened my eyes to a new world and allowed our family the opportunity
to travel together and meet new people.”
“I am so thankful for my family; both human and canine,” Kelly
joked. “My kids have taught me patience, courage and strength while
my husband, Neil, taught me tenacity. He was the glue that held us together.
I discovered a release that has brought new-found joy to my life.”
We are proud to introduce you to our November 2017 “Faces Behind
Your MMC” representative, Kelly Drake, Quality Improvement Specialist.