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Why Andrew Butters Wrote Bent But Not Broken

When a family is dealt a gut punch

cover art

When a family is dealt a gut punch as hard as the one we were, you learn a few things about yourselves in the process. For us, the punch that knocked the wind out of our lungs was a diagnosis of severe idiopathic scoliosis for Avery, our eleven-year-old daughter and big sister to AJ, our seven-year-old son. The only viable treatment option was spinal fusion surgery.

It was a terrifying prospect to stare down and one that even after several months of appointments and research and internet searches did not yield much information about what we could expect. Four months after, we knew that surgery was in Avery’s future and we were still frustrated with the lack of information on what our family would actually experience. So, my genius wife, Jodi, started a family blog.

It was there that Avery, Jodi, and I would share our thoughts and experiences about this journey in real time—or as close to real time as we could get. Jodi was determined that if there were other families searching for this information that we would be able to provide it.

We started the blog in September 2014 and wrote up to the surgery, several times during the eleven-hour procedure, and then for a year after. That’s how long the recovery period was after her surgery—one year—and something wonderful happened in the time we were writing. Aside from receiving hundreds of well-wishes in the form of emails, phone calls, prayers, the sending of good “vibes”, and hugs, we started getting messages from people who wanted to pass our blog along to a friend or family member going through the same thing. We received messages of thanks from families for sharing our story. We even became Facebook and Instagram friends with a mother in Argentina whose son was to have the surgery eleven months after Avery (hello Carla and Gonzalo!)

When it was all said and done and the blog came to its rightful conclusion the writer in me couldn’t leave it alone. If the blog was so successful at spreading the message then surely there were other ways to help spread the word. Surely, there were experiences we lived through that taught us lessons that applied beyond Avery’s scoliosis. Surely, there was a bigger story to tell.

Bent But Not Broken is a heartfelt journey of my daughter and our family as we navigate the healthcare system from diagnosis to surgery and beyond. Follow us as we use our own words in blog posts, and through an emotional and gripping narrative that puts you by our side through all the ups, downs, challenges, and successes of an experience that changed our lives. It was an experience that taught us that compassion and love build strong communities and even stronger families, and that true strength comes from the most unlikely sources.

The book releases on the third anniversary of the surgery, January 20, 2018 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and for Kindle. It will be available in all formats at Barnes & Noble and Indigo in the New Year. An up-to-date listing of where it is available is always kept on the Bent But Not Broken book page on the Oghma Creative Media website.

family photoAndrew Butters has been in the software business since 1997, writing since 2010, and is the one who came up with the idea of turning the family blog chronicling their personal struggle with scoliosis to help other families through their own. Avery Butters was born in 2002 and diagnosed with severe idiopathic scoliosis in 2014 at the age of 11 after a routine exam. This is her story. Her younger brother, AJ Butters, was born in 2006, and was the reason Avery’s condition was uncovered. Jodi Wilks-Butters has been a public servant since 1996 and the original blog that gave rise to Bent But Not Broken was her idea. They all live in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada with their three cats. bentbutnotbroken.net

I’d like to thank Andrew for coming to my blog to share his powerful and moving story. I love seeing all of your smiles in the picture! Nothing gets you quite like having your child suffering! I hope you all will check out Andrew’s story and book!

Perilously yours,

Pauline