Carina’s story below is one of overcoming numerous health challenges to find her calling in life, and to achieve success as an artist. Through her many setbacks, she learned more and more about herself and what she really wanted out of life. This is why we always say that adversity turns you into the person that you are meant to be. It is very worth noting that Carina made a promise to turn her life around and kept that promise, no matter what. This created a chain reaction where she was able to become more productive than she ever had before in her life through the positive energy that she was giving herself through the love of her art. Here’s her story in her own words…
I was born in Buenos Aires in 1974 to Italian immigrants. I came to the US when I was 4 together with my other six siblings. I’m so glad I did, because the USA saved my life over and over…
I was born with kyphoscoliosis (a forward rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback posture). At the age of 10 I had my first big surgery. I wore body casts and orthopedic braces from the age of 4 on and off to adulthood.
Going to school was really tough because I was teased and bullied by my brace and prominent rib hump that made it hard to sit or a hard surface. I had complications with my first surgery and got a terrible infection that left me hospitalized for three months.
I did not just grow up with physical disabilities but also with learning disabilities. I can’t memorize anything and I can’t comprehend when I read but I can understand audios. I have short attention span as well. All these disabilities made school so difficult for me.
I married an unfaithful abusive alcoholic in 2000. I stayed in this relationship four years until he moved to Canada and it became my opportunity to escape. While going through a separation In 2004 though, my endometriosis was discovered.
I endured five abdominal surgeries for my endometriosis. I also had a reconstructed surgery where the doctor was trying to fix my rib hump and the surgery was unsuccessful.
I grew up being bullied and had no self esteem and believed that if I could get rid of my rib hump I would feel better about myself. I ended up having a lot of nerve damage from trying to correct my deformity. which causes me pain until today.
The doctor made the mistake of taking out the rod in my back and my entire spine began collapsing shortly after. By 2006, my ribs were rapidly collapsing on my lungs making it difficult to breathe.
I remember when I got the news that I was collapsing and I would end up in a wheelchair and then probably die from not being able to breathe. This news made me suicidal.
I needed $500.000 dollars to perform a life saving surgery and my Medicaid didn’t cover for this type of surgery. One night I became so depressed I overdosed, but my sister saved my life.
While recovering, I had a dream where a light filled being straightened my spine. In my dream, I became straight and walking normally. Two weeks after this dream, my brother Rick found Baylor Hospital and Dr. Shelekov in Plano, Texas.
I feel like one of the luckiest person in the entire universe to have received a life saving surgery pro Bono. I wrote to the hospital and both the hospital and Dr. Shelekov took so much compassion to my story that they decided to save my life. After the surgery i grew 4 inches and I am almost completely straight now.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of my challenges though.
in 2010 I was diagnosed with ovarian failure and I became very depressed and anxious. An ordeal that took years to recover. I developed severe anxiety and depression that became crippling. My intolerance and allergies to medications made my symptoms untreatable and doctors didn’t know how to help me. I became completely hopeless and suicidal again. I was rushed to Mount Sinai weighting 92 pounds.
But I was not ready to die. I began praying to God and talking to him asking him to save my life once more, and if he did l would start creating art and inspire. I knew God was real because I had dreamed of God once when I separated from my abusive husband.
I had seen the movie “Heaven is for real” where I was inspired by the artist in the film, Akiane Kramaric. Her incredible story of faith and God and the visions she gets from heaven left me completely speechless. Akiane made me believe that I could do it too.
So I decided to ask God to give me another chance to live and I would try to do something with my life regardless of my condition. I asked him to make me a good artist.
The very next day I began tolerating the medications. In 2015, l was diagnosed with another challenge… a rare genetic disorder called Elhers Danlos Syndrome, but despite that, miraculously, my diseases seems to have stopped progressing.
I began drawing and painting in all mediums. I learned to do a lot of meditation and spiritual healing to control some of the pain so I can do my work. When I have bad days, I rest and l focus on writing my biography.
Since then, in the past three years, I’ve created over 120 paintings and drawings and over 70 pastel drawings. Since I started exhibiting in 2017 l have won 15 awards. 5 international and 5 national a total of 15 awards.
I work a lot with pastels and the inspiration came from a genius self taught wildlife artist named Richard Macwee. Today we become really close friends. He helped me a lot through a lot of family issues and I’m so grateful to him for all his kindness and support for the past three years.
I’m completely self taught. Art has given me a true purpose in life and I feel I lived to share my story and my art with the world. My faith and belief in God has gotten me through so much. I’ve had so many miracles in my life that I just want to share with the world that anything you are passionate about is possible.
It took me 40 years to discover my passion. Sometimes you have to dig deep until you find it. It shows that it’s never too late to do what you want.
Believing in a higher power is so important especially when you have illnesses that doctors can’t even figure out. I advise others like me not to believe everything you hear. Medical professionals make mistakes all the time. I’ve been misdiagnosed a lot. I was able to find my rare genetic illness through faith.
I also advise people to have an open mind and be open to spiritual healing. It’s made all the difference in my life. I can control my pain now more than l have before by having faith and really believing.
Never be afraid to ask God and the universe what you need, because when you have faith and a positive attitude everything changes. Don’t ever feel ashamed and unworthy. It will always work against you and not allow you to make the changes you need.
My disease is not even progressing like is should be. Doctors are puzzled. I beat depression and anxiety just because I change the way I use to think and by doing my own cognitive therapy. I’m positive about everything in my life now. I listen to a lot of self help books, and when I have negative thoughts, I welcome them but then I turn them into positives.
I’ve also had to let a lot of people go in my life that were not good for me. My pain is not nearly as bad as it was years ago and I can actually function and do the things I’m passionate about most days. I stopped being afraid of everything wrong with me. Fear will paralyze us from reaching our full potential.
I use my gut instinct a lot and I listen to it because it never fails me. When I don’t listen to it it’s when I get in trouble. I’ve been told my life is a curse with the hell I have been through, but for the past seven years I look at life very differently. With everything I went through, I consider myself extremely fortunate. I’ve become more grateful that ever in my life. I appreciate God for every little thing he’s done and every big thing he’s done in my life on a daily basis. Today I’m blessed grateful and happy.
Carina’s story is again another example of never giving up. It was at the lowest point of her life that she made a promise that she would change her life, and no doubt that promise, her faith, and the love of creating art actually helped her overcome her challenges. When you fill your life with something that you love, it not only affects your mood, but your brain and your body, because everything is connected. We hope Carina’s story inspires you to find something you love doing in life so that it will brighten up your existence just as Carina is experiencing now!
Do you have any questions for Carina? Or just want to give her a thumbs up for her inspiring story? Please comment below.