Even though I am not talking about my surgery in this post, I figured I would let you in a little before you read.
Please Note: I have a hard time writing about the topic because it was such a huge part of my life, who I was, and who I’ve become. I could probably write an entire book about it, but here is the best summary I have for part 1…
I was 9 years old and at the urgent care center with the croup. While getting examined the nurse noticed something. Scoliosis. For those who are not familiar with scoliosis, it is a curvature of the spine. There are “C” curves and “S” curves. I had/have an “S” — top curving one way, bottom curving the other. A normal spine, 0 degrees, at this point, my curves ranged from the teens to the mid 30s. Not good, but not too bad…yet.
In junior high I started seeing both the doctor and a chiropractor. By the end of junior high I was seeing the chiropractor 3 times a week and the doctor once every 3 months. Nothing was able to keep my spine under control, and I was fitted for a back brace. The brace was hard and plastic and went from my bottom (butt) to the top of my back. I looked at the doctor like he was crazy! Was he seriously going to make me wear this turtle shell as I entered high school?! That answer was simple, yes.
High school hits and I was not handling the whole brace thing very well. It’s embarrassing to think about the fits and tantrums I threw trying to get out of wearing it. I was sad and angry at everyone involved. I was 14 years old and a huge back brace wasn’t exactly the accessory I had in mind. I was told that if I was doing physical activity (aka sports) that I was allowed to take off my brace. So I became a 3 sport athlete my freshman year. I was able escape my brace, which seemed like jail to me. Although…there really was no escaping it because as soon as I walked back into that house, that brace was to be put immediately back on. I think my mom stood at the door waiting for me with it in her hand. Weekends = 48hrs of brace time, which also meant I was going to pout all weekend because I wanted to hangout with my friends but I was too embarrassed to. I even kept it a secret from them. (Looking back I laugh about my ridiculous behavior…I also apologized to my parents!)
High school goes on and so do the doctor appointments. Things were getting worse! I was constantly getting fitted for new braces and had to add a night brace into the mix that basically bent me in half. Still, nothing was helping. My top curve suddenly shot up to the 50s! My body was completely twisted, my rib cage was sticking out of my back like the hunchback of Notre Dame, I was having back spasms, and my spine was soon to be causing other potential issues within my body. Shortly after all of that, (beginning of senior year) I was referred to specialist. The doctor examined me, took my x-rays, came in the room and said, “you need surgery.” Tears were flooding out as he talked us through the procedure. The risks and recovery sounded horrendous, but I was also excited to get this taken care of. Can I finally be done with this brace and deformed back!? The risks seemed worth it.
Surgery date is set, October 15, 2003….