Yes. You heard it from me. I have scoliosis, and I live just like anyone else.
I remember that summer day in 2012 quite clearly - it was time for my annual check-up with my pediatrician. I was 10 years old.
It was a normal day for me. At one point during the appointment, my doctor asked me to bend over and touch my toes so she could look at my back. This, too, was normal - I had done this since I was six years old.
Poor, little, naïve me. I never imagined that this time would be different. Or that the difference this time was going to ruin my life.
Still not realizing it would be different, I bent over so the pediatrician could look at my back. When she lifted up my shirt, she gasped. Telling me to hold my position, the doctor told my mother to look.
She, too, gasped.
EmBracing My Scoliosis
Soon after this, I was sent to a kind of doctor called an orthotist. They gave me special x-rays and confirmed I had a scoliotic curve that was 17 degrees on the top and 22 on the bottom. I just barely fit into the group of children needing a scoliosis brace.
The orthotist took my measurements and made me a special type of TLSO brace called a Boston Brace. I was thrown into it on October 13, 2012, and made to wear it 22 hours a day.
During this time, I was going through a lot of personal hell. Most of my friends had abandoned me and I felt very alone.
One of the most traumatic experiences during my bracing time was a trip to the emergency room. I was hospitalized for an inflamed appendix on November 28th, 2013, after wearing my brace consistently for a year. Nobody seemed to be able to figure out what caused the issue.
A lightbulb went on for a particular doctor when he found out I had a scoliosis brace. He asked me to show me how I wore it.
I was confused, but I put it on. As sharp, shooting pains shot through my abdomen, the doctor concluded that my brace was bruising my appendix.
I went insane. I had no idea anything like this could happen.
It was time to find a new orthotist.
Coming Full Circle
I am now 16 years old. My curve has progressed extremely.
I remember the day I was told I needed spinal fusion surgery. It was September 11, 2018, the day before my 16th birthday. I cried harder than I ever had in my life.
I remember one day when I was in the shower, when suddenly I broke into tears. It was then that I saw my waist. It was asymmetrical. Sobbing again, I remember saying, "I wore my brace for nothing!".
I was so scared.
My surgery date is December 17, 2018, a week before Christmas. I am scared, nervous, and at the same time ecstatic. But I am ready.
Scared as hell, but ready.