I'm at Unicorn Bell with Dear Beta Readers and Critique Partners.
Scoliosis Awareness is not something people tend to think or talk about, but it is a condition that everyone should be aware of, especially if you have children. Teenagers (mostly girls) are susceptible to scoliosis (when the spine becomes shaped like an S) during their peak growing years. Every 6 months, parents should check their children’s backs. An easy way to view the spine is by having them bend at the waist. If you notice a curve, take them to see a doctor. Catching it early will allow you and the doctors to monitor it and treat it with simple, less evasive techniques.
Below is my experience with scoliosis. I’m sharing these details to shine light on this medical condition and what scoliosis survivors go through.
Before and after I was diagnosed with scoliosis I was riddled with pain day and night. I had to take over-the-counter pain reliever a lot, and my mom would massage my back so I could go to sleep. The pain is what led to the discovery that I had scoliosis. After I complained about it enough, my mom took a look and could clearly see the curve of my spine.
I don’t know exactly when my spine started to get out-of-whack, how long it took to get to the point where I was in pain all the time, or when the sudden growth spurt happened that triggered it, but my entire body changed because of it. I never realized it, and no one close to me said anything, but the curve pushed my right hip out and lifted my left shoulder so I looked crooked.
After countless x-rays and an MRI, the results came in that the lowest curve for my spine was at a 48-degree angle and was twisted around. (The higher curve between my shoulder blades wasn't as serious.) To relieve the pain and to stop my spine from twisting further, surgery was scheduled. Another treatment for less severe cases are back braces.
Spine surgery –
My doctors manipulated my spine back into place and set it with fusion and a titanium rod. During the surgery, my right lung collapsed. I needed a tube, placed through my side, to drain the fluid so I could breathe. I woke with an oxygen mask on, unaware that the surgery had actually taken place. I spent five days in the hospital in the worst pain I had ever experienced.
*To read a more in-depth, personal account of this check out my easy Woman of Steel.
I was confined to a hospital bed in my living room for a month until I had the strength to sit up past ten minutes. I had to practice walking further distances each day. For my showers, I had to sit on a stool and use a hand-held shower head. It took many months for me to get used to having limited movement in my back. For a year, I needed a pillow behind my back wherever I sat to cushion a part of my spine that sticks out and is sensitive to hard surfaces.
The Scar –
I have a foot-long scar that starts at my right hip and curves around my side to the middle of my back. It took me years to feel comfortable wearing a two-piece at the beach. Now I don’t care who sees it. It’s my battle scar. I’m a warrior!
Many people (not all) who have this surgery end up suffering from pain as well as muscle spasms. Then there’s the limitations. Many people also can’t sit in one place or stand very long without experiencing pain. This makes working next to impossible, but trying to get disability is also a battle for scoliosis survivors.
Living with a Titanium Rod –
I can’t do a lot of things because of my rod, and if I try to do something fun, I suffer for days later. Even my body isn’t what it had been before my diagnosis. Although my shoulders and hips adjusted, my right hip is still shaped a bit odd and the top of my back has a slight curve to it. I’m also naturally thin and tall, so these things stand out more on my frame. And, yes, they make me insecure.
If you were to ask me today, knowing what I know now, if I would have the corrective surgery again, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. There are many pros and cons to it, at least for me, and it was the hardest thing I ever had to go through. But I suppose I would’ve done it anyway to save my spine and my body.
Although scoliosis isn’t life-threatening (usually), those of us who had it are definitely survivors.
QUESTIONS: Do you know someone with scoliosis? Do you have a medical condition? Have you ever had surgery? Tell me about it.
QUESTION: Of all the places in the world that you haven’t yet been to, where would you like to go next?
My Answer: There are so many places I haven’t been to. Let me begin by telling you where I have been: a few places in Florida (St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Daytona, Kissimmee, and Orlando), and Michigan for a visit to unexciting places. There. Now you’re all caught up to speed.
I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip across the United States, but number one on my list is Ireland. Always Ireland. It is my dream. I’m saving up for it…slowly.