When I first found out that I had scoliosis, I was mad. I was so mad.
Why? Who knows, I was a ridiculously self-conscious 15 year old girl that had this idea in her head that she needed to be perfect and this meant that she was going to be crooked for the rest of her life.
I still remember walking out of the chiropractor’s office holding back tears while my mom and my boyfriend (now husband) were trying to tell me it would be fine. I knew it wouldn’t be fine.
I went to 3 doctors after that to see what I could do. I was done growing at this point so a brace wasn’t an option for me (of course. My luck, right?).
Surgery was really the only thing I could do to stop the progression of it.
Keep in mind that I had never been in the hospital, never even sprained let alone broken a bone.
I know it probably sounds like I’m over exaggerating, but I swear I’m not.
I’ve had people tell me that I just need to sit up straight, exercise, stop slouching, and even that I wouldn’t be crooked if I had better posture. Believe me, I’ve heard it all.
“People live with it, it’s no big deal”, “Oh I totally get what you mean, my back hurts sometimes too!”, “It would go away if you were more active”, “It’s only a slight curve”, “It can’t hurt THAT bad”, etc.
Yeah, a lot of people do live with scoliosis perfectly fine, and a lot of people do have it but mine wasn’t just a slight curve; mine was bad and only got worse with time.
That ^ was summer of 2010. I waited until October of 2014 to get my surgery. On Halloween.
I woke up at 5 am, took a cold shower, scrubbed my entire body with yellow soap, put on my favorite sweats and walked across the street into the hospital (we stayed overnight in a hotel).
They hooked me up to an IV, and made me put on a hideous shower cap and gown.
Of course, they always tell you they’ll put you under before they take you away from your family but they never do, because I was in tears the second the nurse came over to me and said it was time. She rolled me into a shiny room and that’s all I remember until I woke up. (& Yes, it was as shiny as they make it in movies)
So here I am, hour’s post-surgery, with no pain medicine (it made me sick). Can you imagine throwing up hours after getting your whole spine fused??? I don’t know what I would have done if my husband wasn’t there to help me up roll over every time I was uncomfortable (which was probably every 2 minutes if you ask him! Lol). He stayed with me the entire time in the hospital, never left my side and woke up with me every single time that I had too. I had to get two blood transfusions because my blood count wasn’t progressing and that meant I had some newbie kid coming to draw my blood every 3-4 hours, around the clock. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep much the whole week I was in the hospital.
If anyone reading this doesn’t know what they do during spinal fusions ; They use screws and titanium rods, with graft over top. After awhile your bones slowly start to fuse around the metal, straightening it out. Since my scoliosis was pretty bad I had T3-L4 fused, 14 vertebrae, (practically my whole spine) with 21 screws, and 2 rods.
I couldn’t do anything by myself. I couldn’t roll over, get out of bed, couldn’t pee by myself, shower, nothing. I couldn’t even put on my underwear by myself (thank God for my husband). I had no privacy for almost 2 months. My family wouldn’t even let me stay home alone and the one time they did, I got stuck on the floor because my dog was throwing up and me being the crazy person that I am, I tried to clean it up. It was terrible.
I thank God I had an amazing support system to help me because I would never have been able to get through any of it by myself. It’s been a little over a year and they still help me. Avory still helps me with my shoes when I need it and carries the laundry basket up the stairs when it’s too heavy for me. Not only do I have better posture than 99% of the people I know, but it’s also not getting worse anymore. Yeah, my back still hurts sometimes and I have 15 inch long scar down my back (above^), but that’s okay because I’m getting better! It did completely change my life, there’s a lot of things I can’t do anymore which makes everything really difficult and inconvenient (like make me gain weight (that I’m still trying to lose)), but I would be much much worse if I hadn’t gotten it. I’m still very self conscious about my body but all I can do is be thankful for everything that has happened. My scars don’t define me, and neither does my scoliosis, it makes me stronger.