June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 14 years old. I’ll never forget that day. I was in gym class and they had specialists test everyone in my class ( back then they made you bend down to touch your toes while they traced your spine with their finger to see if it was a straight line). While they were tracing my spine, they knew something was wrong and referred me to a specialist. After getting the X-Rays back, I remember being speechless from the results. Not only was my spine crooked but the curve was progressing. Being that I was still growing, surgery was something that was probably going to happen. A surgery that consisted infusing rods around my spine.
They kept their eyes on my curve over the next year and noticed that it was at an angle that could start to effect my heart and lungs and scheduled the surgery. I remember being so anxious while my mom was brave and really helped to comfort me. My surgery prep included donating blood to myself in case it was too much blood loss during my surgery. After the eight hour surgery, I was put in ICU. I couldn’t walked and was in so much pain. The next couple of months were filled with pain, changing my dressing on my scar and trying to get the strength to walk again.
Once school started the next year, I had to have a separate set of books that I kept at home and in my teacher’s classrooms, I couldn’t wear heels or carry a purse. I got out of class earlier than other students because I took a long time to walk around campus and don’t even get me started on walking up the steps!
I still have a scar on my back and I wear it proudly. I do have back pain. There are days I’m in so much pain that I’m in tears but yoga really helps with that. I have to be careful of the shoes I wear and the physical activity. There’s a long list of things I can’t do (including bowling). I’m telling you my in hopes of raising awareness about scoliosis. Early detection is key! There are people who can’t pay for surgery or a back brace and need resources to do so. If you want to donate or learn more about scoliosis, I encourage you to visit: http://www.scoliosis.org