June is Scoliosis Awareness Month


  I was diagnosed with scoliosis in middles school. It was an ordinary day in Physical Education when they did the test. They made you bend down and traced your spine to see if there was an abnormal curvature. When they flagged my test, I honestly didn’t pay it any attention. It was when I went to see a chiropractor that it seemed pretty serious. My curve quickly escalated and he explained that surgery would be needed. Scoliosis can have an impact on some of your organs; specifically, your lungs.  The surgery consisted of placing titanium rods around the upper component of my spine to try to straighten out the curve. After my surgery, they gave me a long list of things I couldn’t do. It felt very pessimistic to be honest. Here I was, in a hospital bed recovering from a condition I had never heard about and they wanted to lecture me on what I couldn’t do for the rest of my life….needless to say I felt confused and sad at the time. 

  It’s been about twelve years since my surgery. Do I still have pain? Absolutely. Are there times I want to explain my pain to people but won’t because I know they won’t understand? Yes! So I decided to write a list of things you should feel free to do if you have scoliosis. Guilt free. Here it is: 

1. Being that I was in high school when I had my surgery, there was no way I could carry all of my books. I remember my mom calling the administrative team and telling them I needed to have a set of books on campus in each of my classes and a set at home. That way I wouldn’t have to carry books around and deal with the pain. Feel free to let people know what you  do. There’s a good chance they won’t get it. They may think you’re faking it but it worth it to not feel the pain at the end of the day while they are sleeping peacefully. 

2. I used to be athletic. I loved playing sports and used to dance as well. Scoliosis changed that for me. I still like to be active but I had to get creative. So feel free to think outside of the box to get exercise. Yoga has definitely helped me. I even run now (at my own pace).  Some people will try to force you to work out beyond your limits but you know what’s best. Trust what your body is telling you. 

3. I loved wearing heels but the truth is, the higher the heel, the more pain I have. I’m 5’8″.  There were times I felt like I was too tall. I knew I was always going to stand on the back row on picture day. I was tall and lanky. I finally accepted that in high school and then scoliosis happened. I wanted to wear heels and be tall and proud but the pain from heels made that pretty hard. So I had to wear flats, supportive sneakers or kitten heels. The truth is, you should feel free to know what’s best for you. I wear heels now(nothing higher than four inches) but I know that stilettos are out of the question for me. Trust what your body is telling you. 

4. There are times when people expect me to carry heavy items. I’ve always been independent so admitting that I can’t carry something is hard for me but I’ve learned you should know there is strength in asking for help. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone to help you. 

5. You should LOVE your scar. It took me a while. I didn’t want to wear tank tops or bathing suits because I knew someone would see my ugly scar. The truth is, scars are beautiful. They show what you’re made of so don’t be ashamed of yours. Wear it proudly. 

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