Living with Scoliosis
These pictures were never going to be posted. They were to stay in the infinite abyss of a picture folder on my computer; however, when I watched this video, I changed my mind. Jordan Bone has it a lot harder than me and posted about it, so why couldn't I? Surely it would touch someone.
I don't have an issue of being confident with my body...I mean I wore a shiny gold one piece to party at Mockingbird Station, when I knew there were going to be a lot of photographers, for goodness sake. I don't usually see my back, nor do I photograph it bare, but when I loaded these on my computer, I was instantly reminded of my crooked spine.
The doctors first noticed an issue with my back when I was in the 6th grade. My mom has scoliosis, so she always had the doctor check my spine during my yearly physical. Before I reached the 7th grade, my spine had curved so much, that I needed to seek other help. Luckily, I lived 30 minutes from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, one of the best places for scoliosis treatment! Not only does it have a top notch facility and doctors, but patients, including myself, are able to go without having to pay a dime.
So, for about two years, I went to Scottish Rite and received X-Rays and special care. I was braced in order to help slow the curvature of my spine. (For those who are familiar with braces, I wore a Boston brace). My curve is a backwards S, which is actually the less common of the scoliosis bends.
To say that my journey with my brace was an easy one, would be a stretch. It caused a lot of discomfort, especially when I ate or was in extremely warm circumstances. I had to wear it all day, except for 8 hours, which I chose to spend on my school day. At one point, I got impetigo, because it caused too much chafing on my left side. After this occurred, I had to wear special shirts with silver woven into them to help prevent it. Sleeping in it was pretty much the same story. My first night in it was one for the books...my mom spent the entire time by my side trying to comfort me to sleep. Physical pain was bad, but so was the mental uneasiness. The brace made me extremely self conscious in social settings, plus I was in middle school. Can you get anymore awkward? I had to buy bigger clothes that allowed my brace to fit into them. If it didn't have any stretch, it just didn't work. If I did anything but sit straight, you could tell something was off with my body. If I was standing up and wearing anything remotely tight, you could tell no matter what I did.
Even with all of that, I'm glad I wore a brace. I still have a curved spine, but wearing the brace prevented me from having spine surgery- an extremely painful process, with a long recovery time. My back still gets sore faster than others' do, and if I participate in any floorwork in a workout class, I get bruises where my spine protrudes; however, I'm so grateful for that! It let's me have a story and share what I have learned while wearing the brace, with others.
Experiencing this has made me more sensitive to to others' feelings. I had an orthopedic doctor for my brace, so I was often in that wing of the hospital. There were kids with much worse and actual life threatening issues in comparison to me. Seeing them made me stop feeling sorry for myself and my moment of pain. Yes, it sucked, but I had a light at the end of the tunnel; a lot of those kids didn't. I still carry this around with me- I was attending a college football game a couple of years ago, and there was a girl that had a prosthetic leg, which just happened to be tie dye, making it extremely noticeable. There were grown men talking about her and making fun of her and you better believe that called them out on it. That is absolutely unacceptable and I will always say something to help stop something like this if I can.
Scottish Rite did so much for me and I'm reminded of it all the time. I actually now live about a mile away from it in Dallas! As if that wasn't enough, I am on the Dallas Tri Delta Board. Our collegiate philanthropy is St. Jude, but our local charity we help is Scottish Rite! Every December we have an event called "Cookies and Castles" that we host in the hospital. Patients, as well as families and supporters can build and decorate gingerbread men and/or houses. It is seriously my favorite event of the year.
It's so funny how things come full circle. We go through experiences that are rough, but God has a plan and uses them for the better.
Do you or does anyone you know have scoliosis? ...or anything you don't like to be seen, like my back? Use that for good and touch someone else's life with it!