Scoliosis

Since I mentioned that this blog is also about scoliosis I thought I should explain how it is applicable. When I was in 5th grade they began screening for scoliosis in elementary schools. I remember all of us filing into the nurses office by class to be screened. The nurse would ask each of us to bend over at the waist and let our hands hang down with our palms together. The nurse put her hands on each side of our backs to see if there was any curvature of the spine. A common symptom of scoliosis is one side of the back having what I would describe as a hump to it. The nurse would then make some notes and out you would go. The exam took all of a couple of minutes. Nothing was said about the results at the time, they just sent us back to class.

A week or so passed and my grandmothers received a letter in the mail saying that I needed to have a more through exam. Needless to say, my grandmothers freaked out. No one had ever heard of scoliosis at that time and it wasn’t in my grandmothers medical encyclopedia. What was in her encyclopedia was multiple sclerosis and she was absolutely positive that I was going to die. My grandmother called my mom and i’m sure my mom assured her a was not going to die. So began the process of everyone becoming educated on scoliosis. It’s worth mentioning that I was the only one in the entire school that was diagnosed with scoliosis. Lucky me!

My mom took me to a scoliosis doctor at Loma Linda Medical Center. After more x-rays than I could count, it was confirmed that I had scoliosis. The doctor said I had a pretty severe curve and immediately scheduled me to get fitted for a Milwaukee Brace. They made a cast of my torso and used that to make the brace. When I first saw my new brace, I was shocked that I had to wear that thing. It was terribly hot and uncomfortable and I had to wear it 23 hours per day. I could take it off to bath and do the exercises they gave me. The set of exercises were to be done twice per day and was meant to strengthen my back.

I remember when I first started wearing it to school everyone made fun of me. I was called all kinds of names and I just wanted to crawl under a rock. The brace would rub holes in my clothes and nothing that I tried on fit well. My hair in the back would get caught in the brace and it would pull it out. After a few months I was left with a section in the back of my head where there was either no hair or it was all different lengths from being broken off.

I very quickly developed thick skin against the name calling, torment and stares that I received at school and out in public. I don’t remember every crying in front of anyone but I remember fighting the tears back plenty of times. In the end, the brace was ineffective for my type of scoliosis and at the age of 15 I had major back surgery to place Herrington Rods in my back to stop the curve from progressing to the point of shortening my life span.  Scoliosis was just one more thing that I had to learn to handle without letting it break me down.

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~ by Isis on June 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “Scoliosis”

  1. I’m started reading your blog from the first post. I am sorry for these things that happened to you. 😦

    I will keep reading~

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