Hello my name is Veronica. I am 16 years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12 and in the 7th grade. I was going for my physical, and my doctor asked me to touch my toes to check my back. At the time, I wasn’t really familiar with scoliosis. Nobody really mentioned it because it isn't as big of a deal like cancer is. I had my spine checked in the 5th grade by my school nurse. According to her, my spine was perfect. When I was at my physical bending down, I heard a gasp from my doctor who called my mom into the room. At first, I was thinking "oh gosh what is happening?" She showed my back to my mom and all I could hear was "wow".
That day, I went to my neighbors house because both my friend and her mom have severe scoliosis. They had me bend over again and they were both speechless. My dad has back problems as well but that is from breaking his back 20 years ago. My neighbor suggested a back doctor to go to (the one she goes to) in MN, which is three hours away from where we live. She told me to go to the same back doctor and see what he thinks.
A week later we went to our local hospital where my mom works to get x-rays. This was the first of many back x-rays that I have had in my lifetime. I didn’t get to see the x-rays right away, but my parents did. My mom started to cry and I knew that something was really wrong. Once I looked at the x-rays, I was shocked and I started to cry. I have an “S’ curve. Right away we made an appointment with the back doctor. About two weeks later in August, we went. I took more x-rays, and my doctor told me that my back curvature was severe. I don’t know what my degrees were exactly at that time. I needed to get a brace. I made myself emotionally ready to hear those words so it wouldn't be too much of a shock. On September 11th, 2009 I was fitted for my brace. I got a basketball design on the hip of the brace, which made me kind of excited.
I go to a small school and my class has about 21 students. I have known them all since I was five. I knew that no one would make fun of me but it would take a lot of getting used to.
Eventually, I got my brace. I only wore it for about 30 minutes a day. It was very hard to get used to. I had to sleep in it too so my parents got me memory foam which made it a lot easier to sleep in. Finally, my body got used to it and it wasn’t really a big deal. It was hard to bend though and a pain in the butt to put on and get off. My friends and family were super supportive for me. When I went out in public, I got a lot of stares and second glances but that’s probably because for once I was different. I wore my brace pretty much everyday and night for two years. After those two years, I slept in it for another year. I play basketball and volleyball which seemed to help and hurt my back. I went to physical therapy for about five months which helped me a lot. I tried a lot of chiropractors with decompression machines.
Like I said, I’m 16 now and I no longer wear my brace. I'm done growing and I’m 5’9. I don’t do physical therapy anymore or chiropractic's. My degrees never changed from when I was 12. My spine will never be “normal” but I’m okay with that. It hurts from time to time from standing a lot, sitting a lot, running, dancing, basically anything active hurts my back. But us people with scoliosis have to be strong enough to take it. When I used to wear bathing suits I was very self-contious about people looking at my back and thinking ew! But that is something you have to get over, over time. I have pictures of my x-rays on my phone and it's fun to show people and see their reactions. People feel sorry for me and sometimes treat me like I'm fragile but that’s because they don’t fully understand what I’m going through. Having scoliosis isn’t a horrible thing. It changed me and made me realize it’s okay to be different. For those of you who are going through this and are scared, just know that it is what makes you, you. It’s tough living with any kind of physical condition. Take it as a learning experience and grow from this. Scoliosis will be a part of your life even if you get surgery. I don’t need to worry about surgery until I’m in my 50’s but hopefully I’ll be healthy enough to avoid it. Stay strong and keep living your life! <3
Thank you so much Veronica for letting me post your story!