Diagnosed with Scoliosis at age twenty three, there was little doctors could do to help her. She was faced with daily discomfort or pain, fear, and not knowing what future complications the medical condition would bring. The author illustrates to the reader what the last twelve years have brought her in dealing with her deformity. Against the perceived odds; she started a career, birthed two children, went through several specialists, clinics and therapists, wrote two books and fought for disability. This book was written for anyone who is challenged with daily pain, and would like some help emotionally with how to make the best out of life despite it.
I remember in elementary school; when all the children sat in a circle on the library floor while the teacher read a story, I was the only kid who couldn’t sit up straight. All the other kids had their legs crossed over Indian style, and they were sitting right up like a bunch of little soldiers. As much as I tried, I could never do it. I was always slumped over, or I had to lean on one arm for support.
Throughout my teenage years, I always felt there was something a little off about my body. I noticed I would always have pain in my left shoulder blade. My Mom always thought it was premenstrual. I also noticed in all pictures taken of me during my teens, my right shoulder was always higher than my left. Shirts never seemed to fit correctly; they would always fall to one side. Necklaces would always sit unevenly on my chest, and the clasp would always fall down until the pendant caught it. Bra straps always fell down on one side, purses never stayed on my shoulder. I always wore my purse like a messenger bag to compensate. My ponytails, if worn at the base of my neck, would always inch to the left.
Even during high school and college I noticed my backpack was always drooping to one side. Of course, any back problems would have been exacerbated by the amount of textbooks I always had to carry around throughout high school and college. The worst was across college campus, I had a fifteen minute walk to class from my car on any given day. I estimate that my accounting book alone had to weigh at least ten pounds.
I had a little pot belly that I could never lose, no matter how many sit ups I did. When I was researching pregnancy once my husband and I started to try for a baby, I read somewhere that if the paternal genes are in any way altered, the fetus can be deformed. For example, if the father consumes drugs or alcohol while sperm is being manufactured, the genetic information can be damaged, thus causing birth defects or disfigurement. I don’t have any proof of this. However, my father was an alcoholic long before I was born. There is only one family member who has Scoliosis, one of my aunts on my mother’s side. Although hers is very mild and she only has one curve.
It’s difficult to say whether I have more of my mom or dad’s physical features. I have always had large feet (size ten-actually they have shrunk for some reason in the last few years to a nine). Although I am only five feet three inches tall. My mom’s stature is much like my own, short and average build. My dad was tall at six feet even, and very slender. My sister is tall and, up until having my niece, was also slender. My dad always told me my big feet would pay off because I would be tall. I stopped growing basically around the time of his death when I was sixteen. Although, if you consider how much length I probably have lost in my spinal curves, that could probably account for some lost height.
I remember when I was about twenty three; I was sitting on the floor in the recreation room we had in the apartment where I lived with my mom and step dad. My mom came in for a minute to watch some television with me; I got up on my knees to switch the channel, and my Mom noticed for the first time that I had a hump on my back. Neither of us thought anything of it at that time. She just thought it was the way I was reaching over to change the channel.
It wasn’t until I experienced my first car accident about a year later that Scoliosis was discovered. I originally went to physiotherapy to be treated for whiplash after the accident, but upon my assessment, the therapist took one look at my back and told me I had Scoliosis. I had no idea what that meant, and I just said sarcastically “well, that’s just great”. She ran her finger down my spine to illustrate the curves, but it still never occurred to me just how bad this was, or how much this would affect my life.
After treating me for the whiplash and some soft tissue injuries, they began casually treating me for the Scoliosis. They began with some light exercises and stretching to add to my own personal workout that I had been doing at home. About nine months after that accident, I unfortunately was involved in another car accident (please note that both these accidents were investigated by police and were not my fault). Fortunately, this accident wasn’t nearly as bad (my car was written off in the previous one), but was way more terrifying (I was sandwiched between two transport trucks on a busy highway-neither of them saw me). So, I was once again placed in physiotherapy for whiplash.
At this time, my boyfriend and I moved into a rental apartment together about a half hour away from where I was currently living. Thus, I had to stop attending that physiotherapy clinic. I thought I would be alright without it for a while, so I didn’t seek out a new clinic. This was fine for a couple of months; until I suddenly started to experience constant nauseating headaches. This prompted a doctor’s visit; and he gave me a requisition for physiotherapy. The new clinic initially treated me again for my neck injuries directly related to the headaches. But once that was over, they started to treat the Scoliosis with essentially the same plan as the previous clinic.