Archive for scoliosis

Scoliosis

Before any of this happened with fibromylgia, I had scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. It is quite common.I am sure that many of you have had scoliosis checks at your school.

When I was 10 years old, my mom (who is a nurse) was helping me look at my bathing suits. She looked at me intently for a second, and turned me around. She touched my back a few times and said, “Hmmm..” Then, she told me to put my arms together and lean forward. I did it and felt her touching my back on the side. I had a rib hump. I asked what she was doing and she told me that I needed to see a doctor because I might have a condition called scoliosis. She explained to me what it was and told met hat it ran on my father’s side of the family.

Believe it or not, this is going to be the short version of my experience with scoliosis…

Luckily, my mom was the department head for the orthopedic and general surgery section of the hospital so it did not take long to get an appointment. I went to see a doctor that I had met several times previously. They took an x-ray of my spine. When I saw the x-ray I laughed, it looked like I was doing some sort of dance. I quickly realized that it wasn’t funny and when the x-ray was taken I was not dancing so something must be wrong. I had curves a lower curve and an upper curve. They were not too severe and the doctor said she wanted to see me in 6 months.

When I returned, they took another x-ray and realized that my curves had doubled. She measured the curves and they were at the point of requiring treatment. At the time, we were getting ready to move in a month so we planned ahead to get treatment when I moved. I was only in 5th grade, but we still had cliques and popular kids. As much as I hate to admit it now, I was one of them…and I knew that “back brace” was not, by any means, synonymous with “cool” or “popular.”

At the first appointment, I was measured for a back brace. Since I had two curves, my back brace went from my hips to under my arms and all the way around with three straps on the back. It was February 6, 2001 when I first got my brace. It was quite uncomfortable, but eventually I got used to it.

There was a point when I was not wearing my brace correctly. I would take it off or loosen it when I wasn’t supposed. I did this for 2 reasons: 1) A boy I had a crush in made fun of me and said mean things to other kids about me for wearing it. (Stupid. I know.) 2) I just simply did not want to wear it anymore. The result of this rebellious action, led to the doctor increasing the hours I needed to spend in my brace (up to 23 hours) and classifying me as “borderline surgery.” My top curve just so happened to curve toward my heart. The doctor was worried about it curving too much and crushing my heart especially at the speed it was curving. The doctor explained that if I did need this surgery, it would take almost a year to recover. I started wearing it diligently. I did everything to the best of my ability.

I did not need surgery.

In the end, the brace worked so well for me that my x-rays were actually used in presentations and other medical research venues. Apparently, there is a very small percent of people that use the brace correctly and their back never goes back as bad as it was in the beginning. I fall into that percent. Thank goodness!

I am truly, truly blessed.

Although it was not fun to have scoliosis and wear a back brace for years, I am thankful for it. Here is why:

1) It made me stronger. Kids are not nice at that age. Although I was not bullied, it was not easy.
2) I do not think I would have liked myself if I had stayed that “popular” girl.
3) Every experience is a chance to become a better and stronger person, and I took advantage of that opportunity.

I wonder how many other people with fibro had scoliosis first. I doubt there is any correlation, but there are a lot of people out there with scoliosis, too.