We often don't share our personal stories on the blog, but we decided to share our scoliosis journey and get real. We both were diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age and we both wore corrective braces. This journey was very difficult for both of us, both physically and emotionally, but now, looking back at our long journey, we have realized how much we have grown. Therefore, we decided to dedicate a series of blog posts about our experience, so that hopefully we can help any girl who is dealing with scoliosis.
As children, we would routinely visit our orthopedic specialist in Houston, Texas at the Texas Children's Hospital. We were diagnosed with minor curves at young ages that required monitoring not bracing. As we grew older, our curves got progressively worse.
At the end of 6th grade, my doctor prescribed me to wear a corrective hard brace due to the degree of my curve. If I did not get one, I would most likely face spine surgery a few years later. For a sixth grader like me, this was devastating news. It was my first year at my new school, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, and I was surrounded by people I did not know very well. I met with the prosthetist in Houston and I was measured for my hard corrective brace. I cried that night and the whole car ride back to Austin. I loved (and still do!) wearing cute dresses, skirts and tank tops and I was not ready to give up my clothes for a hard brace. Additionally, I was nervous about what people would say if they saw my brace. I was scared people would make fun of me and not want to be my friend. Thus, my parents did some more research on the different kinds of corrective scoliosis braces and found the SpineCor brace. It was a corrective brace that consisted of series of straps that wrapped around my body in a specific way to correct the curve. For me this brace seemed like a better option. We met again with my doctor and he approved this brace. He did warn me that the SpineCor brace's final result was still being studied, meaning that it's effectiveness to correct my curve was still unknown.
When the brace came in, I still cried because it meant I had to wear it. I started to wear the brace to school and I was so careful to not bend over or do any movement that might expose my brace. I did not want to go over to friends’ houses because I was embarrassed about wearing the brace. These negative thoughts I had overpowered everything I did and made me extra cautious. I had to wear clothes that would cover and conceal the brace. This was extremely hard for me because it meant I could not wear the clothes I used to wear. It was difficult for me to find cute, fashionable clothes that covered my brace and looked good on me. There were multiple mornings that I would cry in front of the mirror when figuring out what I could wear. It got even worse when I had to wear the brace in the heat of the Texas summers and during my family’s summer beach vacations in Florida, where I traditionally spent the whole day swimming and biking around. I had to wear my brace at all times except for showering and exercising. It was difficult to sleep with the brace and my sleeping deteriorated.
Even though I already knew their answer, I would complain and protest to my parents about the brace. I was so overpowered by these negative thoughts that I began to take it out on my parents through tantrums. Even though my meltdowns would frustrate my parents, their easy option would have been to tell me that I did not have to wear the back brace. Yet, they peacefully dealt through my meltdowns because they cared about my health and well-being. My doctor was in Houston and I had frequent appointments. My parents took me to every appointment and tried very hard to make these trips fun, so I would not have to think about my brace. In Houston, after the appointments, they would take me to the Galleria Mall to shop for clothes, and fun restaurants for dinner. Still, I felt insecure about myself and my thoughts were overpowered by my negative thoughts and worries.
This is Pt. 1 of my scoliosis story. I will be posting Pt. 2 soon.
We hope to bring awareness to scoliosis and help girls going similar experiences.
Please share this post any friend or family member that may be going through similar experiences.
(If you or a friend is dealing with scoliosis and needs advice or someone to talk to, email us!)