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Meet Sara & Anna

Sara & Anna

   Southern Maryland Group

My Journey Through Scoliosis

By: Sara Cochran

           It was May 10, 2009. I went to Dr. Spatz to look at something they thought was wrong with my leg. As my mom filled out paper work she wrote on the paper that she wanted x-rays of my spine to check for scoliosis. She and my sister had scoliosis so she just wanted to check things out. I would have never guessed that this day would be the beginning of a long journey and life long memory.

          We found out that nothing was wrong with my leg. Then I went for the x-rays. Dr. Spats came back in and surprised us with some unexpected news. I had scoliosis. My scoliosis curves measured 21 and 35 degrees. I needed a brace. I was shocked. We decided to go to an orthopedic surgeon that my sister went to for yearly check ups on her scoliosis for a second opinion. He told us that I would need a brace that was worn 23 hours a day. I did not really like this idea but thought “If my mom could do it so can I.”  

         

On July 10th 2009 I got my brace. I wore it to school and was so nervous that everyone could tell. My friend Shelby reassured me that no one could see it. Then later in the year when I told the rest of my friends about it they said “Wow! I couldn’t even tell!” I was relieved. I informed them about my different curves and told them what scoliosis was. As seventh grade moved on and the end of the year was getting near, my back pain increased more and more.

          I wore my brace as much as I was supposed to but when I went back to the orthopedic surgeon in March of 2010, I was told my curve had gotten much worse. 38 and 42 degrees. He said I should continue wearing the brace 23 hours a day. My back pain now being almost everyday all day I started to get worried. When I felt my back or rubbed it to relieve the pain or just putting my hands around my waist, I could feel my spine. Some part of me just knew I was going to need surgery. On July 9th 2010, it was official. I was told the brace was not stopping the curve and I was going to need surgery. Even thought I was expecting it, a lump built in my throat. The realization that I was actually going to need surgery kicked in.

          When we got home from the appointment questions darted through my mind. What do I bring? How long will I be in the hospital? What information do I need to know before surgery? Will my back pain go away after surgery? Will I be limited as to what I can do? I had discovered a website for kids with scoliosis called “SpineKids”, through SpineKids I learned about different types of surgery. The surgery I was going to have was called a Posterior Spinal Fusion. I decided to vent what happened that day to my friends in real life and on Spinekids. On Spinekids I found answers to my questions and I also found a post about a girl who won the Teen Nick Halo Awards for starting a scoliosis support group. I emailed her and asked about the support group. Then an idea came to me, since there are no support groups in southern Maryland I could start my own. Maybe there are other teens in southern Maryland who have scoliosis and want to talk about it. I made a flyer and a Gmail for people who are interested and want to contact me. I will hand out flyers to different doctor’s offices and schools nearby.

          I had surgery November 10th 2010.  The surgery lasted 5 and a half hours. I was fused from T4 to L4, and I have an incision along my back that runs from the bottom of my neck to the bottom of my back. When surgery ends the process does not end too. The healing really takes a toll on you and your family; it is very painful at times. You go through a lot of sensations that you never have experienced before because your body is trying to adjust to its new reality and understand what just happened to it.

 I gained a straight back and an open mind. It is very hard at times, but I think I am much stronger mentally now. I feel like this is just a really big mountain in my life that I need to climb. It takes a lot of strength and sometimes I need others to lean on but it will be worth it.

I used this not-so-great experience to help other people. Having scoliosis and going through this journey has made me realize that sometimes, even if you plan ahead, things just don’t work out the way you want them to. You just have to make the most of it and move on.


Hello my name is Anna and I am so thrilled to join Sara as the Southern Maryland co-leader;)

I have been an active Curvy Girl member since Maryland’s first group in 2010. You can read more about me as CG of the month for April 2011. I was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2010 and have been wearing a Providence Night Brace since.

 

I love playing the clarinet, bass clarinet and the tenor saxophone. I have participated in running races and triathlons. My favorite thing to do is biking.  I have a cat and a guinea pig.

I want to help other Curvy Girls overcome obstacles and give guidance through our scoliosis. See you on the Forum where I go by “Lucky 16.”

 Some words of advice:

 A few tips
1) Always wear your brace; if you don't the consequences could be worse.
2) Name your brace! Try not to keep it a secret
3) If anyone bullies you about it, ignore them and walk away.

Before & After - Sara

Our Group            Sara Before    Sara AfterMD Group
 

 

Maryland Teens Has your Back! New Article October 2011- See Page 22