There are many words that come to mind when I think of
scoliosis; pain, brace, curve, rotation, physiotherapy,
doctors, x-rays, etc. But perhaps the word which evokes the
strongest connection is simply: me.
Scoliosis has been a part of my life since I was eight years old. It was my dance teacher who first noticed the imbalance of my hips and shoulders. Upon further examination at CHEO, the local children’s hospital, it was discovered that I had (approx.) a 10° curve in my spine, indicating idiopathic scoliosis. For the following five years, I would go to the hospital every six months for an x-ray. During that time, my curve fluctuated between 8° and 15°. Also, I started to get lower back pain at night. The doctors opted for a “wait and see” technique, and presented us solely with information about the Boston brace and surgery.
Seeking more options to treat my scoliosis, my mother did some research on the internet and found the flexible SpineCor brace. It appealed to me as the brace’s home page portrayed a ballerina wearing the SpineCor (ballet being one of my interests). I was fitted in Montreal with the brace in 2008, a few days after my 13th birthday.
During my first year in the SpineCor brace, we were satisfied, as far as how the results turned out. The brace had managed to maintain my right thoracic-lumbar curve at 22°.
The SpineCor stopped working for me the following year when my curve increased significantly to 42° in April 2010. We took immediate action and booked a flight to Barcelona in May 2010, where I was fitted with a rigid Rigo-Cheneau brace. Although the difference between a flexible and a rigid brace is immense, I’m proud to say that I wore my Rigo-Cheneau brace the entire first night as well as the whole next morning until my appointment! No “getting used to” the pain - just confronting it head-on!
So here I am now, at sixteen years old, and I have been wearing my brace 23/7 for over a year. I still continue to do my Schroth exercises on a weekly basis, and hope to be able to switch to a nighttime brace this winter. Sure, scoliosis can be painful and frustrating, but it’s a part of me and will forever be and so I have accepted it. I strongly believe that optimism, determination and hard-work are the key factors which can ultimately lead anyone to achieve their goals. I love to perform on stage (singing, dancing and piano) and have recently participated in my high school’s musical theatre production. Sports, like soccer, are so much fun, and reading and writing are my hobbies. I am so pleased to be starting the first Canadian Curvy Girls support group here in Ottawa with Juliana! Scoliosis is a disease that affects many different people from all over the world. I believe that creating this group will help girls with scoliosis here in Ottawa confront the difficulties of this disease knowing that they’re not alone, and knowing that they will always have a friend with whom to talk and to ask questions… but more importantly, a friend who truly understands.
If you are interested in donating to our group, please Click Here