Meet Charlotte & Summer
My name is Charlotte and this is my story about how I learned to embrace myself one step at a time:
I was first diagnosed with scoliosis in fifth grade. I clearly remember the day at my normal birthday checkup when I bent down and my doctor told me that I needed to see an orthopedic doctor. I was not worried at the time because I did not grasp the difficulty of what was about to be my greatest challenge. After my first appointment with the orthopedic doctor, I was told I was going to have to be braced or get surgery if I wanted to prevent major problems in the future. Immediately when I heard the word “brace”, tears came streaming out of my eyes. It just hit me that I was going to be trapped inside a plastic mold for the adolescent years following, 22-23 hours a day. As I returned to my fifth grade class later that day, I could not bear to tell even my best friends about my diagnosis because I was so embarrassed.
I was devastated for many weeks following this appointment and so my mom started to connect to other moms with daughters who had scoliosis. Eventually, when she found Curvy Girls, she had to force me into attending a meeting; now, I can proudly say that I did not regret it. Surrounded by dozens of girls all affected by the same problems, Curvy Girls helped me to accept my defeat and embrace my “s” shaped spine. Gaining confidence from these girls’ support, the following week I told my friends about my diagnosis. Of course, they did what any fifth grader girl would say: “what is scoliosis?”. When I told them that my spine was shaped like an “s” and that I would have to be braced, they responded with “how cool!”. I was disappointed because they obviously did not sympathize with my feeling of confinement. After realizing that I could not rely on my friends for genuine support, I accepted defeat and allowed my mom to drag me to Curvy Girls. Little did I know that this would be the support and influence that I needed to stay strong.
While the initial process of bracing was very difficult and self-deprecating, leaning on the shoulders of other girls like me gave me the necessary support for building my self-esteem. I began my process with trying extremely hard to hide my imperfection, buying huge sweaters that would conceal my brace. Now, after three braces and five and a half years of bracing, I can say that without a doubt, scoliosis has defined me as a person and has only made me stronger. Without my strenuous years of bracing and intense Schroth therapy, I would genuinely not be the same confident individual I stand to be today. I did not let my imperfection prevent me from continuing to do what I enjoy most; no one else should have to!
Currently, I am a junior in high school and very involved in community service outside of school as well as sports. I decided that I really wanted to create my own Curvy Girls chapter because I realized how important it was in my stressful process and I want to be able to provide the support that every scoliosis girl needs to get through her most difficult times. By leading this support group, I am confident that each and every member will learn to love their imperfections and embrace their unique curves.
Hi! My name is Summer! I had an “S” curve, 44 degrees on the top and 51 degrees on the bottom. In 6th grade during a school scoliosis screening the nurses found a curve in my back. A few months later, I was officially diagnosed with scoliosis. Soon I was fitted for a brace that I was to wear 16-18 hours a day, but I wore mine for about 24 as a precaution for 3 years. On one of my 3-month visits to my scoliosis specialist he said that we should start to discuss surgery, this was a huge surprise for me because I thought that he would’ve talked to me about getting my brace off. I was so scared and anxious for the next few months until my surgery on December 5, 2019. I had never had surgery before and was so nervous. Eventually the date came, and I was surprised by how I felt when I woke up. I was so relieved to be done with surgery! Today I am feeling AMAZING, I love to cheer, travel, and share my story with others!
I love to share my story with others and help others through their scoliosis journeys! To me being a group leader means being there for other girls who are/were in my situation and I’m excited to get to know everyone!
Tampa Leader Anika
North Central Florida
Hi everyone! My name is Mimi. I'm 11 years old and live in North Central Florida. I was first diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 6 years old at my yearly checkup. At the time there was no doctor that could help me in my area. I had to drive an hour and a half to Jacksonville to be treated. We tried bracing but it didn't help my curve get any better. So my doctor ended up casting me two times. I wore the cast for 6 weeks straight and then had one day off and had the next one put on. Being casted meant I could not be in water, no bathing or swimming. My curve did not get any worse but it wasn't getting any better. My doctor wanted me to have grow rods put in. Unfortunately, that meant I would have to go through surgery every six months to get them adjusted.
We decided to try a new doctor in Miami that specialized in only scoliosis. He told us about a new surgery that would hopefully be available in the next year or so. They would be magic rods and would be adjusted every 2 months by a magnet held to the outside of my back. We decided to keep casting until this became approved. While we were waiting to be given the next cast schedule the doctor in Miami called and said it was approved. It had only been 2 weeks! So on May 6, 2014, I had surgery to put these new rods in. For the next year I traveled 4 hours to get adjusted every other month.
After the first year a new doctor came to our area. I am able to get adjusted 20 minutes away now. Two years after I had my rods put in I had to have them replaced due to a loose screw. But I recovered really quick.
In my free time I act in plays, read, am a Girl Scout and love to play outside with my friends.
I LOVE to help people and Curvy Girls is the perfect organization for me to help girls and for them to help me know we are not alone. Please feel free to email me.
Hi! I’m Emma and I am 13 years old. I love to play golf and soccer. I also love spending time with friends and family. My favorite thing to do with my family is go to Universal; it’s a lot of fun there.
I have an S-curve. When I was first diagnosed with scoliosis, I was in 6th grade. It was only a small curve at first, but when I went back to the doctor in November of 2019 it was a 29-degree curve. They decided to put me in a brace that I would have to wear at least 23 hours a day. I got the brace in December of 2019 and have to wear it for at least 2 years. Since then I’ve tried to keep a positive attitude about it and just roll with the flow. I am hoping when I go back that my curve will be better or have stayed the same.
I also do this physical therapy called the Schroth Method which seems to be helping a lot. It mainly focuses on your breathing and I like it a lot. It’s very relaxing and you can see the difference at the end of a session.
I would love to help and support you through your journey with scoliosis so please, feel free to email me.
Hi my name is Hannah! I am seventeen years old with two titanium rods and 25 screws on my spine, which makes me proud and Titanium strong! I enjoy drawing, fashion, and music during my free time. I was in the seventh grade when my pediatrician noticed my spinal curve. I was sent to an orthopedist and braced for three years but my curve kept on getting progressively worse. When I was in my summer of incoming freshman year of high school, I was told that it was time for surgery. I got multiple opinions from different surgeons and when I was sent for an MRI found a brain malformation called Chiari Malformation. This was actually found because the MRI went further up then usual so I was fortunate for that! At that time my orthopedic surgeon recommended my family and I go to a neurosurgeon in St.Petersburg, Florida. I had brain surgery to fix the Chiari which was the cause of my Scoliosis, Syringomyelia, and Apraxia of Speech. I then had my Scoliosis surgery on March 15th, 2017 in St.Petersburg.
My scoliosis journey raised me into the person I am today. I believe that sometimes the strongest people can be given great difficulties to deal with. I wish I knew about Curvy Girls during my scoliosis journey but I am excited to be part of Curvy Girls now to help others on their journey. Scoliosis should never and will never hold you back from your potential; it is what makes you unique!