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 Shroth 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.
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.
West Central Florida
Hello! My name is Anika and I live in Tampa, Florida. I was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis at the age of 11. At my middle school, all 6th graders got a checkup for scoliosis at the beginning of the year. After my checkup, the nurses mentioned that they saw an abnormal curve in my spine. At that point, I was very shocked because to find out that I had a curved spine, something I had never heard about. My family was also surprised after I came home that day and told them that I have scoliosis. A few weeks later, we received the X-rays of my spine and learned that I had an S shaped curve. Thus, my orthopedic surgeon recommended that I wear a nighttime brace to prevent any additional abnormal growth. At first it was difficult getting used to sleeping in my brace, but eventually I felt comfortable wearing it.
I haven’t had surgery, but it is something my family is considering. Over the years, I have been researching scoliosis and how the abnormal growth can be prevented. I found out that doing yoga helps the body be flexible and lessens back pain, so I decided to give that a try. That motivated me to complete a one-week Art of Living Yoga course in India and currently take Iyengar Yoga classes with an instructor in Tampa.
I found out about Curvy Girls Scoliosis while researching, and I was quite disappointed that there wasn’t a leader in the Tampa area. Hence, I started the Tampa Curvy Girls support group to inspire others to share their experience having scoliosis, and create a community of families whom we connect with about this curvature.
I strongly regard that with the support of this community, we can all spread the powerful message that scoliosis can’t stop us from achieving our goals. It’s about the lives we can impact together by providing support, encouragement, and hopefulness to all Curvy Girls!
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!
Space Coast Florida
Hello! My name is Kaila and I live in Cocoa, Florida. My story with scoliosis is both a journey of self-love and overcoming negativity. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at a very young age when my mother first had me bend over and noticed a little curve in my upper back, which prompted her to take me into the doctor. Not shortly after, I was put into bracing. I wore the brace all through the night, and I went through about four or five different braces because my curvature kept worsening as my body grew.
Eventually, I was informed I needed surgery. At that time I had a 63 degree curvature in the upper thoracic region of my spine, and not only was it curved— but it was twisted, too. The operation was made more difficult due to my rib cage having been shifted over with my spine, causing a lot of difficulty breathing and doing normal day to day functions of life. When I was told I was going to have the surgery, it was the worst day of my life. At that moment, I didn’t know what all life had in store for me.
I am a young female aviator, I travel to various different airshow both flying and doing media and public relations. I proved that the titanium hardware in my spine could withstand up to 8 G’s (eight times the force of gravity) in aerobatic flight without any issue to structure or body. Not only am I a huge advocate for women in aviation, but a huge supporter for women in general. Which in turn, led me to this amazing foundation for young girls with scoliosis.
I joined as a leader for the newly formed CG Space Coast support group because I wanted to ensure young girls had the encouragement and support from other girls who are experiencing the same exact thing. I saw this opportunity to be there for other girls, as I never had that opportunity when going through my scoliosis journey.
You are not alone, and will always be welcome with open arms to the CG Space Coast chapter. Wear those curves and scars with pride, they mark a journey incomparable to others, and showcase your strength as an individual, and a young woman. For some, we are bent but not broken. For others, we are titanium and will rise. Together, we are strong, and together will we all learn to love ourselves.
Please feel free to reach out and contact me, I am always up to talk about any issues you may be having or any questions about the spinal surgery and my experiences. Not only that, but I will be YOUR biggest supporter, because we girls need to be here for each other! I look forward to meeting you!
My name is Ella and I am a proud scoliosis warrior. I have had two back braces throughout my scoliosis journey. I recently had a spinal fusion surgery to straighten the persisting curve of my spine. I am very proud of my journey, so I proudly show off my scar.
I love acting, singing, shopping, and laughing with my friends. I have two brothers who I love no matter how many times they watch Pacific Rim. I have an adorable playful English Goldendoodle puppy named Tilly, who is my moral support when life gets rough.
My parents have always told me that I have courage and can accomplish anything I put my mind to but I only recently began to believe them. When I was 13, I got the lead role in my school musical Mary Poppins Jr., in which I played Mary Poppins. That was a very big confidence lifter and I began to believe in myself much more since then.
I want to help other girls with scoliosis to find their confidence and show them that even if you have a curved spine, you can do anything you want and more. Every single person goes through rough times, whether it is physical or emotional, and we all need guidance and support during those times.
I discovered I would be needing surgery in September of 2019 and wanted to just get it over with before I started High School, so we scheduled it for November 5 of that year, just five days before my fourteenth birthday. On October 6, 2018, my mom suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in our kitchen. My dad and I were lucky enough to have both been there and quickly jumped into action. For many days following the event, life wasn’t looking good. My mom was given an 8% chance of surviving, and I was so scared that I would have to go through my surgery, my whole life even, without my amazing, supportive mom. But she pulled through, and we are both stronger for it.
Surgery proceeded on schedule. I recovered in three weeks, returned to school, and participated in another school musical. Graduating eighth grade made me realize how much I had gone through in the past few years, including discovering my scoliosis, moving for the fourth time, being Mary Poppins, watching mom die and return, and my surgery. There have been ups and downs, and many days when I wished someone understood how I felt. No girl should feel rejected or alone. I decided to become a Curvy Leader, because I know what it’s like to feel like that, and I also know how to get through it.
I want to help all of the Curvy Girls out there to feel confident, loved, and proud to be a scoliosis warrior! There will be scars left on every person, inside and out. But no matter how big or how many scars you have, you are beautiful. So shine your own unique light into the world and start influencing people for the better.