California

Bay Area

Melina

Hi! My name is Melina and I am currently a junior in high school. One of my biggest passions is dancing; I’ve been dancing ballet and contemporary for over 13 years. I also enjoy going to the beach with friends and family, listening to music (I love Taylor Swift!), reading, hiking, and baking. I am an avid watcher of Gilmore Girls and Harry Potter, and my favorite animal is an otter. I love meeting new people and working in groups and I am so excited to give back to the scoliosis community. 


My scoliosis journey began in 2016 when I visited my local pediatrician every 6 months to get my back examined through the bend-over-test. Luckily, there was mild curvature and my doctor didn’t expect much of it. However, in the later months of 2018, I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for my first x-ray of my spine to determine my status of treatment. I was formally diagnosed that year with a mild thoracic curve of 24 degrees and a lumbar curve of 19. I visited countless doctors over the span of a month where my family and I received different medical opinions to later decide the best option. At the time I had much growth left and decided to move along with wearing a brace 18-22 hours of the day. The brace I began with was the UNYQ brace which at first seemed like a challenge to wear and extremely uncomfortable, however, after a week I quickly became adjusted to sleeping, going to school, and living life in my brace. At first, it was difficult to go to school and hide my brace underneath my clothes, however, I learned to accept my diagnosis and grow from my insecurities by wearing my brace publicly. After many biannual x-rays, I transitioned to the Boston Brace in 2020. The following year,  I was able to get a Boston Night Brace which I only had to wear while asleep.  I am now almost complete with my journey as my growth has slowed and my curve has remained stable. 


Across my treatment, I felt isolated as I didn’t know anyone else who had scoliosis. I want other girls to know that they are never alone and there is always someone there for them.