Hello goobers and groovers! Based in Effingham, Illinois, I am a 14-year-old freshman who loves reading/writing, black cats, and everything theater. On Christmas Day of 2019, my parents noticed the particular slump of my shoulders. (What an amazing gift!)
Only a few days later, just before the new year, I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. The next couple of months was spent doing physical therapy and a technique called neurolink. (Think of someone just repeatedly tapping on your head.) Sadly, these attempts were futile, and my curve only progressed. Along with progression came crippling pain that restricted activities my friends partook in. That spring, my parents desperately sent me out to California for extreme bracing and therapy. So there I was: a scared 12-year-old in the midst of the pandemic in a completely empty airport, waiting for our flight out to a foriegn state 2,000 miles away.
The next year and a half brought three braces and major mental health issues. Despite how painful and pushing the treatment was, my spine was only progressing. I had gone from 62 degrees to…62 degrees. We tried Schroth and more physical therapy, but
nothing was helping. After the pain started to affect my ability to walk, we finally decided to schedule a spinal fusion at Shriner’s Children's Hospital in St. Louis. My spine was affixed with two titanium rods and several screws. Surprisingly, recovery was extremely quick, and I was going to theater camp only two weeks after fusion! I am pleased to report I haven’t been in pain since!
Mental health is unfortunately overlooked in scoliosis treatment. There is so much of a push to “fix” your curves that many doctors forget that their patient may barely be a teenager. Most scoliosis patients are preteen and teenage girls who are struggling with self image since they have been pushed to correct themselves by any means necessary. As incredibly important as focusing on your scoliosis treatment is, I have found that it is difficult to be restrained to a brace or surgery boundaries whilst watching other kids your age do activities without restraint. I hope to provide not only support, but friendship for my fellow scolibuddies who may not have anyone else to relate to.