Hi, my name is Katie. Sometimes I go by my initials, K.T, since it sounds just like my name. I was 12 years old when I became a Leader. I live in the mid-Hudson Valley in New York State. I love to swim, spend time with friends and my pets.
When I was 9 my mom noticed my posture was changing. When we went in to see the doctor for my camp physical she asked him to check it out. He said I had scoliosis, but it wasn’t bad and we should keep an eye on it (only about 12 degrees). He told us that a lot of people have scoliosis and it is barely noticeable, so not to worry unless it got worse. By the end of the year I grew, a lot-- almost 5 inches. I was on a local swim team. The winter after I turned 10, my times started to slip. I was barely maintaining my time on my favorite event, the backstroke. My coach said my form was okay, but not as good as it used to be. By the end of February my back was getting really sore after practice and I started running out of breath easily. We thought it was because I had been sick with a bad chest cold earlier that month.
In early March, I did something on the playground and my back started hurting, ALOT. Mom took me to the doctor. After getting X-rays, we discovered a couple things. One, I had grown an additional 1.5 inches since Christmas and two, the scoliosis had gotten worse. For the next few weeks it was Xrays, MRIs, bone scans, etc… We went up to see my new doctor in Albany, NY. It turned out my curves were over 34 and 32. I had to get a brace. When I began wearing a brace, I really didn’t like how hot it was but I knew I needed to wear it.
Shortly after I got my brace, I met Rachel who had just started the Hudson Valley chapter of Curvy Girls. She was getting ready for surgery. Being able to meet other girls going through the same thing really helped me. That first summer I broke my foot and wasn’t able to wear my brace and use crutches at the same time, so I only wore my brace when I slept. By the time my cast came off, my curves had gotten worse. I started having trouble taking a deep breath and getting odd pains in the middle of my back. It turned out that my spine was starting to twist and my rib cage was changing shape. It was decided that my growth was slowing down and it was time for surgery. At the same time some of the girls in our group were going in for their surgery. Thanks to Curvy Girls I knew what the surgeon was talking about and it didn’t freak me out. It also was great that our Curvy Girls could be there for each other.
November 2013 I was fused from my T4 to L2. I had a set back shortly after coming home and needed to wear a protective TLSO brace. I was devastated. I had to wear that brace for five months. Rachel and the girls were there for me to talk to. When I was told I could stop wearing the protective brace, the first thing I thought was “I am glad we have a meeting this Saturday so I can share my good news with the girls.” I am happy to be the Leader of the HVNY Curvy Girls, so that I can meet and help other girls with scoliosis. I have seen how it helps to have a chance to get together and share.