Living with Scoliosis

My life has been a living hell since April of 1991. I found out that I have Scoliosis in April of 1991. Since that day my life has been turned upside down. Let me share my story with you.

In April of 1991 I was sitting in the school cafeteria watching a play. I was leaned over a little in my seat when my teacher walked up and asked me had I been bitten by a bug. I told her that I didn’t think so. I was taken to the nurse’s office and it all started from there. The nurse recommended I see a family doctor right away, so I did. I was sent from the family doctor to a spine specialist. That was when it was discovered that I have Scoliosis. This all took place with in a two week period. The specialist told me that something needed to be done right away. The curve was so bad that my ribs were close to puncturing my lungs. The doctor suggested that I look in to the Shriners hospital. My mom looked in to the Shriners and we found out that you must have a sponsor in order to receive treatment at the Shriners Hospital.

One day out of the blue this man my mom knew said he would sponsor me. It just so happened that he was a Shriner and could sponsor me. Mr Gray was the man who saved my life. Had it not been for him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today, sharing my story with others. I will be forever greatful to him and the Shriners. He probably doesn’t remember me, but I think about him often and thank god for what he done.

Everything happened quickly from this point. In November of 1991 I was admitted in the hospital for my surgery. I think the odds were kind of stacked against me. There was a chance that I wouldn’t wake up, there was a chance that I would wake up paralyzed, and then there was the chance of me coming out fine. I came out fine but what was to come was horrible. The first time they sat me up I cried my eyes out. That was so painful being sat up for the first time. Walking was even harder. It was very hard to walk again. I stayed in the hospital for about two weeks.

In the surgery they broke out 5 ribs on my right side and they placed luque rods in my back to straighten my spine up. They did a pretty good job straightening it. I wasn’t leaning as much and my hump on my back was pretty small.

Before my surgery I didn’t have any pain. Since the day I had my surgery I have lived in pain. After I had my last child it seemed to have gotten worse. I constantly live in pain, some days I’m able to cope with the dull pains and then other days, are much worse with more pain. The hump on my back has come back. My left shoulder drops really bad and I’ve been to many doctors who say there’s nothing they can do right now. Most of the doctors say that I will likely need the surgery again in the future but I don’t think that is something I want to go thru again. But if they could guarantee me no more pain, I would do it in a heartbeat!

Sometimes the everyday things in life that one has to do, is impossible for me. Often getting out of bed is a major task for me. When I go to the grocery store or Wal-Mart, I have a hard time getting into the car on the passenger side after I have walked around the store. I have to literally pick up my right leg and put it in the car. I only have pain across the bottom part of my back. About a 4-inch wide space from hip to hip. The last 4 vertebras don’t have rods and aren’t fused, which is the place that I have the most pain. I have two “L ” shaped rods on each side of my spine and the last 4 vertebras don’t have anything. The doctor says that my pain is there because when I bend my back, my back depends on those 4 vertebras.

I’m 25 years old now and it’s been about 15 yrs since I ‘ve had the surgery. So that is the basic outline of my Scoliosis. I have only met one other person that had Scoliosis and he was in the hospital with me, so I don’t know anyone personally that has Scoliosis. I don’t think that people realize just how badly Scoliosis can affect daily life, it’s often shrugged off but living first hand with it as a child and now an adult, I can tell you first hand that getting regular check-ups can be valuable. Take it serious because it can be devastating. I learned this year that in South Carolina doesn’t screen children in school for Scoliosis until they are in the 6th Grade. That really hit me the wrong way. Majority of the children who have Scoliosis are between the ages of 9-12 years old. If you can catch it early you may be able to wear a brace to straighten the curve. I check my children all the time.

Scoliosis is very serious. Please check your children often. My heart goes out to anyone who has Scoliosis.

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