Scoliosis: Why It Stunk and What I Learned

In mid-2016, I received a diagnosis. Don’t worry, it isn’t that bad. But I got told I had scoliosis. Now a lot of people suffer from scoliosis: it isn’t rare. But my story is definitely unique. When I was first told I had scoliosis, my back was curved 22 degrees. After the first six months of post-diagnosis physical therapy, I suddenly suffered from a 33 degree curvature of the spine.

^ My reaction exactly. I had no idea how this could have happened since I was doing really well, and my back pain had subsided. But for some unknown reason, fate decided to punch me in the gut and not only make me continue physical therapy, but also receive a scoliosis brace. Now I don’t know how many of you have seen a scoliosis brace, but it is NOT cute. It covers the entirety of my torso, forces me to stand up straight, makes me eat less, and is overall a pain in my butt. 

I am already short for my age and have dealt with the internal struggle of not being tall enough, so to hear that my back pain also contributed to an area of self-consciousness for me was honestly unreal. I now had to deal with my fear of looking young while wearing a brace. To TOP this whole situation off, I had to buy an entirely new wardrobe because I could no longer wear tight shirts, pants with buttons, or anything my original size. But here is the thing, as much as wearing a brace sucked so much, it was a total learning experience. I learned how to to be confident in my own skin, not care what others thought, and embrace something that honestly became a part of me. My brace made me appreciate something as simple as pants with buttons, but also more complex ideas such as my self-worth, my confidence and my friends.

So, whatever your equivalent to a brace might be, speaking from experience, I know it sucks. I know it's hard, and you probably want nothing more in the world than for it to go away. But embrace it. The situation is so much better when you love yourself and your flaws. Although I still wear my brace nightly, I think of it as a blessing instead of a curse. Whatever you’re dealing with, whether physical, mental, or emotional, you definitely got this!