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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Do you remember that time in elementary school when you would go to the nurses office to get a physical? During this time you would bend over and touch your toes as they trace down your spine, checking that everything feels normal. 

Yeah, when I tell you that moment changed my life I am not exaggerating.

As I walked down the hallway approaching the nurse’s office I thought nothing of it, just a normal day. My physical began and everything was looking good. Then it came to the spine check, and as I bent over and the nurse traced my spine, I felt the confusion in her voice and hesitation in her touch.

As she dialed my mom, I sat in fear unsure of what was happening. I heard the words “scoliosis” and everything around me went silent. 

This was just the beginning. 

As I followed up with many specialists it was confirmed I had scoliosis. This is common even within my family, but it was to our surprise how severe. I will never forget the look on my mother’s and doctor’s face as they pulled up the x-ray to see I had a “S” shaped spine. 

Doctors determined in order to prevent progression, I would need a brace. 

This started the trips to the children’s hospital. Following the purple kangaroos on the wall showing you the way, at the end of the hall there was a small office with one – two rooms. The rest of the space was filled with large machinery to make the brace

I was so scared, and everything was so new. They wrapped wet bandage wraps across my torso to form a mold of the brace. 

Fast forward a few weeks later, the brace was complete. Plastic that surrounded my whole torso, reaching from armpits to my hips with big purple butterflys (bold choice of mine). 

This is where the real panic set in. This was around the time of middle school where I had just recently transferred. I feared what the other kids would think. That I am some kind of freak. 

I spent the next three years of middle school in a brace. Every second of the day. I remember the embarrassment and shame I felt as the plastic poked out of my clothes. My peers would question me all day long, “What is that”, “Why do you have that?” 

The brace isolated me. 

The only time of relief from it was when I showered. I felt free. Free from the shame and embarrassment of how I appeared to others. 

I am forever grateful that I was able to receive the medical help earlier on in my life to prevent my spine from getting worse and I am beyond grateful surgery was not the plan for me.

A huge shout out to my Mom, Nana and Aunt Nikki for being my rocks through this journey and continuing to instill confidence in me as I wore my brace. 

During my time with the brace, I wanted nothing more than to leave it behind. Now I can recognize how this journey shaped me. I wouldn’t be who I am without the adversity I have faced in life. 

My brace made me stronger.

Cassidy is a social media executive for Her Campus at St. Bonaventure University. She loves to use her creative outlet to advance her university's chapter. She has been writing for Her Campus for three years. Cassidy is a third-year student studying psychology with a minor in women's studies. Beyond Her Campus, she is involved in other extracurriculars such as L.I.F.T., Active Minds, and volunteering in the food pantry. She is the president of SBU for Equality. You may find her working in the admissions building as a student ambassador. She is an avid Pinterest user and will bring up how it is the best social media to exist. Her love for music keeps her going, nothing Taylor Swift can't help her with.