Guess what time of year it is…
That’s right it’s scoliosis awareness month!
So this is really near and dear to me because just a year ago I had scoliosis surgery and it changed my life. I couldn’t breathe because my ribs were so twisted, so that gives you an idea of how bad my scoliosis was. My spine is now perfectly straight. And I’m screwed up for life – literally. But honestly, who isn’t in one way or another?
Scoliosis is not like most of my illnesses because it was visible. It was entirely new to me. I thought people would automatically understand, like hello? You can see the curve in my spine, you can see that my hips are uneven, and my torso is lopsided. How can you question that? But people did. Having scoliosis made me realize that unless you have a disease you cannot understand, whether it is visible or not. I’ve learned people will question anything that they can.
I also learned a lot about self-confidence. Heads up we’re going to get real here people so get ready for some awkwardness. I used to hate shopping, clothes did not look good on me. Some of it was probably in my head, but being honest how good could shorts have looked when one of the cuff was higher up on my thigh thanks to my uneven hips? And forget trying to find a bra that fit between my rib hump and uneven boobs – it was impossible. (Side note: I am happy to report that my rib hump is gone, my boobs are now even, and I have found bras that fit!) I couldn’t feel confident wearing those tight dresses that were super trendy a few years ago. I would teeter around in even the smallest of heels (again with the uneven hips) when I would see other girls my age walking like pros in 5 in stilettoes. I still can’t wear high heels for the safety of myself and others around me – I’m a klutz and I own it. Anyway, now that my spine is straight the world of fashion has opened up. And I freaking love shopping. Scoliosis surgery is not a cosmetic procedure and I don’t want anyone to think that. But don’t get me wrong, when you are used to being hunched over and twisted, and are suddenly not it changes your life and how you see yourself. I was terribly insecure about my spine before the surgery. I live in California, yet I would refuse to go anywhere I needed to be in a bathing suit. Now I’m looking forward to spending all of this summer at the beach and showing off my bad ass scar.
Since this is scoliosis awareness month I want to give a shout out to my surgeon, Dr. Mundis. Not only is he a great surgeon, but he is also great human being. The man brought the nurses and me doughnuts when I was leaving the hospital post-op. How can I not like him? He works with a lot of complicated cases. So he wasn’t phased when I went into anaphylactic shock the day before I was supposed to have surgery and consequently freaked out the entire hospital. He even offered to come in on a weekend to do my surgery if the anesthesiologists were too freaked out to let it happen that day. Dr. Mundis is very involved with a charity called Global Spinal Outreach. I would love it if you all checked out. I am including a link directly to their “About Us” page.
So in closing if any of you are suffering from scoliosis know that, no matter how cheesy it sounds it’s true, you are not alone. There are a lot of us out here who know what it’s like to where those uncomfortable bendy night braces (seriously how do they expect us to sleep let alone breathe in those things?!), or the corset-like day braces (PINK had great shirts to go over those things when I had to wear one in case anyone needs, they are loose enough and long enough), or go through surgery if it gets to that point.
We’re a bunch of curvy, screwed up people, but that just makes us extra special.