My ‘strong’ titanium years

As I’m celebrating, eight straight and strong titanium years I want to reflect, rethink and inspire on the struggles of Scoliosis. At the time I think I was in between soaring and on the verge of a heavy rod infused breakdown.

How not to deal with scoliosis

I’m going to be fully and openly honest on the mess that not only happens at the time but also revives every so often, years after post-operation / discovery. To increase my chances of being able to be proud of every twist and scar I got throughout my journey. I want to be able to love my scar and my body shape at some point in my life, I want to talk about the journey from one hour to eights years after. Throughout this time I have hidden away from my scoliosis and decided to run away from my scar. To hide, out of embarrassment and judgement from everyone around me.

A few weeks ago I explained scoliosis and how bad my twist or curvature of the spine if you will really was in “8 years: my bars and me”. I spoke about the struggles I had to contend with at such a young age, the symptoms and aftermath of surgery. But I really want to expand on this to finally be able to say everything that has happened pre and post scoliosis to understand myself and be able to improve and “get over” the fact I have a full-length scar and an almost straight back. When I first discovered my curve, twist, bend or disability I was mortified at the way my body looked not that body confidence was something I had previously. However hitting me with a “weird” back at the age of 13 when puberty had just begun hitting us with changes, periods and an extreme list of hormones and mood dips. You were drowning in insecurities. Not to mention this massive and hopeless extra to tear my already shaking confidence to a belittling zero.

I hated that it was me that had to be “different”, was it not enough that the world has blessed me with a bruce-y jaw and the red anti-camouflage that rushes to my face every time someone mutters the word Molly in my direction. But another physical development of a difference I have grown to despise. (get your tiny violins out it’s about to get much worse for self-pity) I hated the fact that even after the operation the pain was still there and what I had in my head would be perfect or at least ‘normal’ was intact not. Ok, the curve got down to a reasonable amount of about 25° that many wouldn’t even second glance at but the perfectionist in me knew it wasn’t enough and I still hadn’t it after all the post and pre activities I had to force my way through to have the honour of these rods. The disgusting flush out your system drink I had to devour every morning for a week before, the paper pants, knotty hair, massively odd boobs and the increased lack of flexibility. Not to forget the fact I was 13 with the aches and pains of an overworked 90-year-old. At the time I was in too much pain to be 100% concerned with my posture or sticky out bits, I just wanted to be able to move or get through the day without an increasing amount of back pain.

I, of course, got the statistics and took note of how the hospital holiday would go down. I was given, six hours, six days, six weeks and six months until it would all be over and what I thought would be going back to ‘normal’. Running, jumping, laying and no more pain. Well, this was way too long for me and the second I came round I wanted out of there. Mum stayed with me to make sure I didn’t make a break for it or maybe the unexpected delight had her worried for a second. If I’m being really honest none of it sank in, even the risks never really crossed my mind after the first time he mentioned them. All I could hear was scoliosis and operation in a muddle of vowels and consonants ringing in my prepubescent ears. It took a second of unprepared tears but I knew then and there what I would be doing and could have gone to surgery that minute. Not because I’m “brave” or even because of the pain but I had it in my head that after 6 hours of cutting, tugging and drilling I would be straight, the posture and body of any other 13-year-old girl. Well, I tell you I was deluded and so so wrong.

You see I’m an over shy introvert to many people and being anything but ‘normal’ give me serious anxiety about what everyone would think or say about me and my hardly missable misshapen body. If you’ve never been a scoliosis body with a high degree of 77°, I assure you it isn’t great. My shoulder blades and ribs stuck out massively compared to my left-hand side and my shoulders were different levels from one another basically my one half of my body was trying to escape from the other.  Although when I found out about it I began to notice others as well that had the same thing months later, it’s like I started a really shitty and painful fashion trend.  

Not that I can sit here and tell you about the day it happened, how I was nervous and remember heading down to surgery waving bye to my parents not knowing if I’d be able to walk again because I was away with the fairies. Not to be ooo look at me but I didn’t feel that worried, probably because it didn’t really come to my attention. And I mean away away if only my technical dinosaur of a father could figure out how to record me talking to the walls and seeing things flying in the sky my life would be a living embarrassment and I’m sure it would be on an endless loop within my house. From the day I woke up in the hospital, a sleepless night for both me and mum ( she’s a diamond stopped with me every minute.) had to pee in a pot and leave it in the loo for my mum to chance down a nurse to pick it up. Tragic. I was in pride ownership of my very own paper pants when a man came in to tell me he’s going to give me something to chill me out and that was it black… On the night Only awaking partially as a ringing in my ears awoke the utter pain and tenderness that lay behind my eyes. Don’t worry I wasn’t crazy just yet; it was my heart rate plummeting into the ground as my eyes closed into my very own forced dreamland. If you’ve ever been in a hospital, you’ll all know the machines I mean they install panic into everyone in hearing distance especially after watching beloved programmes like Casualty. I requested the machine be turned off so I could sleep soundly

After the operation all I wanted was to be at home, I hated every second in there even the smell of KFC was putting me off.  So you knew something serious was wrong. I spent five days in there and by the time I got out of bed my hair was tangled in unbelievable ways and I was devastated that they had shaved just a small section, I couldn’t bare to look at myself.  When I first got out of bed I was unsure on my feet and felt like I was carrying a backpack. My back felt long and tough I had spent 12 years learning how to not be afraid and here I was scared to move my feet or become wobbly. I was nervous about knocking, laying or moving to an extent that my bars would suddenly come loose and float around my body while I crumble to a puddle on the floor.  It all became normal and I was walking like nothing had ever happened but I was stuck with the spiral between disappointment and happiness. I was nowhere near as straight as I’d like to be but I was taller, straighter and in less pain not much less but less nether the less.

Yes, my scar has faded, yes its almost perfect and invisible but I know it’s there. My back isn’t twisting anymore and I’m almost normal but I know I’m not, I know I’ve got pain and insecurities about my shape.

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