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Scoliosis – A Battle Against My Own Body – Part I

My mom recently gave me my medical file labeled “scoliosis.” I went through all the records and found some journal entries about my experience as a teenager. Wearing a full torso brace at age 13 was a turning point in my life and it changed me forever. I always imagined God using me to heal and touch others who battled scoliosis. So far I haven’t had the chance. But here are my honest thoughts and feelings about my experience.

battle with scoliosis
My first day of 6th grade

Part I of My Battle with Scoliosis

August 19th, 1998
Dear Diary,
I just got back from Philadelphia. Most people would be excited, but I am feeling lost and confused. Let me update you…I could not wait for school to start because I knew this year would be amazing. Sixth grade is a year filled with field trips, fun, and preparation for junior high! However, my sixth grade physical left me feeling anything, but excited. During my physical, my family doctor suggested I see a specialist, except he didn’t seem too worried. Then, I went to an orthopedist. X-rays were taken and the results showed I had scoliosis. Scoliosis, who even knows what that means!? My doctor said that scoliosis refers to a lateral curvature of the spine. Right away I blurted out “How could this happen to ME?” Apparently, my doctor said that the classical patient is a tall teenage girl and they don’t know the exact cause of scoliosis. To prevent the curvature from increasing, my doctor said I needed to wear a full torso brace for at least twenty hours a day. How am I going to be able to sleep in a plastic brace that goes the length of my torso? The news has been so overwhelming, and this appointment has changed EVERYTHING. What are my friends going to think of me? I hope they stay friends with me or I don’t know what I will do.
– Lauren

When I read this so many memories flood back through my mind. I was constantly begging my mom to go to outings without my brace. I had to find the perfect ‘cute’ outfit that didn’t reveal the plastic underneath (nearly impossible!). Every few months I went to the place I dreaded the most, the doctor’s office. Most times the news would be a huge disappointment, my curve kept getting worse.

At one of the many doctor’s appointments I learned I needed reconstructive surgery since my spine continued to curve and the brace I wore for a year was not working. After the doctors left the room, my whole family cried. I had no idea what to expect and I was extremely nervous. Would I ever be able to swim again? I am going to have ten of my vertebrae fused and two steel rods inserted. I just want someone to listen to me. I am nervous to tell my friends because I am worried they won’t understand.

battle with scoliosis
A picture from my swimming days
I know this is a heavy post, so I’ll end with something positive. God is good and he helped me through this and used it to shape me 🙂

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

In part II I will share my experiences with scoliosis surgery and the faith I was filled with as a result of it!


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