A year that fell apart
I already shared the most of my scoliosis story. I shared how I wore a brace for 7 years. And I shared how that brace didn’t keep me from needing a back correcting surgery.
After that you’d think there would be about 6 months of recovery and then the story just goes on. Life moves on. I move on.
And I did. I had five wonderful years of recovering and moving on. I discovered a lot about myself in those five years. As a teenager I started to create my identity – and it didn’t include my scoliosis anymore.
I decided I will be strong, but loving and gentle. I decided I’ll be intense and hardworking but that people will see me smiling instead of complaining. I decided I want to love people and I realized I love writing. I stopped being angry all the time and now I’m patient and silly.
I changed so much that 11 year old me would not recognize me.
So I’ve had a great five years of being okay.
Yet while I’m writing this, I’m lying flat on my back on my bed because my back would hurt too much if I was sitting upright.
You see at the beginning of this year (2017) I had fallen behind with my homework so one Saturday morning I sat for five hours straight, trying my hardest to catch up. I finished a week’s worth of homework that day and when I stood up a pain shot through my spine.
I didn’t think much about it. I sat too long, and was stiff. This is a normal thing most teenagers experience at one point or another.
But then the next day my back still hurt. A week later, my back still hurt. Two weeks later I was lying flat on my back practically crying on my mum’s bed, because I had a party to go to but my whole body hurt.
I went to that party and then came back sore.
My mum took me a doctor who gave me anti-inflammation and pain meds. He told me it’ll go away within the next week when the inflammation died down. Needless to say, it helped but the pain never went away.
I went to the doctor who had done my operation for me.
He is one of the top specialist in South Africa.
He looked at my X-rays and told me nothing changed in the bone structure of my back but that lower back pain is part of the scoliosis life style. There isn’t anything he could do about it but he suggested I go to a physiotherapist, drink ant-inflammation pills and a basically just see if it goes away on it’s own.
Again needless to say, it did not go away.
I went to my physiotherapist which is not one of my favorite experiences. If you aren’t aware of how physiotherapy works, it is basically a very painful message where a trained expert presses down on your sore muscles until they stop being so sensitive.
Then she gave me exercises and told me to go to Pilates lessons.
This actually did help, and lessened the pain by a lot. But didn’t take it away.
I started attending Pilates like suggested and that also seems to help.
It’s an hour lesson, twice a week at 7:30 in the morning with a bunch of amazing ladies between the ages of 60 and 70.
I am the youngest but also probably the most unfit person in the group.
While this often leaves me sore – it also helps a lot.
(I’m also way more flexible now)
The problem is that none of these things has made the pain actually go away.
There is still a burning pain on two spots in my spine. My muscles are still more sore than relaxed. Now along with my lower back my neck, shoulders, sides, legs and arms are often sore.
It’s tiring to be busy while hurting so much and at the end of the day I don’t have the energy to continue with my passions such as writing, drawing piano etc. By ten pm all I want to do is nothing, because I’m also too tired to get ready for sleep.
I can’t sit long enough to catch up with my homework and my motivation to finish it has dropped… a lot. Minor stresses lead to pain. Conflict makes me tired to my very bones.
On bad days my legs and arms go numb. I can’t pick up kids anymore even though that used to be my signature move. I can’t work all day anymore and that used to be a big part of my identity.
My friends can’t lean on my shoulders anymore, because my back can barely carry my own weight, never mind theirs. I sometimes can’t pick up the things on my floor without crying and bad posture to me is what running 5k is to most people.
It’s hard you see. The life I’ve been creating for myself these past five years has been unraveled. As a 17 year old who has always been maybe just a little too much for people, it’s not a pleasant idea to start living a cautious life.
But it doesn’t seem like there is any treatment that will just make my back problems go away. It might be something that I have to live with for ever now. Then again, perhaps I’ll wake up tomorrow and it won’t bother me ever again.
Back problems is a fickle thing it seems, that you can’t count on to only act in a certain way.
But I can count on myself and who I am.
Five years of living without back pain has made me decide to be strong, loving and gentle. It’s who I am and back pain can’t take that from me.
I’m intense, hardworking, I smile and don’t complain. It’s part of how I act, and even back pain can’t take that from me.
I love people and writing. I’m patient, silly and kind. I don’t anger easily, and again even back pain can’t take that away from me.
I think that this is one of my superpowers that will help me get through a lot in life.
I know who I am. I’m always growing but I’m not about to let myself give in. I know who I want to be and who God wants me to be so I strive towards that.
It’s a weird superpower but if I have to look back on this year, I dare say, it helps a lot.
Congratulations you just finished the last part of the story. Told you it was long.
If you liked it, share it and if you have something to say, comment.
I poured out my heart in these three posts. I hope you see it.