I like to think of my spine as a tree, sometimes like a snake, but mostly a tree. Most little trees grow straight all on their on own, but some are creative. They see themselves as artists and there aren't about to follow some age old truth that straight is better without trying out their own way first. My scoliosis came early and the doctors and my parents spent years watching my spine twist and contort itself. I was more preoccupied with my ever growing Barbie population and the ever shrinking Ken population going on in the basement. My sister was always dismembering the ken dolls. I wanted to climb trees, eat dirt, catch pollywogs and do science experiments on snails. Snails don't like broccoli, if you were wondering. My back crossed my mind when the headaches came or P.E. teachers expected me to anything more athletic than sitting in left field talking to the flowers. I just learned to carry advil and cry whenever we had to run the mile.
Junior High came and because it's just not quite awkward enough being 5 feet 8 inches tall, gangly, and hormonal the doctors decided it would be the perfect time to put me in a brace. Remember the brace Lisa Kudrow's character in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion wore? It was basically an updated version of that. I was going to post a picture of one, but I got nauseous looking at google images of them. So use your imagination. I only lasted about a year in that when I unhappily agreed to let them turn me into the bionic girl. We waited till I was officially done growing and I was put under, cut open, and rebuilt.
|Side view x-ray of the bars and screws that hold me together.|
This is the happy part of the story. The surgery went great, they were able to stretch out my spine enough to give me an extra inch of height. I was now 5'10", but strangely disappointed I wasn't 6 feet. I recovered, got sent back for the last semester of my senior year of high school, which I spent most of sleeping in my car instead of going to class. Somehow I drove on pain meds, but sitting in class was too hard. I think my teachers and the administration pity graduated me. My headaches became less frequent and eventually the 17 inch scar started to fade. After a few years I stopped feeling like my back functioned as a meteorologist and I sounded less like someone in my eighties predicting storms according my pain levels.
This all came back to me today as I took out my x-rays to show the physical therapist. The very first physical therapist I ever remember seeing. It's been a decade since they first filled me with titanium. I can honestly say I'm glad they did. I still have pain, but it's livable. My crooked spine will never be straight, but then again I wouldn't want them to take all the creativity out of me.