Girl shares her scoliosis journey on Imgur to help others stay strong
Scoliosis is a disease where a person's spine is curved, usually to more than 10 degrees. It can result in uneven shoulders, certain ribs appearing more prominently due to asymmetry, and not much is known about the cause. Over 80 per cent of scoliosis victims have no idea what the origin of their disease is. It must be genetic at some level, but it remains a mystery to be solved.
Scoliosis is usually not serious, and people tend to just live with it, but one woman who posted her lifelong struggle with the disease has an unusually terrible case. From the ages of 12 to 15, the woman, who did not make her name public, had to wear a brace that covered her entire torso, just to try to correct the curvature of her spine.
Her captain read:
"This is the brace I wore for 3 years straight, 23 hours a day, from age 12 to 15. (Not actually me in the photo but the same brace nonetheless.)"
Its huge, covering the whole torso and putting a ton of material on the back. It'd be hard to wear clothes, and live with in general. She's truly been through a lot.
"Age 16. X-rays of my curvature taken on the day of my surgery in the OR. Top curve was 62°, bottom curve ~48°."
That's incredible to look at. Her spine is curved so much it literally has dips and winds like a river. The fact that she has made a full recovery is nothing short of astounding. Even with a brace, that spine would cause so much pain to live with every day.
That's the other thing about scoliosis - chronic back pains. And with this much curvature, the pain must have been unbearable. She has to be one of the toughest people on Earth.
"Post-op, 2 rods and 16 bolts. Added 2" to my height. Note the change in my ribs. Also affected the placement of my organs, as my lungs now have room to expand and I can finally take deep breaths."
That's what it took to correct her spine curvature - surgery that implanted steel rods into her back. It takes a lot of endurance for that kind of massive surgery.
"Before and after. One week before the surgery and one week after."
Notice how her shoulders were pushed back by her spine. That's where the pain comes from. And yet, after the rod was inserted, her shoulders totally returned to the normal position. The scar is long, so the surgery must have been lengthily and grueling, but it really worked.
"Age 24, present day, 8 years post-op. Basically pain free and thrilled with my results!"
Today, she's healthy and the rods have been doing their work. Her back and shoulders are no longer in pain, so the surgery was a resounding success. Given that she started with a spine curved so intensely, it's a modern medical miracle that today those problems are totally behind her.
It's great that she has the courage and conviction to come forward and tell her story, and look back on what must have been some very difficult years. She's a true survivor!