My scoliosis journey began in the seventh grade when I was diagnosed during the procedural scoliosis check at school. After practically the whole cheer team was told they had scoliosis, me included, I didn't think much of it. I freaked out for a split second, but then realized I was probably fine since everyone else seemed to be. I went on with my life as an awkward, pre-teen middle schooler.
Fast forward a year and my parents started noticing a slight shift in the alignment of my ribs and back. After a few x-rays and a visit to my doctor, I discovered my spine was curved 29 degrees (I don't remember the exact number, but that's close enough). Standing at about 5'4", my doctor at the time thought I was done growing, which meant there was no point in wearing a brace, and my curvature wasn't in the realm of surgery yet. Again, I continued my normal life, as I entered freshman year: cheering for VCA, focusing on school, and engaging myself in Student Council. However, I was just a little bit more crooked.
Dissatisfied with the news of not being able to fix my spine, we paid a visit to a different doctor, a children's spine specialist in Las Vegas, just to receive a second opinion. My doctor, Dr. Campbell (like the soup lol), took x-rays and decided he wanted to monitor whether or not the curvature was increasing. Six months later I went back to only find out my back went from a 29 degree curve to a 35 degree curve. That's six whole degrees in only six months, but get this, there still was nothing we could do about it. I was diagnosed with a progressive form of scoliosis, and on top of that I had to stop cheering in hopes that giving my spine a rest from tumbling would help it out.
Boy was I wrong. I started seeing the misalignment of my spine when I looked in the mirror. When I bend over my shoulder and ribs protrude from my body (I literally look like Quasimodo). From the front you can see the rotation of my ribs as my body curves in on the left side, and curves out on the right. I began feeling almost insecure about my body deformity because of how noticeable it had become. Thankfully, through family, I was referred to Dr. Newton at Rady's Children Hospital in San Diego.
This past summer we made an appointment while on vacation in San Diego. Dr. Newton not only diagnosed my scoliosis at a now a 40 degree curve, but he also discovered my kyphosis. For lack of better terms, kyphosis pretty much means I have a hunchback (again I am Quasimodo). My kyphotic curve is 80 degrees standing straight, which is pretty bad. This meant I now qualified for surgery. Although being told you're going to have to be supported by two titanium rods for the rest of your life may seem like a "Debbie Downer" I was relieved to hear that there was finally something they could do to fix my spine.
On Wednesday, December 14th I will be undergoing spinal fusion surgery to correct my kypho-scoliosis. Although it's a scary process, I can't wait to be straight and be like two inches taller. Thank you to everyone who has been there with me through this journey. I am overwhelmed with an abundance of love and support and I couldn't be more grateful for all of you!