This is me. This is my demon.
I grew up with a degenerative spinal deformity know as Scoliosis. This “abnormality” is something I felt with my whole life causing intense chronic pain hourly. The crack on my spine as I walk, run, breathe, sit and sleep…would take my breath away. I couldn’t participate in sports, football was an unreached dream, workouts were grueling.
I was 20 years old when I found out officially. I first noticed back pain when I was 13 and I didn’t know anything was wrong. No doctor diagnosis, nothing. I was told to “man up” and get over it. “Everyone gets back pain when they get older,” right? I continued to work out, giving my 110% everytime, but no true results. I went to get the x-ray and cried. I have never cried in front of people like that. My body was deformed. I was deformed. It was in front of me on the screen, it was holding me up. I felt as if I had the skeleton of an 80 year old.
It was a problem. As a man, I had goals of what I wanted to become. But I finallly understood what was impairing me from my goals. A severe problem that not only curved my spine, but twisted the lower vertebrae, requiring 3 spinal spacers to be placed in me by drilling into my right side.
I now lost feeling in my right leg (quadracep is numb and I feel nothing on my skin) due to nerve damage. The doc (who did an absolutely phenomenal operation) flipped me over and cut into my spine. A 14 inch scar solely for the 15 screws and 2 rods, straightening out my spine to “normal” as possible.
Normal. That was the goal. To feel normal. The doc said, “It will only continue to get worse, you are beyond the point that this can be addressed, to be corrected.” Surgery was my last resort…my only resort.
People have had breathing problems due to Scoliosis, I had shortness of breath since I was in middle school. Running a mile was a 12 minute deal for me at age 13, being young and not overweight, people thought I was lazy. I was checked for asthma. But I was never checked for Scoliosis. This is routine in most schools.
That one check could have changed my life. I owe debt. Tons of it. As a Criminal Justice Major (three years in) I had to change my career choice. I my spine is a disqualifier to most agencies because I cannot perform situps anymore. This strived me to never give up. I work out every week. I still try my hardest, I still strive for greatness. I have decided to push my brain further and dive deeper with my body.
A 10 hour surgery, 2 month recovery. I was hitting the gym. I still am. I had a upper curve of 34 degrees with a bottom curve of 47. This is fixed. I live with the pain still. But I would trade in one day of pain every now and then for hourly pain and a dependency on prescriptions.
Scoliosis is real. Its hidden. Address it early, it starts early. Its rare in men, but I got it. Just turned 21, about a year after surgery and I am thankful. I Conquered Scoliosis.
June is Scoliosis Aweness month. Make every month Scoliosis Awareness month.