Have you ever cut your finger and not realize it? Some how the pain doesn’t register immediately, and it’s not until you really notice it that you feel it hurt. I sometimes feel as though that is exactly what happened to me. As if it wasn’t until I became aware of the problem that I was hit by the pain and discomfort.
Dr. Gray’s adjustments and his daughter Tracy’s massages were both a huge relief for my pain, but it was only a temporary relief. To help my back on a day-to-day basis, I was given a brace that I was supposed to wear everyday underneath my clothes. This brace was both unpractical, and extremely unflattering.
The day I received my brace, I took it home and almost immediate ran to the bathroom to try it on. It was a soft, white, elastic brace that looked very much like those braces that factory workers wear to support their backs, with the exception that my brace covered the majority of my back instead of just the lower back. I removed the brace from the plastic packaging it was in, and just held for a little while. This was now my reality, but at the time I didn’t except it. All I wanted was to change it, but I didn’t know how. I used to dream that my spine could be straightened. I would come up with various scenarios, all of which ended with me being much taller, straighter, and thinner. I remember one in particular were I would imagine there was an instrument that would just pull my arms and voilà, I would have a perfectly straight spine. It was one of my favorite daydreams, and it filled me with hope that perhaps one day that would actually happened.
I must have been in the bathroom for an eternity, because I remember my mama calling me so that I could come out and show her. Stepping out of my daydream and into reality, I took off my shirt and strapped on the brace. There I was, nine years old, and wishing that I could hide from the world. The brace was restraining and uncomfortable, and the worst part of it all was that it was visible. The seams and the straps of the brace shined through my shirt like wine stains on a white shirt, no one could deny that it was there.
My mama was very supportive and to make me feel better she pretended that she couldn’t see it. For a very small period of time that really did make me feel better. It gave me the confidence I needed to wear it to school the next day. Unfortunately, the next day when I got to school, I quickly learned that it was very visible. Everyone wanted to know what I was wearing, and why. But where to begin? I was so embarrassed. I didn’t want to tell everyone that I had Scoliosis. I didn’t want to be different, I wanted to be “normal,” I wanted to be just like everyone else. My denial of the situation, led to me going to the school bathroom and removing my brace, and hiding it in my backpack. I didn’t want to face the truth it was easier to keep pretending that I was just like everyone else rather than to face my peers with the truth.
After that point, I barely ever wore my brace. My mama made me wear it for a few weeks after, but then I managed to convince her that it was not necessary, and when I did, I never wore that brace again.
“When Life Throws You Curves, Brace Yourself,” -Katie
- Medical focus: What is scoliosis and how do surgeons correct it? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Doctors using saliva to screen for scoliosis (abclocal.go.com)
- How to Avoid Back Pain (healthadel.com)