Sheryl Chan over at A Chronic Voice (a great blog to follow by the way!) is having a September Link Up Party – the theme is to write about the following topics:
Resisting, Learning, Struggling, Supporting and Changing.
I thought it would be fun to take part and have tried to relate these themes to my scoliosis. I hope you enjoy reading 🙂
Feeling down about how my back looks.
This is a tough one and I’m sure many of my readers can relate. Yes, I’ve had scoliosis surgery and my back looks “straight” but I still have a curve there. My ribs stick out on one side. My shoulder blade sticks out too. As I’m slim you can see my spine curve and you can see the screws through the skin. I have a large scar running down my back. Does all this make me self conscious? Hell yes!
In day to day life, when I have clothes on it’s fine and in all honesty it doesn’t bother me then, I forget about it.
It’s just in situations where my back is on display where I feel down about it sometimes.
When I was on holiday recently I saw a photograph of me from the back and it shocked me a bit because I didn’t realise how bad it looked (to me anyway). A few years ago, I would have spent most of the holiday upset about a photo like this, but this time I resisted. I wore my bikini and I refused to let my scoliosis make me feel bad about myself. I have been spending a lot of time this year in the gym and running and I am proud of my figure, so why should I hide it? I am proud of my scoliosis and everything I have been through has made me much stronger.
Not to compare myself with others. This is something I do a lot and social media really fuels this. An example is my running. I love running and got into it earlier this year while training for the British 10K in July.
I now run a few times a week and do Park Run (weekly, free, times 5K runs) most Saturday’s.
I have seen a HUGE improvement in my running since January. In January I completed my first ever Park Run in 33 minutes, I am now completing it in around 28 minutes. Despite this, I still feel like I’m rubbish compared to other runners who can run much faster.
I see other people’s times on Instagram and Strava and it makes me feel bad about myself. Now, I am trying to improve my speed but it’s incredibly hard and I find if I push myself too much I get pain in my back/shoulder which is related to my scoliosis.
But instead of focusing on the positives, that even just running 5k/10K with my back is amazing and on how much I have improved, I focus on how slow I run compared to the other runners I follow on social media. I am really trying not to do this but sometimes it’s difficult.
I think the point is, everyone’s situation is different and the only person I should compare myself with, is myself! I know how difficult it is to run with scoliosis and I should be proud of the improvements I have made.
I’ve been struggling with leg numbness over recent months and it’s really annoying me as I do not know what is causing it. It’s likely related to my scoliosis though. I have an appointment next week at the hospital where I had my original scoliosis surgery so hopefully they will look into it for me. I’ll update with a post after the appointment about how it goes.
My biggest fear is that there is a problem with my fusion, metalwork or that the discs below the fusion are starting to wear out. To be honest, with all the exercise I do I worry I have done this to myself by doing too much. An even bigger fear is that I will be told to stop doing all the things I love (running, gym etc).
I love supporting others with scoliosis and I hope that I accomplish this with my blog. I always try to respond to all the comments and emails I receive as I think those of us with scoliosis sometimes just need the support.
Support is something I didn’t really have when I was first diagnosed with scoliosis. My family didn’t want to talk about it and pretended it wasn’t happening. My friends didn’t know as I was too ashamed to tell anyone. Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc didn’t exist back then (yes, I’m olddd..) and so it wasn’t as easy to find and chat to others with scoliosis.
I’ve since realised that it’s so important to talk about things and I so wish I had told my friends back then and been more open about my scoliosis. As soon as I started being more open and reaching out to others with scoliosis I felt so much better and less alone.
Now, I really want to give something back by putting my story “out there” and giving my help and support to anyone who needs it 🙂 If you need support, don’t struggle on like I did. You can email me or contact Scoliosis Association who are great for offering support to those affected by scoliosis.
I also wanted this year to be the year that I supported the Scoliosis Association/Scoliosis Campaign Fund by taking part in a couple of charity events to help raise money for them (British 10K) plus my upcoming Great Wall of China Trek (p.s you can sponsor me here…) 🙂
One of my favourite quotes is “a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” This is so true.
So I’ll soon be pushing myself out of my comfort zone by undertaking a massive physical and personal challenge – trekking the Great Wall of China for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.
I’m so incredibly scared as, although it’s part of a group challenge, I’m actually going by myself. I have travelled quite a bit but never alone and so I’m petrified. However, I love being active, pushing myself and taking on challenges so I know in the back of my mind that once I’m there I will love it. I’ll probably want to do another similar challenge after it’s done!!
I’m really hoping that this experience will help to change me for the better by improving my confidence as well as my fitness.
I hope you enjoyed reading 🙂