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British 10K London Fundraising for Scoliosis Race Recap

British 10K London: Fundraising for Scoliosis

So, yesterday I achieved one of my objectives for the year and ran the British 10K for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. How was it? Much tougher than I expected!

Those of you who follow my blog may know that I have done several 10K races this year and ALOT of training to prepare for this event. I have been training since January, as back then I could barely run 5K!

But I was determined to build my distance and take part in this event to help raise money for a charity so close to my heart.


British 10K London: Race recap

I travelled down to London with my boyfriend on Saturday, a day before the race, as I’m based up north and the race started early Sunday morning. When we arrived in London the first thing I noticed was how hot it was compared to up north (!) and I was really hoping it would cool down for the race as I’m not great with running in the heat.

I did my very best to prepare for the race on the Saturday, I refrained from alcohol, drank lots of water and ate a lot of pasta! The refraining from alcohol bit was tough because everyone around me was drinking, as it was such a gorgeous sunny day!

We did some chilling on the Southbank, went for a meal and then had an early night (boring but I really wanted to do well!)


The day of the race

British 10K
British 10K

Even though we were staying in central London, we had to get up pretty early and get the tube across to the start (9.30am).

When we arrived at the bag drop area it was crazy busy (there were over 10,000 participants!) and I started to get nervous. I didn’t sleep well the night before as I was worrying about the race. This was my second race of this scale (I did the Great Manchester Run in May) so I’m still getting used to running these type of events.

We arrived in plenty of time though, so I had time to queue for the toilet and then head over to my start pen (E). I have to say at this point, that considering the scale of this event, I thought it was EXTREMELY well organised. I have taken part in smaller running events which have been utter chaos and so I was very impressed! There were plenty of signs telling us where to go which took a bit of my anxiety away.

To get to our start pens we had to walk down Pall Mall, which, lined with Union Jack flags set us up for the race nicely!

British 10K - walk to the start
British 10K – walk to the start

It was about a 10 minute walk to get to my start pen, which was a good warm up and a chance to take some pics. At this point it was already getting HOT, so I was starting to get concerned about running in it (I’m a northerner so I’m not used to the sun…!)

British 10K - Pall Mall
British 10K – Pall Mall

Once I reached my start pen, they did some warm ups and eventually we made our way to the start. Everyone was put in groups (A-H) depending on their speed, so the fast groups went first and we all gradually filtered round. I was in group E which was pretty much in the middle.

British 10K - at the start
British 10K – at the start

During the race

I have to say I really struggled with this race. I have done several 10K’s this year and I found this one the hardest by far. It was mainly to do with the heat, for me it was just too hot to comfortably run in. It was around 26/27 degrees and very humid and there were no clouds at all so the sun was burning down on us.

I have done a few training runs in hot weather but as we don’t get many really hot days up north I’m used to running in much cooler temperatures. As it was so hot, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I felt like I couldn’t really take in the amazing sights because I was struggling so much to keep myself going!

There were soooo many times where I was tempted to stop but I didn’t. I just keep thinking of the scoliosis charity and all those amazing people who had sponsored me and I didn’t want to let them, or myself down.

So I didn’t stop once, I kept going and all the way round I was just thinking – when will this end?! It was pure torture!! Most of the runners running near me were visibly struggling and there were so many who had to stop and walk.

Despite this though, the route itself was a great route, past all the main sights and there were lots of cheering crowds to keep us going! The highlight was probably running over Westminster bridge, as not only were the views awesome, I knew we were near the end!!

I definitely ran slower than I could have done in parts due to the heat. When I approached the finish line I had literally no energy to sprint like I usually do and just kept at my steady pace.


After the race

I collapsed in a heap!

Not quite… I found a place to sit down and catch my breath and wipe myself down (yuk!) After I recovered, I checked my Strava and it appeared my average pace was similar to that of the Manchester run, so despite the heat I wasn’t going as slowly as I thought!

British 10K at the end
British 10K – with my medal

In the end, I managed to complete it in exactly 1 hour, which is slightly slower than my previous 10K races (PB is 57.27) but not bad considering how I felt.

I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to get a new PB given all the training I’ve done but I guess the elements were against me.

At the end of the day, I know I can do 10K faster but it’s not about speed. I’m just proud that I finished it, I didn’t stop and that I raised money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, which is what I set out to do. When it comes to it, this is all that matters.

I even managed to meet up briefly with some of the other scoliosis runners who are all amazing and inspirational! It was great to meet others with scoliosis as I had actually never met anyone else in “real life” with scoliosis before.

British 10K - Team Scoliosis Campaign Fund
British 10K – Team Scoliosis Campaign Fund

Overall, I had a great day even though the run was tough. Plus, the medal and finishers pack is awesome (yes, that is a tin of baked beans..!)

British 10K - Finishers Pack
British 10K – Finishers Pack

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, it means so much to me!

My sponsor page will be accepting donations until November, as my next challenge for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund will be trekking the Great Wall of China in October (post coming soon).

If you have scoliosis or know someone with scoliosis please consider sponsoring me to help the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. They are only a small charity so every penny really does mean everything.
Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading 🙂

Louise X

British 10K Training Diary 7 days to go!!

London British 10K: 7 Days to go!

London British 10K: 7 Days to go!

Oh my gosh, it’s really getting real now!

This time next week I will have completed the Virgin Sport British 10K in London. Back in January, I set myself the challenge of completing this iconic 10K for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. I could barely run 5K in January but wanted a fitness challenge for the new year, as well as giving something back to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund / Scoliosis Association. This week, my bib arrived which means it must really be happening!

British 10K Bib
My Bib arrived this week!

I was lucky enough to be given a charity place by the Scoliosis Campaign Fund earlier this year. After I got the place, I focused all my efforts on training for this event and have been doing so over the past 6 months.

Over these past 6 months, I have achieved quite a lot with my running. I have completed many 5K Park Runs and improved my 5K time gradually from 33 minutes to under 28 minutes. I have also completed 3 10K races and have gone from completing this distance in 1hr 19 minutes (which I did 2 years ago) to well under an hour!

I am really proud of hour far I have come. It just proves what you can achieve through hard work, dedication and training.

With just 1 week to go until the British 10K, I thought I’d share my training diary on my blog for the past week.

If any of my amazing and lovely readers would like to sponsor me, I have a sponsorship page here. 🙂

All money raised will go directly to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. The Scoliosis Campaign Fund support people with scoliosis and fund research into finding causes and treatments. 


British 10K: Training Diary w/c 26th June

Tuesday 27th June: 4.4km Run

4.4km Run

After the Colshaw Hall 10K on the Sunday 25th, I was a bit sore and my back was feeling it a bit. So I thought it would be best to have Monday as a rest day. On Tuesday, I headed out after work to do a short 4.4km run, which took me 26 minutes 37 seconds. I wasn’t trying to be fast, it was more of a recovery run although I did struggle a bit to be honest. I probably could have used a few more rest days after the 10K race on the Sunday!

Run Selfie

 

Wednesday 28th June: Body Attack class

All I can say about this class is oh my god! I decided to mix up the running a bit this week to give my back a bit of a break. So I went to a class at my gym called Body Attack. Well, the name sums up the class to be honest… It’s a high impact, high energy fitness class with lots of running, jumping, squats, lunges, core work etc for ONE HOUR straight.

It was pretty difficult but the music and the instructor made it fun. It’s a great way to get cardio in without running though and the strength building parts are a good complement to running.

 

Thursday 29th June: Intervals and Body Pump

Tonight I went to Body Pump at my gym after work. I had an hour to kill before the class so decided to do some interval work on the treadmill as an attempt to try and increase my running speed. I did struggle a bit tonight as I had major DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after the Body Attack class, especially in my calves. But I did some stretches and carried on!

I wasn’t too sure what I was doing with the intervals as I’m not used to doing them, but basically I tried doing 1 minute fast (slightly faster than my usual running pace) and then 1 minute walking and repeated this about 6/7 times. This was really hard and I felt more knackered doing this than just running for 20-30 minutes at the same pace!

I think intervals are best done with a heart rate monitor as you can monitor your heart rate and how far to push yourself. I aimed to get my heart rate up to 85% on the fast intervals and bring it down to around 70% in the slow intervals. I’m lucky because I have a heart rate monitor (I use a MyZone MZ3), which is linked to my phone and screens at the gym which helps me when it comes to getting this right.

I think I’m going to start mixing intervals into my usual weekly running and see how I get on. I’ve read that intervals are the best way to increase speed and it is good to mix up the training to keep it interesting.

 

Saturday 1st July: Color Run Manchester (5k)

Color Run Manchester Start Line

So today I did the Color Run in Manchester – the happiest 5k on the planet! I wanted to do this because a couple of years ago I did Run or Dye and absolutely loved it. It’s more of a fun run though and is not timed, so it’s not really an event to be chasing a PB!

Color Run Manchester

Most people were walking and it was difficult to run around people which was slightly frustrating at times. I think to avoid this they should have set people off in waves e.g. runners, joggers, walkers like they do at Race for Life events…but hey ho!

Overall it was a fun event and somehow, despite all the people walking and having to stop several times, I managed to get a 5K PB and completed it in 26.58!

Although according to Strava, it wasn’t quite 5km, it was 4.6km… hmmm.

Color Run Manchester Strava

Sunday 2nd July: 10.4Km Run

I was going to leave the running until Tuesday, but with the weather being so nice I decided to head out for a run this evening. I didn’t have any distance in mind, I just thought I’d go with the flow and see how far I could go. Luckily I didn’t feel too bad and I kept the pace slow-ish so I didn’t injure myself. Due to this I managed to do 10.4km which I was pretty pleased with. This will probably be my last long run now until the big day next weekend. I might sneak in a couple of short runs next week depending on how I feel.

10K Run


If you’d like to sponsor me for The British 10K and help me to raise money for those affected by scoliosis, I have set up a Virgin Money Giving page below:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Through Virgin Money Giving, donations will be quickly processed and passed to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this.

I really appreciate all your support and thank you in advance for any donations.

 

Louise X

Your Scoliosis Stories... Mark's Story

Your Scoliosis Stories: Mark’s Story

The next scoliosis story comes from Mark, who offers a different perspective. Mark is 62 and had his first scoliosis surgery 30 years ago.


Your Scoliosis Stories: Mark’s Story

30 Years Ago

As a young boy I had a lot of medical problems.  Among them I remember having asthma, anaemia, and a heart murmur.  So at the age of 12, our family doctor suggested a complete physical be done at the University Hospital in Madison.  After a whole day of tests, it was discovered I had idiopathic scoliosis.

From that day on, every doctor had the same prognosis and they didn’t bother to sugar coat it.  I was told I would not be able to do anything physical after my early twenties, so I should study hard and get a job pushing a pencil.   Back then I loved sports and hated school.  Why not just stick a knife in my heart?

Most people will probably stress a little about the anticipated difficulties of growing up, but for someone with scoliosis, it becomes an even scarier endeavour.  I wondered how I would ever manage as a husband, father, homeowner, and provider, when having to struggle with pain and fatigue every day.

For ten years I gave it a good fight by staying as healthy as possible, but at age 32, I couldn’t cope anymore and surrendered to surgery.  They tried to prepare me for what was considered at that time a very complex, risky surgery.

I was told I might come off the table paralysed, and maybe even not live through it.  The surgeon would straighten my spine using foot long rods attached to my vertebrae with hooks, screws, and nuts.  He would then fuse 9 of the vertebrae together into one solid block.

Regaining consciousness after the surgery was even worse than anything I had imagined.  One particular night in the hospital, I was in very rough shape.  It was so bad I was convinced if I were to fall asleep I would not wake up.  It sounds melodramatic now, but back then it had real life merit.

I spent two weeks lying flat on my back, except for the few times they log rolled me onto my side.  When they did that, I usually lost my breath due to pain and the nurse would have to coax me back to breathing again.

Before they sent me home to recover, they put me in a huge, plaster, body cast.  It extended from just under my chin to down over my hips.  There are other stories about my life in that cast, but I am going to fast-forward six months to when they took it off.  This was an extremely tough time, and I really wanted to put it behind me.  No such luck!

The doctor informed me it didn’t work as planned and I would have to go through it again.  I didn’t know it then, but the second surgery was not as painful and it provided an opportunity to remove all the hardware.

About twelve years later, thanks to the internet, I found a very skilled back surgeon practising in New Orleans.  He would do a third surgery to put some finishing touches on my back by removing sections of five ribs.  When my spine was straightened, those ribs had been pushed outward which made sitting in chairs difficult.  The sectioned ribs would then grow back correctly so I could sit with less discomfort.

It has been 30 years since that first back surgery.

It is generally assumed by family and friends that they fixed me, but that’s not how it is.  What they did was keep me from being disabled.  I was informed from the beginning that I would continue to have problems because now the vertebrae that are not fused have additional stress to compensate for those that are fused.  So the pain and fatigue remains, although slightly more manageable.

Scoliosis has made my life a lot harder than it needed to be. The last thing I want to mention is my continued ability to play singles tennis at a fairly high level.  It is my only safe haven in an otherwise crappy hand God has dealt me.

I’ve often jokingly told people my summers consist of just two things: playing tennis, and recuperating from playing tennis.  People wonder how that’s possible with my bad back, they don’t realise the varied movements and range of motion while playing is physical therapy for me.  However, I have to keep myself in good enough condition to handle the demands of the sport.  I know there will be life after tennis, but it can wait.


Thank you Mark for taking the time to share your scoliosis story in such detail. I’m glad that you are still able to play tennis and that this helps you to manage your pain.

It’s interesting to hear stories from those who have had the surgery a long time ago.

As an aside, it’s important to note that scoliosis surgery (and the hardware used) has evolved in 30 years. Nowadays most people are up walking around a few days after surgery and body casts are not required. The instrumentation generally used now is much stronger (titanium) and complications with the hardware/fusion are rarer than they were 30 years ago. This is an example of how far treatment for scoliosis has come in 30 years.

If you’d like to have your own scoliosis story featured on my blog, please follow this link and share your story!

Louise X

Your Scoliosis Stories...

Your Scoliosis Stories: Sadie’s Story

Well, today is the last day of June (can you believe it?) which means the last day of Scoliosis Awareness Month.

To finish off the month, I thought I’d post a couple more of your scoliosis stories that I have received. Please keep them coming and I’ll be sure to feature them on my blog. 🙂

Today’s scoliosis story comes from Sadie, you can read her experiences with scoliosis below…


Your Scoliosis Stories: Sadie’s Story

I just wanted to say thank you.

When was first diagnosed with scoliosis I had no idea what it was, and I found myself searching for answers, until I stumbled across your blog. I found your blog so useful and even now 1 year on I still read your blog.

I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12 years old, I didn’t know what it was and I was afraid.

I spent a year going back and forth to appointments trying to figure out what the best course of action would be.

I had an S shaped curve, 70 degrees thoracic and 57 degrees lumbar.

I was told that my scoliosis was too severe for bracing, and that the only correction I could have was surgery.

The whole thought of surgery terrified me, I had no idea what to expect. However, I knew I needed the surgery, and so my parents and I signed the agreement papers, and that was that !

The surgery and recovery was hard, but I am so glad that I did it. I couldn’t be happier with the results, and I can safely say 1 year later that it was all worth it in the end !

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Sadie Rawson xx

You can find out more about Sadie and her experiences with scoliosis on her blog Looking Back – be sure to check her out!


If you’d like to have your own scoliosis story featured on my blog, please follow this link and share your story!

British 10K- Training Diary

London British 10K: 14 Days to go!

On Sunday 9th July, I will be running 10K for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund in the iconic London British 10k! This will involve a flat, fast 10K through London’s most famed sites.

I have also signed up for another challenge for scoliosis after this. In October, I will be taking on a trek of the Great Wall of China. This will involve 9 days of hiking on challenging and uphill terrain (a post on this is coming soon!)

Through these activities, I want to raise money and much needed awareness of scoliosis. But not only that, I want to inspire others who are suffering with the condition and show that having scoliosis doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients.

So, with just 14 days to go until my first scoliosis challenge, I thought I’d write a post to share my training over the last few weeks!

Luckily, I have Strava to help keep a record of everything I do so I can remember… 🙂


Sunday 28th May: Great Manchester Run (10K)

Great Manchester Run

I have already written a blog post on the Great Manchester Run so I won’t repeat myself too much! I spent months training for this event, which I wanted to use as a kind of practice for the London British 10K in July. This was my first ever timed 10K race and I had an amazing time. It was tough as it was quite a humid day but the atmosphere was incredible. I managed to finish under 60 minutes too which was a huge achievement for me (and a PB!)

Thursday 1st June: BODYPUMP

BodyPump

After the Great Manchester Run, I had seriously bad DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in my legs and the running also took its toll on my back and shoulders! For this reason, I had a few days off from training.

On the Thursday after, I started feeling ok again and headed to the gym for BodyPump. I love BodyPump and have written a few posts on it before.

For me, BodyPump is a great complement to running as it helps to strengthen all the muscles in the body, which is crucial to prevent injuries,

 

Saturday 3rd June: 7.7Km run

7.7km Run

 

This was the first training run that I did after the Great Manchester Run, almost a week after the event. I was surprised how much this event took it out of me!

I managed a steady 7.7km which took me 45 minutes – even if I did get a bit wet in the rain!

Theatening Clouds on my run

 

Sunday 4th June: 9.2km walk up and down hills

Instead of running again today, I decided on a walk with a friend as it’s important to mix things up.

We walked a part of the Sandstone Trail in Cheshire – Bickerton Hill. I’ve done this walk a few times so it wasn’t too challenging, although there were a few steep climbs and steps. The views across Cheshire are amazing though, so it’s worth it 🙂

Bickerton Hill

 

Tuesday 6th June: 7.3km run

Windy Run

I had Monday as a rest day, then on the Tuesday I went for a run after work. It was a really windy day so I struggled quite a bit and my pace was a bit slower than usual.

 

Thursday 8th June: 7.4km run

7.4k run

Wednesday was a rest day, so I headed out for another run on Thursday evening after work. I managed 7.4km which I was pretty pleased with!

 

Sunday 11th June: Tatton Park 10K

 

My friend asked me to do the Tatton Park 10K with her and, in a moment of madness after the Manchester 10K, I booked it! To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it as the Manchester 10K really took it out of me. But I thought it would be good as a longer training run for the British 10K. It was a horrifically early start for a Sunday too – I had to get up at 6.30am for an 8.30am race start!

Tatton Park 10K

It was a really nice course though through pretty grounds and mostly flat. Tatton Park is a historic estate with 1,000 acres of lavish gardens and a deer park, so the views were lovely, although I was disappointed that I didn’t spot any deer!

I ran the race with my friend, she is much faster than me but wanted to take it easy so ran at my pace. Although I think running with her must have sped me up as I managed to complete this 10K even quicker than the Manchester one. My time was 57.22 – a new PB. Either that or early morning running could be my new thing (I normally run in the evening).

Considering the first 10K I ever did took me 1hr 20 minutes, I was pretty chuffed with this improvement in my time! Actually, scratch that, I was in total shock!

Overall, I was really impressed with this event. It was really well organised and the grounds were awesome, not to mention the friendly marshalls. They have another 10K here in November which I might sign up for when it’s closer.

Tatton Park

Thursday 15th June: 7km Run

After the Tatton Park 10K, I had a few days off from training to let my body recover and headed out for an evening run on the Thursday after the Tatton Park event.

Run 7Km

 

Saturday 17th June: Mount Snowdon!

Mount Snowdon

Now, this was a challenge! I was on holiday in Wales this weekend (glamping!) and we were staying right by Mount Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales!) So we (stupidly?) decided to trek up (and down!) it while we were there. The weather was a challenge, as it was a hot day, but other than that conditions were pretty good. Clear blue skies = amazing views!

I have actually walked up Snowdon before when I was only 1 year, 8 months post my scoliosis surgery so I kind of knew what to expect. Although on reflection, the first time was much harder because the weather was poor (rainy and misty with it being March) and I was much weaker than I am now, so I struggled much more the first time.

This time, I still struggled with the steep climbs despite all the running I do. However, I found the “scrambling” parts much easier. I think the months of body pump squats and lunges have made me much stronger!

It was about 6 hours of walking overall (3 hours up, 3 hours down) and it gave me a bit of an insight into what the Great Wall of China might be like. It also made me realise that I’m not as fit as I like to think as I am, as I did struggle with some of the steepest parts. I think it’s great training for China though and I might try and fit another training hike up Snowdon in before my China trip.

 

Monday 19th June: 6.4km Run

Evening Run

Anyone that lives in the UK will know we had a bit of a heatwave this week, well a heatwave by UK standards anyway!  So it was still around 28 degrees Celsius when I went out for my evening run, which was a bit hot for me to run in as I’m not used to running in the heat. I still gave it a good go though as I didn’t want to let my training slip!

I managed to do 6.4km, although the heat did affect me and I did struggle to run at my usual pace.

 

 

Wednesday 21st June: 5.5km Run

Sweaty Run

This was another scorcher of a day for the UK and it was another hot evening run, I think it was about 28/29 degrees Celsius when I went out after work. I didn’t really feel like going out tonight as I was too hot and bothered and feeling sluggish from work.

To be honest, I really had to force myself but I still went out as I wanted to keep on top of my training for the British 10K. I struggled in the heat though and kept my pace fairly steady. I was a right sweaty mess after this one I can tell you!

 

Friday 23rd June: BODYPUMP

Body Pump

I decided to take a break from running tonight and go to a BodyPump class at my gym. I try to go to BodyPump once or twice a week usually but have struggled to fit it in over the past few weeks. It felt great to get back to BodyPump tonight as it’s one of my favourite classes.

I love the feeling of getting my body stronger and I really do think that going to BodyPump classes over the past year has contributed to the improvement in my running.

 

Sunday 25th June: Colshaw Hall 10K

So, this morning I was kind of regretting the Friday night Body Pump as I had seriously bad DOMS/muscle pain in my legs from all the squats!  I could hardly walk let alone run 😉

Despite this though,  this morning I took part in the Colshaw Hall 10K in Knustford (my third chip timed race this year and ever). Unlike the Tatton Park 10K, I’ve had this one booked for a fair while and wanted to use it as part of my training for the British 10K.

Overall, I really enjoyed it! It was fairly flat (apart from a killer hill at the 7km mark which I was pre-warned about!!). It took us through some rather plush areas of Cheshire, down the leafy country lanes – we ran past some rather nice big houses and also Jodrell Bank, which was pretty cool.

I decided not to push myself with this one, as I didn’t want to injure myself before the British 10K.

I wasn’t trying for a PB or anything, I just wanted to complete it!  So I took a steady pace and in the end I finished 59.05, which was similar to the Great Manchester Run (59.09) but not as quick as the Tatton Park 10K (57.22). Still, I’m really pleased that I managed to get under an hour and that it didn’t actually feel too bad at all! I have definitely come a long way with my running. Plus, my legs were ok once I got going, tomorrow may be a different story though…!

I was also glad that the mini heatwave we were having in the UK last week finished in time for this event. It was actually perfect running temperature for me, about 15C and cloudy!

Colshaw Hall 10K

The only downside was that I had to run with a full bladder because the queues for the toilets at the start were mahoosive! Note to self: leave earlier next time…

It was worth it for the huge medal though!

Colshaw Hall 10K medal


Please help me to support the Scoliosis Campaign Fund! 🙂

Phew! It’s only writing it all down that I’ve realised how much I’ve actually been doing. No wonder I’m always hungry..

Seriously though, this is pretty much a standard month for me. When I’m not training for a specific event I usually have more of a mix of different gym classes thrown in too. This month though, I’ve been focusing on running and running events in preparation for the British 10K.

After the British 10K, I will most likely tone down the running and focus more on hikes and trekking to prepare for my Great Wall of China challenge in October.


If you’d like to sponsor me for these events and raise money for those affected by scoliosis, I have set up a Virgin Money Giving page for both events below:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

 

Through Virgin Money Giving, donations will be quickly processed and passed to the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this.

I really appreciate all your support and thank you in advance for any donations.

 

Louise X

Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017: My Scoliosis Story

Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017: My Scoliosis Story

It’s International Scoliosis Awareness day on Saturday and so I thought it would be a good time to share my own scoliosis story.

In July, it will be 7 years since I had my scoliosis surgery.

I was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis back in 2000 when I was 14 years old. My parents had noticed that I had one shoulder higher than the other and took me to the Dr’s to check it out. I had also noticed some other odd things around this time, such as my rib cage digging into chairs when I sat down and my ribs sticking out at the front on one side. At the time, I didn’t realise what it was, or that these things could be connected. When I was diagnosed it was a huge shock. I went from being a normal, healthy teenager to potentially facing serious spinal surgery.

Scoliosis - back before surgery
Scoliosis – my back before surgery

Unfortunately,  when I was diagnosed, I was told that my scoliosis was classed as severe. I had two curves in an “S” shape that were both well over 70 degrees (anything over 50 is considered as severe). At this point, I had finished growing and so it was too late for non-surgical methods such as bracing. They told me that I needed spinal surgery to correct the scoliosis, mainly to stop progression and further problems in the future.  I remember looking at my X-ray on the screen and just bursting into tears – how could this be happening to me?

As I had finished growing and I wasn’t in any pain at this time, we decided on the “watch and wait” treatment option. This was mainly because  I was terrified of the prospect of surgery. It involved yearly appointments with a specialist who took X-rays and basically monitored it to make sure it wasn’t getting worse.

During this time, I tried to get on with life. I went to University and got a degree but it was hard for me to forget about my scoliosis. During this time, I was deeply unhappy and I think to be honest I fell into a depression. I hated how I looked with a passion and did everything I could to hide my back from others. It affected my self confidence and self-esteem big time. I thought about my back 24/7 and was constantly stressed that it would progress and get even worse.

When I was about 21, I started to get severe muscle spasms around my lumbar curve, pins and needles in my upper back and horrendous back pain. I coped like this for a few years and tried everything for the pain (physio, acupuncture, exercises, swimming, Pilates, painkillers – you name it!) but nothing helped. I’ve lost count of the times during these years that I spent crying because of my back and the pain. I didn’t want to go on like that for the rest of my life.

For this reason, I eventually decided to do some research into the surgery. I read A LOT and spoke to people who had been through the surgery and come out the other side. This was invaluable and made me realise that if I did decide on surgery, maybe there would be some light at the end of the tunnel.  After A LOT of stress, turmoil and tears, I eventually got put on the waiting list for the surgery. I had to wait over a year, which was pure hell. I struggled with anxiety big time during this time as I waited for the date to get closer and constantly stressed about whether I was doing the right thing or not.

On 29th July 2010, at age 24, I eventually had my scoliosis corrective surgery. My spine was straightened with two titanium rids and 20 something screws and fused in a straighter position. The surgery itself took 11 hours, I was in hospital for two weeks, off work for about 6 months and it took me around a year to fully recover.

Scoliosis X-rays
Scoliosis x-rays -before and after surgery

 

It was a major operation and recovery was painful and one of the toughest experiences I have ever been through. After the surgery, I had to learn all the basics all over again. I couldn’t even sit up by myself to start with and I had to learn to walk all over again.

My mum took two weeks off work to look after me at home. To start with, I couldn’t do much for myself and I had to have help with everything, including washing and dressing myself. I also had to learn how to adapt to all the metalwork in my spine. It did feel strange at first (like I had a wooden board strapped to my back!) but over time, I got used to it.

I was very lucky that my surgery was a success and I’m so grateful to my surgeon and to the NHS that I was able to have the surgery.

Scoliosis scar after surgery
Scoliosis scar after surgery

Today, 7 years on, I am without a doubt much happier. I am more confident and I don’t worry or stress about my scoliosis anymore – I just get on with my life. Yes, I still get back pain and I have good and bad days when it comes to this. But it is nowhere near as bad as it was before my surgery and it doesn’t stop me from living my life.

I have achieved many amazing things since recovering from my surgery including travelling to wonderful places, completing a Master’s degree with distinction, running races, climbing mountains and much more.

Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017

I am proud of my scoliosis and I wouldn’t change it for the world, as it has made me who I am today – strong and determined and able to appreciate life and all the things I can do.

Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017

Now, 7 years later, I am doing two things that I never thought I’d be able to do post scoliosis surgery in a bid to raise awareness and money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

British London 10K

British London 10K

On July 9th, I am running the British 10K. This will involve a flat, fast 10K through London’s most famed sites.

Great Wall of China 9 Day Trek

Great Wall of China

In October, I will be taking on a massive challenge with a 9 day trek on the Great Wall of China. This will involve 9 days of hiking on challenging and uphill terrain.

Through these activities, I want to raise awareness of scoliosis. But not only that, I want to inspire others who are suffering with the condition and show that having scoliosis doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients.

Through Virgin Money Giving, you can sponsor me and donations will be quickly processed and passed to charities. Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this. I really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Share your own scoliosis story on my blog and help me to raise awareness of scoliosis!

Louise X

Scoliosis Awareness Month 2017

Scoliosis Awareness Month 2017

Scoliosis Awareness Month 2017


June is scoliosis awareness month, so to help raise some much needed awareness I have created the below graphic for you to share.

Scoliosis: Know the signs!

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine affecting 200 million people worldwide. In most cases, scoliosis first presents itself in young teenagers (it is more common in girls).

It’s important to know the signs of scoliosis and to check children’s backs regularly, especially during the ages of 10-15. This is because, between these ages scoliosis can often develop very rapidly, during the teenage growth spurt.

This is what happened to me. I developed scoliosis in early adolescence but it wasn’t spotted until I was 14. By that time it was already very severe meaning that, unfortunately, surgery was the only treatment option for me. You can see my back and X-ray before surgery in the image below.

Early detection is therefore crucial as if scoliosis is spotted early enough, surgery can be avoided.  

If you’d like to find out more about scoliosis, you can read my scoliosis story or visit my information page – what is scoliosis?

Please also feel free to share the below graphic on social media or your own blog to get the word out about scoliosis! 

To share on Pinterest, simply hit the Pin It! button below.


Scoliosis Awareness Month 2017

Share this Image On Your Site

 

 

British 10K Scoliosis

British 10K – 9th July 2017

British 10K – 9th July 2017

It’s getting closer now!

In just under a month’s time, I will be running the British 10K in London to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. Eeeek!

After everything that has happened in London recently, I’m excited and proud to be involved in this event. It will be good to come together in a celebration of London and everything British. In light of the recent events, I imagine the atmosphere will be even more incredible and similar to that of the Great Manchester Run.

British London 10K

Why am I running this event?

After being diagnosed with severe scoliosis at 14 and later having scoliosis surgery at age 24, I have always wanted to do something to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

Now, 7 years after my scoliosis surgery, I am doing something that I never thought I’d be able to do. I am running 10K in the British 10K event in a bid to raise awareness of scoliosis and to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families. They also fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients.


Training

British 10K London

I won’t lie, running doesn’t come naturally to me and training has been hard.

I have been running several times a week since January, in combination with Body Pump and other classes at the gym. I have also been going to Park Run most Saturdays which has helped me loads. I took part in the Great Manchester 10K a couple of weeks ago and I have another couple of 10K events before the British 10K as practice.

I am concerned about over-doing things though.  The Great Manchester 10K really took it out of me. Ever since the Great Manchester run, my shoulder is sore, my lower back is sore and I get stitch every time I run. I also have a disgusting blood blister on my toe!

However, all of this is worth it if I can raise funds and awareness of scoliosis.

There’s not long to go now so if you’d like to support me and the scoliosis campaign fund you can do so by sponsoring me below… I’d be forever grateful!!


Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Louise X

Your Scoliosis Stories...

Your Scoliosis Stories: Kacey’s Story

As June is scoliosis awareness month, I thought I’d kick off a feature I’ve been meaning to do for a while: Your Scoliosis Stories!

This is a feature where I invite you, my readers, to share your own scoliosis stories so that we can all help and inspire each other.

Below is the first story in this series, featuring Kacey and her very recent brave experiences with scoliosis surgery.

Kacey is only 3 months post op but it sounds like she is already doing amazingly well!


Your Scoliosis Stories: Kacey’s story

 

I found out I had scoliosis when I was 13 years old.

I’ve sat through numerous x-rays, struggled through many physical therapy classes, and of course dealt with having terrible self confidence.

5 years later, I finally had scoliosis correction surgery.

Only 3 weeks post-op, I have never felt better about myself.

When I started going to the doctor at only 13 years old, my curve was around 30 degrees. I was almost done growing so it wasn’t something that a brace could fix. At that point I was told that it should stop progressing and that it will be something that I was just going to have to live with.

Little did I know that throughout these last 5 years that it had progressed by 15 degrees.

Going into surgery on May 9th 2017 with a 45 degree curve…I was TERRIFIED.

To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

It was definitely scary but the 5 days I spent in the hospital flew by and I was home before I knew it. After that, everyday got so much easier.

I grew 2 inches and I have the best battle scar from my scoliosis journey!

Scoliosis Scar - Kacey
Scoliosis Scar – Kacey

Thank you Kacey for sharing your brave and inspiring scoliosis story. What an amazing scar and tattoo also 🙂

I’m hoping to make this a regular thing and would love to feature more of your stories on my blog.

If you would like to feature your own scoliosis story, simply follow this link: Share your story. I’d be so grateful!

Thanks for reading,

Louise X

 

10 facts about scoliosis that may surprise you

10 facts about scoliosis that may surprise you

June is scoliosis awareness month, so to help raise awareness, I thought I’d write a post with some interesting facts about scoliosis.

10 facts about scoliosis that may surprise you

  1. Scoliosis is more common than you think! It is estimated that scoliosis affects 200 million people worldwide. So if you have scoliosis, you are most certainly not alone.
  2. Around eight in 10 people who have scoliosis have idiopathic scoliosis, which has no known cause. This type of scoliosis most commonly develops during the adolescent growth spurt (between the ages of 10-15). Scoliosis is not caused by accidents or from carrying heavy bags, both are common myths.
  3. Most cases of scoliosis are mild and do not require surgical intervention.
  4. Scoliosis is more common in girls than boys. Adolescent girls may be up to 10 times more likely to develop scoliosis than boys.
  5. You can still exercise if you have scoliosis (both before and after scoliosis surgery). In fact, exercise is encouraged as it can help with strengthening the core and back muscles and reducing pain.
  6. Scoliosis can sometimes be hereditary.
  7. Animals can have scoliosis! Scoliosis has been found in fish, cats and dogs amongst others.
  8. Having scoliosis does not mean that you won’t be able to have children – pre or post scoliosis surgery. This is a common myth but in most cases women with scoliosis will have no problems with pregnancy or labour.
  9. There are many celebrities with scoliosis, including Olympic athletes such as Usain Bolt.
  10. Severe scoliosis can affect a person’s appearance due to the twisting and curving of the spine and ribs. This can cause leaning to one side, uneven shoulder blades, one shoulder or hip sticking out, the ribs protruding on one side or the ribs forming a lump on the back.

To find out more about scoliosis, check out my page – what is scoliosis? and please do share this post or the infographic below and help me to raise awareness of scoliosis!

Have you got any interesting facts about scoliosis? Feel free to comment below 🙂

Louise X

Facts about scoliosis

References:

https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/s/scoliosis

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/scoliosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.sauk.org.uk/downloads/scoliosis-knowthefacts.pdf

http://www.scoliosissos.com/news/post/10-interesting-facts-about-scoliosis

https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_scoliosis.asp