Love your scars

5 Reasons to Love your Scars

My scoliosis surgery left me with a huge scoliosis scar which runs down the length of my back. I for one am extremely proud of my scar and I never try to hide it. For me, it highlights what I have gone through and how far I have come in my battle with scoliosis. If you have a scoliosis scar, or any other kind of scar, you too should be proud of what it represents.


Here are my 5 reasons to love your scars…

1. Your scars are a sign of survival

Love Your Scars - Scar Quote

For me, my scoliosis scar is a sign that I survived. I survived the pain, the tears, the lengthy recovery, the psychological damage of living with a physical deformity.  My scoliosis scar is like a battle wound or a medal of honour that says “I survived it all.”


2. They are what make you unique

Love Your Scars - Scoliosis Scar Quote

I used to be ashamed of my back. When I was a teenager it was especially hard living with a physical deformity. I would do anything I could to hide my back. I would wear baggy clothes and cry myself to sleep at night. I would ask “Why me?” and I longed for straight spine and to be “normal.” Over the years though, I’ve come to realise that my condition is what makes me unique. I’m not ashamed anymore. It’s made me the person I am today and there’s a lot of positive things I wouldn’t have done had I not had my condition. My scar encompasses all of that,  it represents the journey I have been on with scoliosis and makes me who I am.


3. They show your strength and determination

Love your scars - scoliosis scar quote

No-one else can know what you’ve been through to be left with the scars you have. For me, going through scoliosis surgery was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to go through. I fought my condition head on, I’ve come out the other side and I’m now stronger and more determined than ever.


4. They tell a story

Love Your Scars - Scars are tattoos with better stories

Your scars makes you interesting and almost always have stories attached to them! This can often be a good ice-breaker or conversation starter.

Once I was at a training seminar for work and the trainer asked us all to share an interesting fact about ourselves. In the past I would have struggled with a question like this. On this occasion my scar story was one of the most well-received “facts” and everyone was really intrigued.

I used to be ashamed of my story, but now I enjoy showing my scar, telling my story and raising awareness of scoliosis.


5. They are beautiful

Love Your Scars
My Scoliosis Scar – On a beach in Australia

All scars are beautiful – love your scars and show them off with pride!


Have you got a scoliosis scar or any other kind of scar?
How do you feel about your scars? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Louise X

3 years post op!

Today I am three years post op from my scoliosis surgery and I really can’t believe how fast that time has gone. So much has changed in the last three years and I’ve come so far, I am now very busy studying an MSc course whilst working full time – hence why I havent updated my blog for a while! I’ve been so busy getting an assignment done this month that I almost forgot that it was my three year scoliosis surgery anniversary. In a way, I think that’s a good thing as it shows that my back doesn’t rule my life anymore.


So how does my back feel at three years post op? I think in all honesty it’s still improving. In the past 6 months I’ve noticed that I seem to have got some of my flexibility back that I thought was gone forever. 

Yes, I still can’t bend the fused part of my back (T3-L3) BUT I can bend from my hips and recently I’ve noticed that when I’m sitting down I can bend like I used to before surgery to pick something off the floor! This may not seem like much to some people but for me this is a big thing and it makes me so happy that I can now do this. I can also bend quite far from my waist now, although I can’t touch my toes (yet!) 

I think it just goes to show how long the recovery can take, it still surprises me the differences I notice in my back month by month – even now.

My Scoliosis Scar: Two Years Post op

My scoliosis scar: two years post op
Above is a photo of the top of my scoliosis scar now, at two years post op. I don’t think it’s very noticeable now at all, especially as my hair usually covers the top of it.
Just for comparison here is a pic of the top of my scar at about 7 weeks post op, so you can see how much it has faded!

My scoliosis scar: 7 weeks post op

My Scoliosis Scar

My Scoliosis Scar

I know a lot of people are really interested in what their scoliosis scar will look like post surgery, so I thought I’d share some pictures of my scar through the different stages of my recovery.

My Scoliosis Scar -2 weeks post op

My Scoliosis Scar - 2 weeks post op
My Scar – 2 weeks post op
Here is my scoliosis scar about 2 weeks post op after I first removed my dressing. I remember being shocked (and pleased!) at how thin and neat the scar was. It was very red and sore though and I was unable to wear a bra at this point as it was too painful. I remember my back was also pretty bruised and swollen.


My Scoliosis Scar – 6 weeks post op

My Scoliosis Scar - 6 weeks post op
My Scar – 6 weeks post op

 

At 6 weeks post op, my scar was still pretty red and sore and my back was still swollen. I remember I still found it painful to wear a bra at this point.


My Scoliosis Scar – 5 months post op

My Scoliosis Scar - 5 mnnths post op
My Scar – 5 months post op

At around 5 months post op, my scar turned a kind of purple colour. I remember being a bit worried that it would stay like this as it looked pretty noticeable. I needn’t have worried though, as it soon faded pretty nicely. After 1 year post op, it was barely visible (see below picture).


My Scoliosis Scar – 1 year post op

My Scoliosis Scar - 1 year post op
My Scar – 1 year post op
As you can see my scar has faded nicely and you can hardly see it now, it kind of looks white. I thought it would be a lot more noticeable to be honest!

A tip:

Bio Oil can be really helpful for improving the appearance of your scar. I use it on my scar and I think it really does help. Although I would say wait until the scar has healed fully before using it 🙂


Update! See the below links for more scar related pictures..

My Scoliosis Scar: Two Years Post op

My Scoliosis scar: 2 years 8 months post op

Scoliosis Photo Gallery

 

 

Scoliosis Surgery - 1 year post op

Scoliosis Surgery: One Year Post Op

Today I am one whole year post op from my scoliosis correction surgery and I honestly can’t believe how far I’ve come and what I’ve been through in just 12 months. This time last year I had not long woken up in HDU from the extensive 10 hour scoliosis surgery where two rods and 21 screws were inserted into my spine to correct my severe scoliosis curvature and change my life forever.

I will never forget that room, the sounds of the machines, the feel of the wires all over me, the voices, the hospital smells and the cloudy confusion in my head. I remember at that point I was too scared to even look into the future, merely focusing hour by hour on getting better.

If I look at my life as it is today, at that moment one year ago I never thought I would be able to achieve all that I have after such huge life changing surgery.

Really that moment was where my life began.

Today, I am taller, straighter and I am now working full time in a job I enjoy. I also study for a distance learning course and I even manage to go to the gym too! A few months after the surgery I was in so much pain I thought I’d never be able to work full time or even look at a gym again.

I won’t lie, it’s been a tough year for me physically and emotionally, I look back at the early stages of recovery and sometimes I can’t believe that I actually went through all that I did, or was even strong enough to. In a way I am proud of myself for having the courage and determination to get through it and get myself back to work and normality. It’s made me so strong as I now feel I can achieve anything I want to – after all – if I can get through such a massive surgery and come out the other side, I can deal with anything.

The first few weeks of recovery were the worst, I remember the first few days I was confined to my hospital bed and before surgery I never realised how hard that would be. I had never even been in hospital before so it was a bit of a shock! I couldn’t sit up by myself to eat, I couldn’t go to the toilet, I couldn’t even wash myself! After a few days in hospital, your dignity goes right out the window…


For the first few days I was very ill and couldn’t keep anything down. Believe me when you have just had sections of 4 ribs removed (I also had a procedure called a ‘costoplasty‘ to reduce the appearance of my ‘rib hump’ which involved my surgeon cutting sections from my ribs) being sick is incredibly painful. 

I had to have anti-sickness injections injected directly into the muscle of my thigh each time I was sick and I have never had an injection as excruciating as that in my life! I was also put on a drip as I wasn’t eating and as a result I lost half a stone. As the nurses were worried about me losing so much weight they monitored fluids going in and out of me (nice!) and made me see a nutritionist who prescribed me these disgusting drinks, which apparently had 300 calories per bottle, but they also made me sick! 

The situation was not helped by me being in a ward full of women who were not as ill as me and who constantly talked about food… ‘oooh this cake is lovely, I wasn’t fond of the soup tho’ not what you need when the thought of food makes you want to vomit…

I remember lying there one night just praying that one day I’d be able to get out of bed by myself and walk to the toilet – that’s all I wanted. I was actually jealous of other patients in my ward that were getting out of bed by themselves and walking about – as at that point I honestly couldn’t imagine ever being able to do it again. 

I will cover my two weeks in hospital following the surgery in more detail in further posts but I just wanted to highlight that going through this surgery has really made me appreciate being able to do small things like that. Things I used to take for granted everyday.

Today, I still find it hard doing some things like getting dressed (try getting dressed without bending your back – not easy!) bending down, tying my shoelaces and putting tights and socks on but with each month things get easier. I have just learnt to adapt how I do things now.

Again, when I look back to a few months post op where I had to use a grabber to pick things up, a raised toilet seat and I couldn’t even get low enough to sit on the sofa, I realise how far I’ve come.

I remember almost crying a few months ago when I had my first night out since surgery and actually danced again, something I never thought I’d be able to do at one point.

Even after a year, I am not 100% back to “normal” and I sometimes wonder if I ever will be. I still feel stiff (like I have metal rods in my back!) and get sore after a long day or if I am on my feet alot but I am just so thankful that I’ve come out of this surgery and can do all the things I used to do.

It has been tough emotionally on me too, my body changed shape overnight and psychologically this was and still is very difficult for me to deal with. I guess I feel like a different person, like this is not my body. I still check my back in the mirror everyday and worry it will go back to how it was but I have to believe that the metalwork inside me is strong and will hold everything in place.
I wanted to prove with this post that, you CAN lead a normal life after scoliosis surgery, it just takes time to recover. You might not see an improvement week by week during recovery from this surgery, which can be incredibly frustrating, but if you look back months you will notice how you are slowly doing more than you first could. 

This always makes me think of one of my favourite quotes, ‘you can’t see the view if you don’t climb the mountain.’

Here is photograph of my scoliosis scar as it is now, I can’t believe how well it’s faded to be honest!
scoliosis surgery scar
And just for comparison, here is a photograph of my back before scoliosis surgery:

Anyway, I’m off to eat the Haribo cake I was bought to celebrate my one year “rod-i-versay” – yummy 😉

Bye for now!

Louise xx

Image credit: DenisDenis