5 years post op

Scoliosis Surgery
Me a few weeks after surgery

So this week it is five whole years since my scoliosis surgery.

My life is very different from this time five years ago and it got me thinking about how far I’ve come since my surgery. If anyone reading this is currently facing the prospect of scoliosis surgery, or are in the early stages of recovery, I just want to reassure you that it DOES get easier and you WILL be able to achieve things post surgery you never thought were possible. It just takes time and patience.

I continue to push myself, and this week I graduated from University for the second time, with an MSc in Digital Marketing Communications (with distinction), which I have been studying towards for the past three years.

In the few months since finishing my MSc, I have also really got into running and I feel fitter and healthier than ever. In May this year year I completed my first ever 10K race for Cancer Research, in June I completed a 5K fun run (Run or Dye – really fun!) and I’ve just signed up to complete a 5K run in Manchester in September to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

I am surprised that running doesn’t hurt my back and in the past I have always avoided it for fear of causing myself damage or causing pain. When I first started it did feel a bit strange – but now it feels fine and my fitness has improved immensely over the past few months.

I’m not saying everyone with scoliosis can / should do running (you should always check with your doctor/specialist) BUT I’m saying that having scoliosis should NEVER hold you back, or stop you from trying something, and that you should always feel like you can do anything you put your mind to.

After 5 years, yes I get the odd bad pain day, but on the whole I feel better than ever and my flexibility has also continued to improve, which after surgery I didn’t think would be possible.

I don’t know how long this will last and whether I’ll get more pain in the future but as a result, I am determined to enjoy my life while I can and I will always continue to push myself to achieve for as long as I am physically able to.

IMG_0774
Taking part in Run or Dye 5K in June 2015


Here’s to the next five years!

Louise xx

2 year post op checkup

Today I had my 2 year post op checkup. 

After scoliosis surgery you generally get seen for a checkup after 3 months, after 6 months, after 1 year and after 2 years, so this was my final post surgery checkup (hooray!) 

Like last year, it was very weird going back to the hospital I had my surgery at, it’s easy to forget what you went through sometimes but going back there again and walking past the ward I was on kind of brought it all back. 

Luckily, I managed to see my surgeon for this appointment (not a registrar) which was good news. He checked my xrays and said all the metalwork looks as though it’s in the right place and he thinks it’s fused now which is great news. 

I told him that I’m doing alot of activities post op such as going to the gym regularly, aeorbics, zumba etc and that I was worried I was doing too much. His answer was no I won’t be doing too much and that I can do anything I want to do now which is good to hear, sometimes you just need a little reassurance. 
 
What made me laugh though today was the guys who did my xrays were fascinated by them, their eyes almost popped out of their sockets when they saw them and they kept asking me loads of questions about my spine and calling me the bionic lady! Surely they’ve seen other scoliosis post op xrays before…I do like people’s reactions to them though and straight after the guy who did the xrays had seen them he was offering to carry everything for me, like I couldn’t lift a basket with my clothes in…Funny how people treat you differently after they’ve seen the xrays!

Anyway it was a good appointment overall and he said I dont have to go back again now or have any further xrays (woohoooo!) unless I have any issues. 

This is kind of a big thing for me, considering I have been having checkups on my back and xrays every year since I was 14. I’ve had more than enough xrays to last a lifetime. It’s a bit weird to think I’ll never have to go for another checkup or wear one of those fetching hospital gowns for my yearly xray again (fingers crossed).



can you feel the metalwork in your back after scoliosis surgery

Costoplasty Questions (also called thoracoplasty)

What is a costoplasty or thoracoplasty?

I’ve been asked a few times about the costoplasty procedure I had at the time of my scoliosis surgery, so I thought I would try and answer a few common queries about costoplasties below.

When the spine curves it can also twist, this causes rotation of the rib cage which results in a “rib hump,” this mainly occurs with thoracic curves that affect the ribs. In my case I had a large thoracic curve and a very prominent “rib hump” on my right side, caused by the rotation of the spine. Some scoliosis curves can be large with very little rotation and some can be small with lots of rotation, every case is different.

A costoplasty, also called thoracoplasty, is a separate procedure to the spinal fusion, which can reduce the appearance of the “rib hump” that is most often associated with thoracic curves. 

A costoplasty will usually involve the removal of sections of several ribs that protrude – in my case my surgeon removed four sections of rib – ouch!!
The idea is that when the ribs grow back, they will grow back straight, providing you with a flatter back. This procedure can be carried out during the same time as the scoliosis surgery, or sometimes as a separate procedure after the spine has fused. 
Note that you can’t have a costoplasty without first having the spinal fusion to stabalise the spine.

 

Does everyone undergoing scoliosis surgery require a costoplasty?

No. Not everyone with scoliosis will require a costoplasty, it’s generally considered a “cosmetic” procedure. In many cases, especially with the modern instrumentation used nowadays, the surgeon can achieve a fantastic cosmetic outcome without the need for this additional procedure. Also, depending on where the curve is in the spine, the ribs may not be affected and therefore this procedure would not be required. It’s mainly required more for larger, stiffer thoracic curves (like mine). If you have a large rib hump as a result of your scoliosis and are considering spinal fusion, it would be worth discussing the options with your surgeon.

 

Are you pleased with the results?

Yes. Personally, I had a lot of rotation, my rib hump was very large and I hated it. It made me self-conscious and it was painful and uncomfortable to sit against chairs, this is why I decided to ask my surgeon about the costoplasty.

On reflection I am pleased I had this procedure and I would have it again tomorrow if I had to as the results were so fantastic. My rib hump has disappeared and I still can’t get over how flat my back looks even now. I don’t have many pictures of my rib hump side before surgery as I generally tried not to get that side photographed, however the below pictures shows how my rib hump looked before and after surgery:

Rib hump before costoplasty
Rib hump before costoplasty
Rib hump after costoplasty
Rib hump side after costoplasty
Costoplasty Picture - Before and After
Costoplasty – Before and After

Is having a costoplasty painful?

Yes it WAS painful, but that’s not much of a surprise really bearing in mind I had 4 broken ribs!  It hurt to breathe, sneeze, laugh, move!!

I would say the costoplasty pain was worse than the pain from my spine and lasted about 6 months. But for me the pain was all worth it and was controlled well with painkillers 🙂

It’s also worth noting that having a costoplasty adds time onto your recovery period – I had to wear a brace for 3 months to protect the healing ribs – whereas many patients are not required to wear a brace following scoliosis surgery. 

Are there additional risks to having a costoplasty?

Yes, as with any surgical procedure there are risks and complications that can occur with a costoplasty and you should always discuss all the options and risks with your surgeon before making a decision. For example, it lengthens the duration of the surgery and the time that you are under anesthetic.

Hope this helps please feel free to ask any further questions you may have about this procedure and I’ll do my best to help 🙂


Louise x

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What is a costoplasty

Scoliosis Surgery – The Truth

The truth is there is sooo much rubbish and so many horror stories on the Internet about scoliosis surgery, it’s enough to put anyone off having the surgery.

I know because I believed a lot of it myself when I first got diagnosed with scoliosis and was researching the surgery. I was truly horrified and worked myself into a right state after reading certain statistics.

I just need to say this….please be very cautious about what you believe online about scoliosis surgery.

I’m not ‘pro’ surgery just because I’ve had it, it’s a huge surgery and the decision to have the surgery should never be made lightly.

However, there are some websites out there promoting alternative treatments that purposely try to scare people off the surgery rather than concentrating on producing proof that their advertised “alternative treatment” actually works. It’s just completely unethical. These websites often use out of date statistics that are just not relevant.

They also base alot of their ‘research’ and statistics on patients that have had scoliosis surgery using Harrington Rods. These rods are no longer used and so the statistics do not apply to anyone having the surgery now, which alot of these websites and articles fail to mention, surprise surprise.

I’m saying this because it makes me SO ANGRY and preys on vulnerable people. If you have fears about the surgery, please speak to your consultant, please do not believe out of date information and incorrect statistics on the Internet.

There’s a great blog here which I recommend you read if you are facing the surgery:

http://scoliosistruth.blogspot.com/2…mongering.html

It basically states the many incorrect facts that are often used on these scaremongering websites and articles and states the truth in response.

Hope this helps someone.

Louise x

Scoliosis Surgery – Extended Recovery

I really wanted to write this blog when I was actually going through my recovery to document my thoughts and feelings. I haven’t gotten round to it until now but I found some forum posts that I wrote whilst going through the extended recovery period and just thought they might be interesting to read….

 Scoliosis Surgery Recovery – 3months post op check up

Just got back now and everythings fine – phew! I got to see my surgeon himself which I was pleased about and only waited about 5minutes – must be a first! He said he can see it’s fusing well on the xray I had today, he showed me the xray I had done just after surgery and I could see about 4 broken ribs on it from the costoplasty – no wonder I’ve been in such pain lol. The xray from today shows the ribs have nearly healed but there’s still a way to go yet, he said I should expect to get pain from them for another 3months at least.
I told him that I was a bit unhappy with how my right shoulder blade protrudes and he said that I need to build the muscles up around it which should help to improve the appearance of it, so he’s referred me to physio. Hopefully this will work….

I also told him that I was expecting a bit more of a correction than I’ve got, as the first time I saw him he said he thought my spine was flexible and that he could achieve about a 70-80% correction (instead I got about 50%) but today when I asked him about it, he said that it wouldn’t have been safe in my case to go any straighter than he did, apparantly my curve was stiffer than he first thought too.

But the rib hump has completely gone which is a plus so my back looks good. He showed me some xrays from the side and the difference is amazing.

I don’t have to wear my brace anymore which is good and he said I can start going back to the gym again now but only to do walking on the treadmill and maybe cycling – he said definitely no to the cross trainer yet…! I don’t think I feel ready for the gym just yet, but it’s good to know I could if I wanted to I guess.

4 months post op: My first Physio Appointment Post Surgery

Today I had physio for the first time after my surgery (on the NHS) and I actually found it really good! Except for the fact I nearly slipped over on the ice outside the doctors – they havent gritted outside the drs, how annoying!!I didn’t really hurt myself but jolted my muscles – my poor back..

Anyway, my surgeon referred me for physio as he said I have a ‘weakened scapula’ which makes it stick out more than it should as the muscles around it are really really weak.

So the physio has given me some exercises to help strengthen the muscles and she said it should make my shoulder blade appear much flatter over time – which makes me happy as I’m quite self concious about it.

She’s also given me some gentle exercises to strengthen my lower back. She was really nice and kept saying what a good job they’d done on my back.

So I’m glad I went even though the weather is so bad I nearly didnt risk it!!

Scoliosis Surgery Recovery – 4 months post op: Tramadol Addiction
I’ve been taking Tramadol now for about 4months, and I don’t want to take it anymore, as my pain is not as bad as it was.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve only been taking 1 tablet (50mg) per day (in the afternoon usually) to try and cut down, which isnt alot I dont think?

If I miss this 1 tablet, I feel really weird.. lightheaded, sweaty and feel like I’m getting the flu or something, it’s really hard to explain but it’s not nice!! Then, as I can’t bear the feeling anymore, I take 1 tablet and I start to feel ‘normal’ again within an hour or so.

I cant take this any more, I just want to not have to take it! How do I cut down from 1 a day? I mentioned to my GP a few weeks ago that I was worried about getting addicted and she said I wouldnt be, so what’s going on then?!

Scoliosis Surgery Recovery – 4 months post op: Post Surgery Blues

Today I was supposed to go into work for a couple of hours for a meeting to discuss going back to work and a few other things, my boss said he’d pick me up (I’m still in too much pain to drive) at 1pm.

So I take all morning getting ready which is a real struggle at the moment, it took me about 20 mins to just get my tights on this morning! Then when i’m sat in my coat all ready to go he rings me and says he’s running late can we do it tomorrow! By which point I just burst into tears on the phone, now I feel stupid !!

But it was just the fact that it took so much effort with the amount of pain I’m in and I’m gonna have to do it all again tomorrow now!! I don’t think he realises how much effort it takes just to get dressed atm. Also I spilt milk All over the floor earlier and can’t bend down to clean it up – this again made me get all upset. I just feel useless and emotional right now 🙁

Scoliosis Surgery Recovery – 6 month post op check up:

Just a quick update on me. Today I had my 6month post op check (even though I’m nearly 8months post op but never mind..) and all is ok in terms of metalwork etc… phew..

Am a tad disappointed though as I ended up seeing a registrar and had to wait hours. He seemed to know what he was doing but would have liked to have seen my surgeon really. My surgeon was there but was running really behind and by the time I’d been to xray and came back think he had gone…! 

Just wish I could have gone to xray as soon as I got there instead of waiting aages to be told I needed an xray…… well I could have told them that lol. Just a bit annoying after waiting ages for an appointment, having it cancelled and rearranged etc…

Anyway at least all is ok, I feel like Im finally getting back to myself again now after 8 months and starting to get my life back – I started going back to the gym at 5 months post op and I even went out dancing on Saturday night! 😉 yay!

Post Surgery: Hospital Experience

Waking up from scoliosis surgery

When I woke up from my scoliosis surgery I remember feeling no pain, I felt as light as air (thank god for morphine!) and I actually remember thinking ‘I’ve had hangovers worse than this.’


I was in ICU, (intensive care unit) I had tubes all over me and was attached to several machines that were monitoring my heart rate, blood pressure etc so I could hear these beeping. I could also hear nurses talking at the other end of the room and I remember wondering at one point if I’d even had the surgery.


I also remember feeling very itchy, I was constantly scratching my chest which the nurse said was a side effect from the morphine and gave me some piritin to help. I also had a really dry mouth so they gave me some water, I did ask for some toast but a nurse said that as my bowels hadn’t “woken up” properly from the anaesthetic that I wasn’t allowed any toast right away.


I had no sense of time in ICU and it is all a bit of a blur, I kept falling asleep and waking up hours later and I didn’t know what day it was. I also had double vision which I was told was from the meds. I could see (two!) clocks on the wall so I knew time had past but it just felt surreal.

I remember speaking to my dad on the phone just hours after the surgery, apparantly he had rang ICU before he went to bed to see how I was and they let him speak to me. I can’t remember what I said or if I even made any sense and after I fell asleep and woke again I felt confused and kept thinking that I’d dreamt the whole converstation.


My boyfriend said that he had seen me as they were initially waking me up from surgery but I don’t remember this.  He said that I looked like I was in pain and it really upset him seeing me like that and that he went home not knowing if I was ok or not but I honestly don’t remember. I only remember waking up in the ICU after my family had all gone home for the night wondering if I’d even had the surgery.

The next few days were a blur passed by so quickly. I was in and out of conciousness and struggled to speak to my family when they visited because I just couldnt keep my eyes open because of all the drugs I was on. I think it was a bit much for my family to see me like that as my mum and boyfriend had to leave to room a few times as they felt faint. 

At the time I couldn’t understand why as I felt fine in myself, just tired. I dread to think what I looked like to them though with all those machines and wires attached to me. In a way it felt like it was happening to someone else.

The ward post surgery

Content to follow…my experience of scoliosis surgery and the immediate post op period in hospital.

Scoliosis Surgery: Now or Never…

This part is all a blur, sometimes I wonder how I got through it at all.
I had to be at the hospital at 3pm on the 28th July 2010, that morning I was surprisingly calm and a little excited.
I knew it was something I had to deal with and I think after waiting a year I was keen to get it over with and excited to finally deal with it and move on with my life.
When we arrived and I saw all the other people on my ward in their hospital beds I did get a little upset – I’d never been in hospital before and it was all a bit overwhelming.
The worst part was when my family left and I was in hospital alone.
I started to unpack my things and spoke to the lady in the bed next to me who told me all about ‘Percy the Peacock’ who apparently woke everyone on the ward up at 4am each morning.
 I also had some tea and just kind of sat there on my bed, worrying.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Should I get into my pyjamas’? Get into bed? Or just sit on my bed?
My scoliosis surgeon came to see me before I could decide what to do and we spoke a bit about the surgery and if I had any questions.
I felt slightly better after speaking to him but just knew I wouldn’t sleep at all that night.
I was right, I didn’t, despite taking two sleeping tablets the nurses gave me.
I read my book instead, although the words didn’t go in.
The Day of the Surgery
The morning of the surgery I was woken at 6am by the nurses administering the morning pills shortly followed by breakfast. I wasn’t allowed any breakfast but felt so sick with fear I doubt I would have been able to eat a thing anyway.
It all felt kind of surreal, like it wasn’t me this was happening to and I was watching somebody else.
I was made to have a shower, change into some paper pants and a gown and just wait. Those were the longest few hours of my life; every time a nurse walked past the ward I looked up expecting it to be time.  If I’d have known how long it would be until I had another shower I would have taken time to appreciate that ‘last shower.’ As it goes I was so nervous, I kind of showered without even realising what I was doing.
My parents came back to visit me again but weren’t allowed in the ward at this time, so I met them in the day room. It didn’t feel real that in a few minutes I would be called away and be taken for major surgery – it kind of felt like it wasn’t happening to me, like I was in a dream.
We chatted for a bit, I can’t remember what we spoke about, just small talk I guess to pass the time and take our minds off what was about to happen – I couldn’t really concentrate on what was being said if I’m honest.
After what felt like an age I was eventually called through by one of the porters that they were ready for me. I couldn’t help thinking that this could be the last time I would see them again.
I had to sign some forms and answered a few questions then I got into my bed and the porter wheeled me to the operating theatre. He tried to make a few jokes to take my mind off things but it didn’t really help my nerves.
This was it, now or never.

Scoliosis Surgery : A Difficult Decision…

In January 2009 I was referred to a scoliosis surgeon by the spinal specialist that had been monitoring me all these years. He could tell I was confused about what to do and suggested I had a chat with a scoliosis surgeon to see what could be achieved.
I was nervous about seeing an actual scoliosis surgeon; it made it all more real. Would I would be told I needed surgery? How would I cope with this?!
I went to see the scoliosis surgeon in April 2009. During the appointment I was told matter-of-factly that I was at risk of progression by 1-2degrees a year due to the severity of my curves.
He also said he would do the surgery if I wanted it, if not there was not much he could do apart from monitor me every 5 years.
He told me my curves measured around 83 degrees, and that they would start to affect my organs at 85 degrees.
Just to give you an idea of severity, anything of over 50degrees is classed as ‘severe’ and therefore surgery will be offered on the NHS.
After the appointment with the surgeon I was distraught.
The surgeon had confirmed my worst fears – the scoliosis is likely to progress.
At that moment I felt my world collapse, I knew that I’d have to have this surgery, be it now, in a few years or later on in life.
I just didn’t know what to do; it was one of the worst times of my life and one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. 

Do I have surgery now and risk paralysis?

Or do I have surgery later on in life and hope it wouldn’t get any worse? 

I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. It was all I thought about. I was terrified and I just didn’t know what to do for the best.

It was worse because I knew that only I could make this decision.


A stressful time
The next few months were some of the worst months of my life. I felt alone and scared and just didn’t know what to do for the best.
My way of dealing with it all and gaining some control was to get as much information on scoliosis and the surgery as I could.
I decided to join a support forum and began chatting to others with scoliosis and who had been through the surgery themselves.
It was a revelation to me. I began to feel less alone and alot happier for the first time in 9 years.
I also began to feel ‘normal’ as I saw pictures of other people’s backs – they looked just like mine!! My back was normal for someone with scoliosis – I wasn’t a freak!
I researched late into the night, read through ALOT of surgery experiences, spoke to others with the condition, read scoliosis surgery books including Scoliosis Surgery: The Definitive Patient’s Reference (3rd Edition) and this really helped me to prepare for surgery and learn all the surgical terms and techniques. If I was going to go through this I wanted to know EVERY little thing about it.
A tough decision

Eventually, after months of research, tears and stress, I decided on the surgery.

I knew that it would be difficult and a long recovery, but I knew if I didn’t go through with it, my back would continue to deteriorate with age.

I don’t think I could have made this decision with the support of others on the forum, as reading their experiences and seeing their surgery photos and how well they were doing after surgery made the whole thing seem less scary.

I guess I wanted to take back control of the one thing that had been controlling me all these years.
I just wanted to be normal.
Waiting
I ended up waiting for a whole year for the scoliosis surgery, during this time I suffered panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, heart palpitations… I was just petrified.

And the fact that I had never been in hospital before didn’t help.

I was scared of the unknown. 

My emotions were everywhere; I kept talking myself out of it, changing my mind from one day to the next, worrying whether this was the right thing to do.
My life had been put on hold whilst I waited, I felt like I couldn’t make plans or pursue the career I wanted as I just didn’t know when my surgery date would be.

I couldn’t see my future as I just didn’t know what would happen.

I knew it was highly unlikely, but I couldn’t stop worrying that something would go wrong and that I’d end up worse off than I was, maybe paralysed – how would my family and I cope?

I felt selfish for putting my family through all this stress too and would often cry myself to sleep.

During the day I went to work as normal, studied for a diploma, and tried my best to smile, enjoy myself and continue my everyday life.

I even went on a holiday to try to relax and forget about it all, but the holiday was ruined by my panic attacks and palpitations.

It was always in the back of my mind.

I just wanted this all to be over.
I concentrated on reading everything I saw about scoliosis and the surgery, getting super fit at the gym and eating healthily.

I wanted to give myself the best possible chance of a smooth operation and recovery.

The day I was actually given my surgery date I was at work, I remember shaking when I read the text from my dad telling me the date.

I stared at my phone for about 10minutes in shock – this was what I had been waiting for all these months…it was now real.

What on earth was I doing?!

My Scoliosis Journey: A Secret Struggle

After the initial diagnosis of my scoliosis at 14, I was monitored by an orthopaedic specialist over the next few years – thankfully my scoliosis didn’t get any worse.
But the psychological damage did.
You would be surprised at how much having a twisted back affects your self-esteem, especially as a teenage girl.
I felt ugly and deformed; I spent all my time in large, baggy clothes – wearing a size 12 when I was a size 8 to hide my rib hump.
I’ve lost count over the amount of times I burst into tears over how I looked.
How many times I saw my back in one of those three-way mirrors in changing rooms, or a photograph and just wanted to cry.
It’s funny; before I was told about my scoliosis I was proud of my body, now I just wanted to hide it.
I hated summer and holidays the most. I longed to be like the other girls on the beach, able to wear little vest tops and bikinis without feeling self-conscious. I was young and slim; I should have been showing off my body not hiding under baggy clothes.
Every year when I went to see the specialist I just wanted to scream out ‘please just fix my back’ but I was too scared of the risks and my parents were dead against the surgery, worried I would end up worse off.
They didn’t realise how much I suffered psychologically, how I constantly looked at other people’s backs and wished I looked like them.
I knew the curves were bad but I buried my head in the sand, I just didn’t want to deal with it so I convinced myself they would never get worse and I tried to get on with my life.  I went to university, went out clubbing, got a boyfriend, had nice holidays. I just wanted to be normal, enjoy myself for a change. 
All the while with this hanging over me – always in the back of my mind.
I didn’t tell anyone about my back, my friends at uni, not even my boyfriend. I was too ashamed.
In a way, I think this made it worse as I had no-one to talk to. I became withdrawn and unsociable. If I only I’d have had the courage to talk to my friends about it I would have felt so much better, I know this now. But sometimes it’s hard to actually admit you have a condition and deal with it.
From bad to worse…
When I was 21 the pain started.
Three years of drinking, partying, eating junk and lack of exercise whilst at university had taken its toll on my back.
I developed excruciating muscle spasms around my curves as the muscles struggled to support my curving spine. I also started to suffer from painful pins and needles and numbness in parts of my back from the curve pressing on my spinal cord.
I tried everything to get rid of the pain.
First was the NHS physio, which in my opinion was a complete waste of time. In my experience, the NHS physio’s I saw  didn’t seem to know what to do with people who have scoliosis. A few weeks of stretching exercises and I was “cured” and sent on my way, still in pain.
Determined to get rid of my pain I tried acupuncture, swimming, took Pilates classes and joined a gym in an attempt to get fit and strengthen my back. I even resorted  to paying privately for more physio, which I really couldn’t afford. 
The weekly massages from the private physio as well as the exercise helped to manage the pain, but it was always there.
For the next couple of years I was miserable, I felt deformed and was in pain.
To make matters worse I started researching scoliosis on the Internet, and was distraught at what I was reading. Scoliosis did get worse. Especially severe scoliosis like mine, in fact it could progress by 1-2 degree a year due to gravity pulling on the spine. I also read that the strain placed on the back during pregnancy and also the menopause could cause scoliosis to progress.
This was not what I had been told by the specialists I’d seen in the past, in fact, they gave me the impression that once I’d stopped growing it wouldn’t get worse.
The worst part was that I read that if it progressed so far it could have serious consequences as the twisting rib cage could push against the heart and lungs causing physical damage.
I began to read stories on forums about people with untreated scoliosis that had progressed so much they were on oxygen to help them breathe.
As you can imagine I got myself into quite a state reading about what could happen to me if my scoliosis was left to progress throughout my life.
I became depressed and felt that I had nothing to look forward to in life – either a horrific operation or let myself become more and more deformed, potentially compromising my health.
I tried to convey my worries to my parents, but it usually ended in a row, with them telling me to stop reading things on the Internet and to believe the specialists we had seen.
The more stories I read though, the more I believed that it would get worse.
These were real people, all with similar stories, discharged as teenagers only to be having surgery in their 40s after their curves had progressed during the menopause.