September Link up with A Chronic Voice

September Link Up with A Chronic Voice

Well I cannot believe it is mid September already! I really do not know where this year is going, I wish it would slow down!

So this month I have decided to participate in a link up with A Chronic Voice – a monthly get together for anyone with a chronic condition. This involves writing around 5 topics, designed to get the creative juices flowing! This month’s prompts are below, so let’s give this a go! I’ll try and link my thoughts around these words to my year so far and my scoliosis.

  1. Reconnecting
  2. Confessing
  3. Relaxing
  4. Romanticising
  5. Sharing

Reconnecting

At the back end of last year, my relationship of 13 years suddenly ended. As a result, this year has been a huge year for me, of change and personal transformation. I used the first part of this year to reconnect with my friends, but also to reconnect with myself. I think sometimes if you are in the wrong or an unhappy relationship for some time, you risk losing yourself and I think this is what happened to me over recent years.

As I relied on my ex partner a lot, I lost my independence and confidence when I was suddenly left on my own.

Fast forward to now and I’m in a really good place. I have my own flat, I have done some amazing things so far this year, both on my own and with friends and I have met lots of new friends through doing what I love – running.  In fact, I think I have met and connected with more new people in the last year than I did in the previous 13 years of my relationship, which says a lot really!

As a result, the year of re-connecting with myself and connecting with new, like minded people has made me more confident, happier and also more comfortable doing things on my own again. I am now happy to cook a meal for myself, for example, go places on my own or drive on my own to new places. These things may not sound like big things but for me, they are huge steps forward and things I really did struggle with at the start of the year.


Confessing

My confession is that I’m often too hard on myself, in life and with my running/fitness. I compare myself to others a lot – with running it’s my race and Park Run times – and sometimes it makes me feel bad. For example, there are some really fast runners in my run club and I know some incredibly fit people and it’s sometimes easy to feel like what you are doing is not good enough, or you are unfit. But what I’ve realised recently is, it’s all relative. There are people I know who don’t do any running/exercise and tell me I’m the fittest person they know, and yet I feel really unfit compared to the fast runners at my run club. These fast runners probably also feel like they are not good enough and probably compare themselves against even quicker runners or elite athletes.

What I have been trying to do is to compare myself to MYSELF and against where I used to be, as I really have improved so much. For example I now run a 5K over 10 minutes quicker than I used to and have shaved a good minute off my 5K time this year alone. It’s so easy to forget that sometimes and be too hard on yourself.

The added factor for me, is that I do have a chronic back condition and while I don’t let it stop me, it does give me certain limitations and means, although I don’t like to admit it, I do find it difficult sometimes to keep up with and train as hard as others.


Relaxing

Running is a great stress relief for me, as when I’m doing it I don’t think about much else. It sounds crazy but I find taking part in running events such as Park Run and running with my run club incredibly therapeutic and it helps me to relax and manage my anxiety. Running is known for helping with mental health and it’s certainly helped me to get through a very difficult year.

However, I do  need to learn to relax more and be proud of and happy with everything I have achieved – in life and with my running. They say the grass is always greener and I’m always stressing about everything in life, worrying about my decisions and if I’ve done/am doing the right thing. I also tend to constantly stress about the things I haven’t done, instead of all the amazing things I HAVE done.


Romanticising

I’m not sure if it’s my personality type but I am constantly romanticising about the future. I think because of my change of circumstance last year, I’m wondering what is next? I’m not tied down at the moment and there are so many options and directions I could go in. It can get a bit overwhelming sometimes. I romanticise a lot about travel and possibly moving away somewhere abroad in the future to escape the “rat race.”


Sharing

I love sharing my journey with scoliosis online via my Instagram and of course, my blog. I think it is very important for others with scoliosis to be able to connect with others with the condition, as it can feel quite isolating. I know I felt isolated and alone when I was diagnosed as a teenager and as I didn’t know what the future held for me, it was quite a scary time. I now make it my mission to share my story and hopefully everything I have achieved post surgery will inspire those who have had or may be facing scoliosis surgery.


If you’re a blogger, why not join in on this link party? Alternatively, let me know your thoughts in the comments. How would you answer these word prompts?

6 month goal review

6 month goal review

So it’s July already, which means that half the year has gone… nooooo!

It always makes me panic how fast time goes, and the fact that it is now July has got me thinking about my goals I set back in January and where I’m up to with them.

I thought I’d write a quick post to sum up what I’ve achieved in the last 6 months, and what I’d like to achieve in the next 6 months. (It’s more to cheer myself up about what I have achieved and give myself some direction for the next 6 months, rather than to brag about everything I’ve done!) I generally like to have some goals to work towards, I find I work better that way and feel more motivated.


My goals for 2018 were as follows…

RUNNING

Complete a half marathon  – DONE woohooo! I completed the Great Manchester Run Half Marathon in May, in 2hr 8mins and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I have also booked another Half Marathon for October… whoops!

Do at least 10 10K races / running events  – So far this year I have completed…

So I’m over half way with this one, on target! Unfortunately, I have had to pull out of a couple of other 10k races I had planned for June (Colshaw Hall 10K) and July (Tatton Park 10K again) because of a leg injury. This injury is completely unrelated to running but was caused by a freak accident I was in a few weeks ago. It’s annoying because it has set me back but I will not let this stop me believe you me!

Improve my running speed – target 25 mins 5K by end of the year (currently around 28mins)

Hmmm, this one is ongoing! The leg injury mentioned above has set me back which I’m annoyed at, but I plan on following a training plan for my next half marathon and trying to get quicker by mixing in intervals and hill repeats etc.

Join a running club – DONE! I’m so proud of myself for this. I joined a running club in January and it’s one of the best things I’ve done this year. Check out my blog post on Running and Mental Health to find out how much this has really helped me.

Complete  a Tough Mudder – This is booked for September… ha. We will see how I get on with this, but the next few months will see my training switching over to strength so that I have half a chance of completing this!!

Go to as many park runs as I can, including trying some different ones, with the aim of reaching 50 park runs – Well, I started the year of well but recently have been slacking on the Park Run front due to my injury. So far I have been to three different Park Runs (poor show) but I have completed 24 so almost half way to my target..!

Run 1000km in 2018 – Currently on 460km so almost half way, need to step it up in July!


FITNESS / other challenges

Focus on increasing my strength – more body pump / strength work at the gym – In progress, this will become more of a focus now my half marathon has been completed. As I now need to focus on training for Tough Mudder.

Start core classes at the gym – DONE

Start Pilates classes – finally – I have been to a few Pilates and Yoga classes this year so far but haven’t been going as regularly as I’d like.

3 peaks challenge – at least climb a few more mountains as I love Snowdon – 3 peaks challenge is booked for July… eeeek!

I have also climbed several mountains this year so far, including Hellvelyn in the Lake District and Glyder Fach and Tryfan in Wales.

I would love to do another massive personal challenge like Machu Picchu – watch this space!! Still planning something like this, although may be next year due to £££.


TRAVEL

Take at least a month off for travelling – yeah, not quite sure if this will happen yet but if it does it’s likely to be towards the end of the year / early next year.

I have been to Paris and Holland twice so far this year and I am planning a trip to Barcelona later in July.


PERSONAL

Get a tattoo – something related to scoliosis and my China Challenge would be good as a reminder of what I achieved.  Still needs to be done 🙂 But I have not forgotten…

I’d like to add another personal goal relating to growing and developing this blog further. I have lots of plans and ideas but it’s time to put these into action.

I’d like to add here that I feel like I personally have grown and changed a lot over the last 6 months. I had a tough time at the end of last year, as my long term relationship of 13 years ended.

In the past 6 months, I have moved forward physically and emotionally. I have now got my own place and am doing more fun things with my friends than I used to. I’m also now more comfortable doing things on my own, for example cooking a meal for myself, shopping for food, sorting out my car MOT or just being on my own in my flat. These things may not sound like much but for me, they are huge steps forward and I feel like I am now more comfortable with myself and more confident than I have ever been before.


So there we have it, half way through 2018. I am proud of what I have achieved so far this year and I’m excited for what’s to come in the next 6 months.

BRING IT ON! 😀

Goals 2018

January Round-Up: Goals and achievements

Well I can’t believe that January is over, in some ways, it’s felt like the longest month ever… in other ways, it’s gone super fast. I thought I’d do a quick post to round up January and summarise what I have achieved this month, as part of my overall goals for 2018.


January Round-Up: Goals and achievements

In some ways, January has been a difficult month for me. At the back end of last year, my long term relationship of 13 years ended rather suddenly and I’ve been finding it all really difficult to deal with. January was therefore somewhat of a fresh start for me. I’ve moved into my own flat and I’m now living by myself for the first time ever which was kind of scary at first, but also kind of liberating.

I’m now getting used to living alone, looking after myself and focusing on what I want to achieve. I’ve always given myself multiple goals to achieve throughout the year. I find that this helps to keeps me motivated and keeps me going, which at the moment, is more important than ever.

Anywho, I wanted to list what I have achieved in January, partly to make myself feel better that I haven’t completely wasted the month moping around…!


So what goals did I achieve in January?

I have basically thrown myself into running and achieved the following…

  • Ran a 10K race (in under an hour) – Tatton Park 10k
  • Ran a 4 mile night trail run (which was VERY challenging!)
  • Joined a running club and I’ve been 3 times so far
  • Signed up to a half marathon in May
  • Signed up to loads of 10k races and running events throughout the year
  • Ran a “virtual” 10k and got a medal for that

What’s next for February?

Well, I really need to get my ass in gear and start training properly for the half marathon, as it will likely come around fast. I also need to make sure I do more strengthening exercises at the gym, such as core classes, body pump etc to support my running. I also need to start looking after myself more, eating better to support my training and cutting down on wine… boo!

What goals did you achieve in January? Let me know in the comments below!

Louise X

Follow my blog on Bloglovin’

Follow

2018 goals

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Firstly, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year 🙂

I cannot believe that it is 2018, seriously where is the time going? I always use this time of year to set myself some goals for the year ahead as I find it really helps to motivate me.

I also look back at the previous year and reflect on what I’ve achieved. If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that 2017 was a huge year for me. In terms of my back, it’s the year I pushed myself the most by setting myself a massive personal challenge – to raise money and awareness of scoliosis by trekking the Great Wall of China. This was without a doubt the highlight of 2017 for me and it’s made me want to keep pushing. If I can do that, what else can I achieve? I believe I (and you!) can achieve anything I set my mind to.


So what else did I achieve in 2017?

I had a quick look at the goals I set myself in 2017 to see if I achieved them, they were as follows..

    • Focus on getting STRONG – I will be doing the 30 day plank challenge throughout January. I will also continue to go to Body Pump twice a week and gradually increase the amount of weights I can lift. I am determined to be strong enough to do a push up!! (Still can’t do those!)
    • Related to the above, I’m determined to get into Pilates too.
    • I really want to do a massive personal challenge of some kind and raise some money for Scoliosis Association while I’m at it (any ideas people? Let me know in the comments!)
    • I’m thinking of signing up to a 10K race or half marathon. A half marathon might be a bit much but I like to push myself 😉

So how did I do? Well, I completed the 30 day plank challenge. I continue to go to Body Pump classes and have noticed a dramatic increase in my strength. I still haven’t taken up Pilates though, this is something I intend to do this year for sure. I completed a massive personal challenge by trekking the Great Wall of China, and I managed to raise over £1,400. I completed not one 10K race, but I managed to do 4 10k races, a 5k mud run and a 5k colour run. I also completed 17 park runs.

My other goal was to focus on and grow this blog, and I’ve managed to increase my blog visits to over 5,000 a month (from pretty much zero!) in the space of a year by writing and following my blog strategy.


My goals for 2018

RUNNING

Complete a half marathon (huge challenge for me!)

Do at least 10 10K races / running events

Improve my running speed – target 25 mins 5K by end of the year (currently around 28mins)

Join a running club

Complete  a Tough Mudder

Go to as many park runs as I can, including trying some different ones, with the aim of reaching 50 park runs

Run 1000km in 2018


FITNESS / other challenges

Focus on increasing my strength – more body pump / strength work at the gym

Start core classes at the gym

Start Pilates classes – finally

3 peaks challenge – at least climb a few more mountains as I love Snowdon

I would love to do another massive personal challenge like Machu Picchu – watch this space!!


TRAVEL

Take at least a month off for travelling – I love travelling. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I feel like I’m finally at a place in my life now where I can do it and achieve my dream.


PERSONAL

Get a tattoo – something related to scoliosis and my China Challenge would be good as a reminder of what I achieved.

I’m really proud of what I have achieved with my blog in 2017 and I intend on continuing to grow it further in 2018.  I have lots of ideas and will be working on a 2018 strategy over the coming weeks but if there is any content you’d like me to include, please let me know!

Just comment below or send me a quick email. I love to hear from my readers as it really does mean a lot that people actually read it! You can also complete my quick blog survey.

Also, if you or someone you know has scoliosis and you would like to share your story or write a guest post I would love to feature it on my blog, so please get in touch 🙂 I would also love to collaborate with other bloggers in 2018 too and attend some blogger networking events.

helpformyscoliosis@hotmail.co.uk

That’s all for now,

Happy New Year!

Louise X

 

Personal Update

Personal Update: Today’s hospital appointment

Hello 🙂

I thought I’d write a quick post to update how things are with my back at the moment. Those of you who follow my blog may know that I’ve been suffering with leg numbess for a while now. I worked it out and it’s been almost a year now that I’ve had numbness down my right leg. I’m not getting any pain, it’s just numb which is weird.

I have been waiting for MONTHS now for an appointment at the hospital where I had my original scoliosis surgery (in Oswestry, Shropshire). Whilst waiting, I have had physio which to be honest was a waste of time. The physio was lovely but she didn’t really know what to do with me (a common problem). She thought it was probably a problem below my fusion (L3/L4) but without a scan of some kind, she didn’t know how to treat it.

In the meantime, I’ve been carrying on like normal doing my running, gym etc as I’m not sure what else I can do. It’s not causing any pain or stopping me from doing anything. It’s just a bit irritating really.

Anyway, today my eagerly awaited appointment arrived and I headed to Oswestry. To be honest, I was really nervous going back there. I thought it might bring back all those memories of my surgery 7 years ago. But they’ve done it all up and it looks completely different, which probably helped.

My appointment was at 2pm and, as with past appointments, I expected to be waiting hours and for it to take all afternoon. In the end, it was possibly the quickest appointment I have ever had. And after months of waiting, it was a bit of an anti-climax. The Dr I saw was nice enough (he was in my surgeon’s team – it’s rare to see the main man himself!) He asked me a few questions, asked me to do a few movements and then said I’ll need an MRI scan to find out what’s causing the issue. The whole appointment took less than 5 minutes!

He said it could be wear and tear below my fusion which can happen years after scoliosis surgery, but he said it’s odd that I have no pain. To be honest, I really think it’s wear and tear because of all the stuff I do. The problem with spinal fusion is the lower spine gets more pressure put onto it and the discs wear out quicker.  I’m really worried that this is what is causing the issue and that I’ll be told I can’t do all the exercise that I love so much. If they tell me this I’ll be really upset. I did ask him about running and he said that if it’s not causing pain then it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m just feeling a little fed up, as at the moment I’m in limbo. I’m worrying that I have caused the issue by doing too much at the gym. I suppose it’s good that they are looking into it though and all I can do is wait for the MRI scan and I’ll know more. It’s just a shame I had to wait almost a year to be told I need an MRI scan.. the damage is probably already done by now and my other fear is that the numbness will be permanent.

To be honest I didn’t think I’d be back at Oswestry again so soon after my surgery, but I guess the thing with scoliosis is that it is a chronic condition. It’s a condition that you can never really escape from, you just have to learn to live with it and even after surgery it’s not over.

I’m determined to stay positive though. If I can get through the scoliosis surgery, I can get through anything!

Louise X

Blog Survey

Help me to help you: Blog Survey

Hello everyone 🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the direction of this blog and I really want to make sure that the content I post on my blog is relevant, interesting and useful for those who read it.  As, at the end of the day, for me my readers are the most important part of this blog.

So, I have created a really short survey (it takes less than 2 minutes to complete!)

The results will help me to make sure the content I post is what you want to read 🙂

Thank you soooo much in advance,  I really appreciate your help!

Louise X

Click here to take my survey

September Link Up with A Chronic Voice

September 2017 Linkup Party with “A Chronic Voice”

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 🙂


Resisting

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.


Learning

Scoliosis Quote - Success

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.


Struggling

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).


Supporting

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…) 🙂


Changing

Scoliosis Quote - Comfort Zone

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 🙂

If you’re a blogger, why not join in on this link party? Alternatively, let me know your thoughts in the comments. How would you answer these word prompts/relate them to scoliosis?

Great Wall of China - Fundraising for Scoliosis

Fundraising for Scoliosis: Great Wall of China Trek!

I apologise for the lack of posts recently, I haven’t been able to post as much due to holidays and general life busyness. However, I thought I’d write a quick update about my next big adventure!

After the success of the British 10K, I’m continuing to fund raise for scoliosis by undertaking a MASSIVE personal challenge.

In October, I’ll be taking on a 9 day trek of the Great Wall of China in order to raise funds for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

If you are affected by scoliosis it would mean everything to me if you could sponsor me, as I’m trying to reach a target of £500. The Scoliosis Campaign Fund are only a small charity and so every penny really does make a huge difference.

All money raised goes towards helping to support people with the condition as well as funding research into the causes and treatment of scoliosis. By supporting me, you’re helping people with scoliosis now and in the future! 🙂

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so via the link below:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving


So what will I actually be doing?

I’m heading to China on 21st October to take on 9 days of trekking the famous Great Wall!

Beginning 4 hours north of Beijing, the challenge takes on a series of vigorous upwards climbs of over 10,000 relentless steps over the course of a week.

I’ll be…

-Trekking for around 4-7 hours per day, covering approximately 50kms over 5 days.
-Continually hiking up and down thousands of stairs.
-Battling the heat/cold on exposed sections of the wall.
-Trekking on un-renovated sections of the wall, with crumbling steps, shrubbery and rocks underfoot, and steep stair climbs.
-Taking on sections at height with drops at either side.
-Staying in basic lodges each night.


How do I feel?

I’m incredibly nervous, as although this is part of a group challenge, I’ll be doing this challenge by myself.

I have never travelled by myself before (without my friends/family) and so this makes me very anxious. I’m also by nature a fairly reserved person and find talking to new people difficult, so this will be scary and challenging for me on that front too.

By doing this challenge, I am totally putting myself outside of my comfort zone! But it’s something I have always wanted to do and I am sure that the experience will be good for me. Plus, I really want to do something amazing to raise awareness of scoliosis and much needed funds for the scoliosis campaign fund.


Time to train!

On a physical level, although I am fairly fit I am also worried about the physical demands of the challenge and whether my back will cope with days and days of consecutive walking uphill whilst carrying my daypack! No doubt I will be in pain while doing it but I love a challenge and I am determined to do this and prove that I can.

I’m hoping I will be fit enough as I have ran 4 10K races this year, I run several times a week and also do strength training (Body Pump classes) at the gym weekly. I’m not really used to walking uphill though and so over the next couple of months, I’ll be adapting my training to incorporate long (and hilly) walks over the weekends to prepare.

This weekend, I am going to climb mount Snowdon in Wales, which I hope will emulate the wall of China fairly well in terms of the terrain and climbing uphill for several hours. I’ll be sharing my training diaries and progress on my blog so look out for this!


That’s all for now!

I’ll be checking in soon with some more updates on this challenge including my training diaries and what I’ll be taking etc.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading,

Louise X

 

7 years post op

7 Years Post Op

Well, I can’t believe that on Saturday I will be 7 YEARS post my scoliosis surgery!!! Time really does fly.

I always feel reflective around this time as I think about what I went through and how far I’ve come.  So, to celebrate the 7 year anniversary of my titanium spine, I thought I’d write a post to sum up what life is like for me 7 years post op.


How is my back at 7 years post op?

The good parts

To be perfectly honest, in some ways my back has never felt better.

It’s taken years but I feel like now, at 7 years post op, I can do anything I put my mind to. In the early stages of my recovery, it was tough and I was restricted in many ways. I couldn’t bend/lift/twist for 3-6 months and was limited in my activities for about 12 months while my spine fused.

I gradually started going back to the gym at around 12 months post op but I could only really walk slowly on the treadmill, everything else either hurt or felt strange. As the years went on I gradually started trying new activities such as Zumba/aerobics and at first it was a struggle and my back felt stiff. I was scared about doing certain moves in case I damaged myself. But every time I managed to do something new post op it felt amazing, I felt proud and I really appreciated absolutely everything I was able to do.

Fast forward to 7 years post op and I now run several times a week. This year has been the year of running and I have completed FOUR 10K races (one was the British 10K to raise money for Scoliosis Campaign Fund). I have also started to be a bit more daring with some of the classes at the gym. I’m more confident in what I can do. I’ve realised that my back (titanium in particular!) is strong and I can do more than I used to think without damaging it.  If anything I’ve realised that it’s the muscles I need to worry about and for me, being strong and strengthening my core is now a priority. I’ve started to do Body Pump and I’m surprised at how quickly my strength has improved.

I love being active and I’ll grab any opportunity to do anything that I once thought I’d never be able to do. In October, I am taking on a huge challenge by taking on a 9 day trek of the Great Wall of China, which I’m nervous about but also really excited. I’m doing this to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund (if you fancy sponsoring me and helping those affected by scoliosis, you can do so here).


The “less good” parts

I have started to experience a few issues over the past couple of years. These could be down to me doing too much, injuries from the gym, or just general wear and tear after 7 years. I’m not sure.

One of the issues is shoulder pain and nerve pain/tingling in my shoulder. I did have this pretty bad a couple of years ago and had to have physio for it. At the time I was told it was caused by the muscle in-balances in my back (from my scoliosis) and aggravated by running. I did some strengthening exercises and started Body Pump once I felt able to, to strengthen my back and shoulders. This seems to have done the trick and my shoulder is now much better, although it does still get sore if it’s overworked and I still get nerve pain now and again in my shoulder/back.

Another issue I’ve noticed over the last year or so is leg numbness. I’m not sure what is causing this at the moment and I’m currently waiting for an appointment for it to be looked into. It doesn’t cause pain or stop me from doing anything but it’s there and it does bother me sometimes.

In the grand scheme of things though, and compared to the pain I was in prior to my surgery, I feel that these things are minor. I count myself lucky that I can do all the things I do and that I am not in more pain than I am, I know not everyone with scoliosis is as fortunate.

I would also like to add, that for me, the psychological side of having scoliosis has not gotten any easier post surgery.

Even after 7 years I still feel paranoid about my back and will avoid/feel uncomfortable in certain outfits or doing activities that expose my back (like swimming for example). My back definitely looks better than before surgery but to me, it still does not look “normal.”

As my scoliosis was severe before surgery, I still have a shoulder blade that sticks out on one side and uneven ribs. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my scoliosis and over time I have become less bothered what people think but I still feel self conscious sometimes. I can’t help it and I’m starting to think that for me, this feeling will never go away completely.

So how will I be celebrating being 7 years post op?

As my surgery anniversary falls on a Saturday, I’ll be heading to my local Park Run and running 5K of course 🙂


If you’ve had scoliosis surgery a while ago, I’d be really interested to hear how you are getting on years post surgery. Do you still feel self conscious sometimes? What kind of activities do you do? Do you get pain or experience similar issues to me?

Let me know in the comments below, or you can share your story to be featured on my blog 🙂

Bye for now,

Louise X

5 things I wish I could tell my 14 year old self about scoliosis

5 things I wish I could tell my 14 year old self about scoliosis

I will never forget the day I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I was 14 years old and until that day, had never had anything medically wrong with me. I was a normal teenager going about my life. I didn’t even know what scoliosis was.

The day I was diagnosed with scoliosis was the day my life changed forever. At 14, I thought it was the end of the world. I thought my life was over and that I’d be in a wheelchair before I was 30. I was terrified, distraught and used to cry myself to sleep each night. Back then, I kept my scoliosis a secret and didn’t tell anybody about it. I was ashamed of how my back looked and of being “different.”


So, what would I tell my 14 year old self now, 17 years later?

Having scoliosis will make you a better person

You don’t know this yet, but in a strange way, being diagnosed with scoliosis will be one of the best things that ever happens to you. Sounds weird I know. Yes, there will be tough times ahead and some days will be hard. But having scoliosis will change you for the better. It will give you drive. It will give you ambition. You will be more determined to push yourself and achieve in life. Trust me – you won’t want to let scoliosis win. I know it’s hard to believe right now, but in the future you will actually be glad you have scoliosis as it will make you who you are.


You are stronger than you think

Don’t worry – you will get through this. You may not realise this right now, but having scoliosis makes you incredibly strong and brave. You will get through the surgery and come out the other side a stronger, happier and more confident person.


You will achieve so much you never thought possible

Did you know that in the future, years after your scoliosis surgery, you will achieve so many amazing things? You will be very active and determined. Please don’t worry – having scoliosis will not stop you from doing anything you want to do. Getting through the surgery will make you want to push yourself and live life to the full. You will go on to get a masters degree, you will travel far and wide, run races, climb mountains, lift weights and have a real thirst for adventure.


Never be ashamed of your scoliosis – embrace it!

I know you hate your back right now and it sucks to be different. But please don’t be ashamed of your scoliosis – it makes you unique and gives you a story to tell. You CAN and WILL turn a negative situation into a positive one.

In the future, you won’t be ashamed anymore, in fact, you will be proud. You will not hide your condition but will publish your story online for others to see. Your experiences will help and inspire so many others with scoliosis.


It’s good to talk

I know it’s hard but you really need to talk to people about your scoliosis. It’s so easy to pretend it’s not happening but you really do need support. You need to talk with your parents. Tell your friends, they will be there for you. Talk to others who have the condition, you’ll be glad you did. Don’t keep things bottled up, it’s the worst thing you can do. In the future, you will discover hundreds of people in the same situation as you, feeling the same emotions. You will realise you are not alone and so many others have backs that look just like yours. Once you accept and embrace your scoliosis you will feel so much better, trust me.


Louise X