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When I was about 12 years old, I learned that I had scoliosis. At first, it was very scary, and at the time, I did not understand what a pivotal moment that was in my life.
My family and I talked to several different doctors, but fortunately, on the recommendation of a friend, we found the Baylor Scoliosis Center. Even though I was only 12 at the time, the Baylor Scoliosis Center treated me as if I were an adult and spoke very directly about the situation. The staff was such a blessing. They have a way of making you feel very comfortable, and that was important to me.
As I got older, my curve increased, and so did my pain level. I felt uncomfortable wearing tight-fitting clothes, because of the "rib hump" on my right side. Of course, being a girl, I always wanted to look my best, and while others may not have noticed, I felt like the whole world was watching!
Since 7th grade, I have been a student-athlete. Participating in many different sports, especially volleyball, is my passion. Having scoliosis limited my range of movement, and the pain was ever increasing. I did not want to give up the things I enjoyed the most, but enduring the pain on a daily basis and being different than the other athletes often led me to tears. Inevitably, I thought that I would have to quit.
When I was 14, I was fitted with a night brace. It was hard to get used to, but once I did, it actually helped to relieve the pain somewhat. My Mom and Dad prayed that I would not have to have the surgery. My curve continued to progress, as did the pain, so finally in the summer of 2006, I made the difficult decision to have the surgery.
Once we made up our minds, everything went really fast. The physician explained the procedure in great detail, and that made me feel much better, knowing exactly what was going to happen. Of course, I was still very scared, and I cried a lot! One of my favorite teachers, who knew I was facing the surgery, said, "If you're going to cry, cry hard and then move on!" And that's just what I did!
I had my surgery on May 15, 2006. The staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano was amazing! I loved every single person that helped me before and after my surgery. Everyone was so kind and gentle. They made me feel more like I was at home rather than in a hospital. I do remember that there was some pain after the operation, but all I can recall now is waking up and thinking, "I am so glad I did it and got it over with." Working with the staff at Baylor Rehab made all the difference in the world. I worked hard in rehab, and 82 days later I made the varsity volleyball team and started the first game.
I am pain free, my rib hump is gone and all my clothes fit just perfect! I am very active and enjoy life to the fullest. My family and I look back and it seems like a distant dream. If I had it to do over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.
One of my favorite sayings sums it all up for me ...
"Life is too short to wake up in the mornings with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it!" - Anonymous
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