Scoliosis Warrior Mille refuses to let scoliosis define her

My name is Mille and I am 17 years old. This is the story of my scoliosis journey.

When I was 13 I was diagnosed with scoliosis. The word “scoliosis” was a new word for me. At first, I thought scoliosis was a really big and scary word but in fact, it wasn’t as scary as I thought, thanks to Dr.Green who put me at ease from the first appointment.

They monitored the progression of my curve at each appointment for two years. While I knew I had scoliosis, it really didn’t affect me that much. It wasn’t really anything I considered a problem. Most of the pain I experienced was related to me being uncomfortable at night. In 2017 at a check-up for my scoliosis, the curvature in my spine had grown, making the prominence on my back more visible. I was also finding dancing more difficult.

During one of these appointments, the word surgery involving a spinal fusion was discussed. We waited roughly six months for my surgery date. I found the waiting before my surgery the hardest because I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like. I had my pre-surgery visit and I got a tour of Cappagh. I found the Pre-surgery visit to be really helpful because it was clear what was going to happen, and that I was in safe hands. I also had so many friends and family that supported me and were cheering me on from the sidelines.

The morning of my surgery felt really scary. I listened to music to distract myself but I didn’t have to wait very long. I was in the hospital for six days. Recovery was challenging but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. There were a few different things that helped me recover. I think taking the pain killers, eating well and getting up and moving really got me stronger during my recovery. It definitely took me a few months to get back to myself and my usual energy level. I have memories from taking my first steps after surgery, to seeing how many inches I had grown overnight. Seeing my back for the first time after my surgery was really weird because I no longer had prominence on my back, but I was also so happy with it. While I was recovering I took it day by day, and grew stronger.

A lot of the worries I had about recovery were not as bad as I had thought. It took me a while to get used to my scar. I had a lot of numbness in my back around my scar, but I have grown to love my scar. I don’t really notice anymore. There are many different milestones that I passed during recovery that made me so happy seeing how far I had since my surgery. My first dance class back after my surgery was hard, but the best feeling ever knowing that scoliosis had not the opportunity of dancing away from me.

On occasion, during recovery, there have been a few occasions where I needed to make contact with Cappagh with concerns regarding my recovery. It has always been a comfort to know that my questions will be answered. They have always shown great support and reassurance.

I knew of a few girls with scoliosis through social media that I had followed. One, in particular, was one of my closest friends who also had scoliosis. She was awaiting surgery at the same time as me. We both got our dates and she had her surgery a few weeks before me. It was so nice to have a friend going through the same thing. We were able to relate to each other and it helped process the whole aspect of surgery. It was also great to know someone else with scoliosis as I didn’t feel as alone.

I think scoliosis has changed my life in a few ways. Scoliosis has definitely helped me to appreciate my body. Everyone is unique in their own way. Surgery was definitely not fun but I think it moulded me into a much more resilient and mature person. I know that after going through something as big as that, I can get through anything. Two years have passed since my surgery. I am very grateful to have had a straight-forward, positive scoliosis journey. There are days where I don’t think about scoliosis. As time has gone on, I have slowly moved on. Scoliosis does not define me.