Dedication: Everyone can read it
Has anyone ever almost caused your death and never apologized? Well that happened to me, and let me tell you one thing: it was absolutely devastating to learn the truth. Hi, my name is Elizabeth, and today I’ll be telling you about how my condition affected my life and how others treated me because of it.
In order to understand what’s happening, you’ll need to know a little bit about me. I live with my parents, my brother, and three birds. My mom is kindhearted while my dad doesn’t see the downsides in making difficult life decisions, and my brother is a diligent worker. I also loved dancing so much as a kid that I thought it could become my career; I’ll get into that later.
It all started in sixth grade, when everyone had to have a full body check up, but when the doctors ordered me to bend down, the look on their faces told me something was wrong.
Am I not reaching far enough?
Am I not doing what I’m supposed to do?
“Your child has scoliosis, which is a condition where there is a curve in the spine and when the spine bends to a certain degree, surgery is needed”, said the doctor, making it seem like a huge deal.
It felt like my world turned upside down because no one ever really taught me lessons such as life has obstacles, but I never thought about it much and did what the doctor had commanded me to do, which included wearing a back brace and continuing ballet (it was apparently good for my spine). The doctors also told me that the curves of my spine were 23 degrees and 35 degrees, though I kept on thinking that my spine wouldn’t bend that much, and if I did what he advised me to do, my spine would get better naturally.
Right after the check up, I told the news to my best friend whose name I’m not going to say because I’m nice. We’ve been best friends since fourth grade so of course I trusted her. However, one day when we met up at a park, we were just talking and laughing about random stuff, but she asked me the most asinine, annoying, and upsetting question.
“So when is your condition going to go away?” she asked without thinking about how I’m affected by that.
Isn’t it obvious? Duh, it’s never going to go away. LIKE HOW CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE A SNAKE LIKE SPINE AND A HUMAN WHO’S HALF TURTLE TO MAGICALLY BECOME A ROBOT LIKE SPINE?! There’s no way! Even surgeries can’t go that far!
But instead of saying that, I just shrugged and quickly changed the subject. I wanted to kick her at that point since I was practically raging on the inside, but since we were at a public park and everyone could stare, I decided not to. I also thought that friends weren’t supposed to bring up sensitive topics like that unless I’m wrong…So yeah, that caused me to trust nobody, not even my own friends!
Now let’s move onto when someone actually almost killed me. Thomas’ mom and my mom are friends, so I guess I’m his friend, too? I don’t know but one day, we had a playdate, and I brought one of my birds there since he wanted me to. However, my bird didn’t like him bit him. He screamed and cried like a cry baby, and I know I sound harsh and mean, but I’ll explain why I’m acting like this. I kept Bluey away from him to support both of them! I don’t want Thomas to experience the biting again, and he was causing Bluey too much stress by making a lot of noise and flailing his arms. Then, he threatened to tickle me if I didn’t give him Bluey!
Tickle me? Tickle ME?! Is he insane? Do you know what’s going to happen to me if you keep on tickling me?! A person with a condition like mine only gets worse with that!
“So you want me to die?” I asked in a calm voice.
“What?” he replied, confused.
So I told him all about my condition, but guess what he told me…
“Well don’t get mad at me because I didn’t know that you even had a condition.”
I got FURIOUS.
“What do you mean u didn’t know?! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE A MISALIGNMENT IN MY BODY?”
Ok if you can’t see a difference, you’re mentally blind because well… look at it this way. Take the image of a turtle shell, which is like a hump, and place it on one half of a human’s upper back. Compare that to a regular human with a straight, flat back. Boom. I wasn’t even wearing a jacket at that point so it’s even more obvious
I started screaming roasts at him and he ran upstairs to his room because he got terrified. I guess he never knew that I had so much anger and how mean I can be though that only happens when I can’t take things further anymore, and afterwards, his mom called my mom to come pick me up.
To this day, I view him as an enemy because he literally tickled me every single time we got together, which is like ending my life
Now he isn’t the only person who tickled me during the time of my growth spurt. I had other friends who did the same, so yeah, and the reason why I’m still friends with some of them is because they apologized and most importantly, they stopped tickling me.
Now remember how I loved dancing? Well, I quit after seven years of it because of my condition and the harshness of my teachers. First of all, my condition caused my back to look different from everyone else’s, but that doesn’t mean that my ballet teachers had to constantly pick on me. Seriously. I told them all about my condition, but they just didn’t treat me the same as, say, when I was in fourth grade.
“Head up, point your toes, and leg straight, Samantha!” instructed my dance teacher in a kind and encouraging voice to one of my friends.
And for me…
“Back straight, Elizabeth. Up. Back. BACK I SAID. OH MY GOSH ARE YOUR DEAF?! DANCERS MUST HAVE A STRAIGHT, FLAT BACK! WHY ARE YOU HUNCHING LIKE A GRANDMA?!” yelled my teacher.
Oh lemme ask you one thing: Are you brainless? Yeah, that’s right. You are a ballet teacher after all, so you should know what scoliosis is and who has it (or seems to have it). Gee what kind of teacher are you?
Instead of saying all that, I just stayed silent and tried to pull my shoulders back to hide my shoulder blade that’s protruding, but it was no use. I tried so hard, but it was still protruding a lot, which looks like I’m hunching.
You can imagine how much I’ve been through because I go to ballet class 6 times a week (I have to), and each class lasts for two hours. Two hours might seem short, but it’s the complete opposite when you’re constantly getting picked on by your teachers. Fun fact: I actually counted how many times I’ve gotten picked on in every class for a month before I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, and the numbers turned out to be around 20-30 times.
Now you might be wondering why I waited for a whole month instead of just quitting after that happened. Well I told my friends about me thinking of quitting for good, but they said that I was an excellent dancer so I should stay until I couldn’t take it anymore.
During that month, I even had my mom come in with me to try to talk with my teachers, but when they saw me, they immediately stammered “Oh, sorry, I’ll be late” and walked away.
Another reason why I quit ballet was because of self-consciousness. In the studio, there’s a huge mirror, so we can correct ourselves if our form isn’t right, but constantly staring at myself and then at others made me compare how I only have a curve on one side of my body. Also, all the dance moves felt different all of a sudden because the side with the curve has less muscle, so I couldn’t hold my leg up as high as the others and as high as the teachers wanted us to. I was on one of the highest levels of ballet at my studio; therefore, the expectations were set pretty high. After I officially quit ballet, I was beyond happy, and to my surprise, many of my other friends quit, too.
A year passed, and I was in eighth grade, which was when my next check up was. I thought that I might be getting a new back brace, but I got my worst fear instead: surgery.
“In sixth grade, you were 4’10, and now, you’re only 5’1,” the doctor told me, in a hopeless voice
The doctor’s words punched me as if I was the punching bag. I mean I did everything I was supposed to do, and I was practically crying.
This is why you can’t fully trust doctors. I suppose they tell you to do things, so they could get more people into surgery…That’s it. My life ends here. I’d rather die than living with metal in my body.
The doctors also told me that the reason for my surgery is because my curve is too severe, and if I don’t get surgery, I’d die. My spine is already slowly crushing my heart and is on its way to my lungs.
No. No. NOOOO! This isn’t how I wanted to live my life! Why me? This can’t be happening!
My curves of my spine progressed to 58 degrees and 65 degrees…I was about to give up on life when I still had a whole life ahead of me.
There was bedlam in my mind because of all the thoughts that were going through my head.
with all the pain that the elderly have to go through, how can I endure that with additional back pain from the surgery?
Won’t the screws eventually fall out? What will I do if they do?
If I go through the security station thing at the airport to check for any metal, and they detect some, how will I show it to them without everyone staring at me?!
It was time to decide whether I wanted to get surgery or not. My dad agreed because it only takes 8-24 hours to become “normal” again, my mom didn’t want me to, my brother was in University and was busy, and it was up to me.
Fortunately, my mom found an alternative to surgery and that was going to the chiropractic place or however you say it.
There is also something I need to tell you about my dad. My dad as you can see doesn’t see the downsides of surgery and how it could affect my entire life, and after that check up, he screamed at me for not taking swim class like my brother and why I had chosen ballet!
“I just didn’t know, okay? Besides, I hate when water gets into my ears, but at least I have great friends who taught me how to swim, so if I got thrown into the deep end of a pool, I won’t drown. On the other hand, you have no friends” I told him.
Oh my gosh, you won’t believe what he said to me after that.
“You’re such a disgrace to our family! Why can’t you be tall like your brother? Everyone in the family is tall, so you should be too!”
Then I lectured him that he shouldn’t be playing favorites, and I screamed some pretty nasty roasts at him such as “Oh, remember when you didn’t get a job because of how fat you are?” and “How are you ever going to lose weight if you keep on saying that you’re buying cookies for me, but you end up eating like 100 cookies a day for every meal?”
He stayed silent, and I did too. I was so thankful that my mom was on my side and told my dad to shut his smelly breath up.
“Your breath stinks! Ew. Do you ever brush your teeth? Look how nasty your teeth are! They’re so yellow and you have so many cavities! No wonder why the dentist doesn’t like you,” said my mom, acting like those popular girls in school.
My mom and I were laughing so hard while my dad just stayed quiet because he realized that he was outnumbered.
Oh, I almost forgot. One time when I got just one wrong on a test, my dad saw and his face showed that he was about to kill me. I was literally about to call the police at that point, but decided not to because he’s my dad. When I confronted him about all the terrible things he has done to me, he apologized, but I knew better. Actions speak louder than words, and he didn’t stop his inequality talk between my brother and I.
Anyway, my dad reluctantly agreed to the chiropractor thing, though it was only my mom who brought me there since I think my dad has had enough of me. It took awhile for me to get used to how they move my body, but the amount of improvement was fascinating to watch.
They also gave me a list of certain things I’m forbidden to do such as twisting my neck and spine because my neck is attached to my spine so they somehow affect each other, and bad posture. If I do them, my life would still be in danger as I don’t go there every day, and those would cause more damage to my heart and lungs.
Sometimes my mom would be too busy to take me there, so it would only be my dad, but that’s a problem because every time I go there, I see improvement in my spine. Then, every time I have to do a quick check up, they always ask if I have grown taller or if I’ve seen any improvements, but even though the real answer is yes, my dad always says no. To me, that’s a significant sign that he wants me to get surgery so I could be “happy” and see faster results.
I also have school, and for school you need a backpack, right? Well regular ones crush my spine, so another option would be to use a rolling backpack. Now I didn’t want to, especially in middle school with crowded halls; I had no choice.
When I went to school with my new rolling backpack, I was careful not to trip anyone, though it just sometimes happens. I can’t fully control it. Plus, I’m not allowed to twist my body, so duh it’s harder! No matter how hard I try, every single day there would be at least ten people saying things like “Oh my gosh, it’s not that hard to go through a tight space! Just frickin go already” or “Bruh why do you have a rolling backpack in middle school? So annoying…” I didn’t say anything, but my response in my head was “Do you know how hard it is to go through a tight space with a rolling backpack plus uneven hips, shoulders, ribs, a crushed heart, a severely curved spine, ugh everything?!”
Oh why can’t everyone just accept the fact that I have a rolling backpack? They’re just making me loathe school even more
It was difficult and this went on for a week or two before I actually couldn’t take it anymore. I already had my life in danger and still is and a bunch of other stress piling on top of me, so when I went home, at first, I had so much tension in my body from the urge to kick everyone who says stupid things like that I completely trashed my room. All the stress that I’ve been through such as the doctor check ups, ballet, school, family, and unthoughtful friends really got on my nerves, which gradually transformed me into a maniac from an innocent school kid. My parents didn’t mind, though unless I didn’t clean it up afterwards.
Later, I decided to write a super long post on my Instagram that might stop all this, and even though I didn’t have many followers, I didn’t care. Surprisingly, everything stopped! Finally!
This whole situation taught me many lessons such as to never judge a book by its cover, though it was others doing it to me, think before you speak or act, and to never fully trust doctors because there might be another more preferable way to “fix” you.
I’m currently working on coping with stress in more peaceful ways, so if you guys have any suggestions, feel free to share in the comment box below!
Just as a note, the intent of this isn’t to make anyone feel sympathy for me, rather it’s to share my story out into the world, and if you have been through a similar situation as me, you won’t feel alone 🙂
Thank you for reading my story!