Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. ~Les Brown
Walking down the halls of middle school, I did not share the same excitement as my fellow classmates while moving from our classroom to the gym for the annual scoliosis screening. Holding the evaluation form in my hand, I prayed with each step for a “positive” result. As a naive sixth grader, I felt certain that testing positive would mean that I did not have scoliosis and testing negative would mean I did. After all, scoliosis was not a positive thing in my mind. After I finished bending over, standing up straight, leaning from one side to the other for a parent volunteer, a doctor come over to run more tests. Finally, the exam finished and I returned to my classroom extremely happy that the whole ordeal was over.
That afternoon, my mom told me that the school had called about my screening results and she scheduled a doctor’s appointment for later in the week. The results indicated that I many have scoliosis. Again, I went through a series of evaluations and the doctor released the results. Every emotion ran through my head when the doctor spoke the dreaded words, “we diagnose you with scoliosis.”
Why me? Why did this have to happen to me? This is NOT fair! I just want to be like everyone else!!!
These are just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head. To be honest, these thoughts stayed with me for years. From that point on, shame drove me to keep the scoliosis a secret. Terrified of anyone knowing about my back, I feared rejection, embarrassment, and mockery. I remember one time when going on a walk with some friends, my mom told another mom about my back. I wanted to keep my scoliosis a secret from everyone – peers, friends, adults… it did not matter – this was my secret. However, as the curve of my back continued to progress, it grew increasingly difficult to hide.