Aya walked in to her home after school one day to a letter she had received explaining that she had scoliosis and needed to see a specialist.
The letter was a direct result of what her physical education teacher had found during a school screening.
Upon reading the letter, Aya felt her heart stop and terror quickly setting in. She immediately hopped on the computer to research what this diagnosis meant and how it might affect her going forward. Aya did not find much in the way of education on the computer or her local library. She was not able to feel a sense of relief and instead was left with more questions. She finally connected with an orthopaedic doctor who informed her of her curvature and prescribed yearly monitoring of the curve since the condition did not physically affect Aya adversely. Because there was a lack of physical pain and Aya could still compete in sports, she and her family were in a state of denial about her condition and ignored the doctor’s monitoring strategy for years.
10 years after her initial diagnosis, Aya’s spine curvature measured 64 degrees. During this period, she avoided yearly checkups, ignored growing vocal concerns, and found herself limiting her self-expression from the fashions and styles she loved. She was told that if she continued to ignore the condition, the deformity could continue to worsen and begin to affect her internal organs and future pregnancies. This vocalization convinced her she needed to address her scoliosis.
Aya reports the hardest obstacle she has ever overcome was her first day post-surgery. After the effects of anesthesia wore off she woke up feeling like “roadkill on some deserted lonely highway.” Her ability to overcome the challenges she experienced during recovery resulted in having a high threshold for pain. Consequently, Aya feels she is not afraid of anything.
Post-surgery, Aya’s confidence soared. She felt proud of her new bionic figure and felt a powerful sense that anything was possible. For the first time, she wore clothes in her actual size since she did not have to accommodate or hide her wide torso. Aya stays strong and active through yoga, Pilates, and playing tennis. She is thankful her surgery allowed her to successfully experience three pregnancies without any back pain. During these pregnancies, she was able to exercise, walk around the city, and take the subway until the day before giving birth. Aya feels the blessings of her smooth births and healthy children have amplified her life and that she could not be happier with her decision to undergo surgery.
She confesses that choosing joy isn’t always easy but knows that she has the power to set a positive intention, to stay active, and to surround herself with individuals that are supportive and uplifting. Mary Lisa hopes that her scoliosis story will provide confidence and comfort to those recently diagnosed. She shares the following advice: