Living With a Physical Disability

It’s 7th grade and everything is changing – a new school, new friends and new changes to your body. To top it off, Stephanie is not only going through these changes, but also others that sometimes make her feel like an outcast.

“I won’t let it define who I am,” Stephanie said. “I won’t let it stop me from doing what I love.”

Just like any other teenager, Stephanie has an annual physical she has to go to; what she didn’t know was that this specific appointment was going to be different. During her physical, the doctor told her to bend over and touch her toes after seeing an imbalance in her shoulders. After the doctor checked her back, she noticed that Stephanie had a curve on her back and sent her to get an X-ray. When the -rays came back it showed Stephanie had Scoliosis.

Scoliosis is medical condition that affects only two percent of the population and it causes a curve(s) on the spine that usually occurs during the ages of ten-15 years old, right before puberty. Scoliosis can happen to both male and females and usually looks like a C or S shape in the spine and can make the shoulders, rib cage, and hips look uneven. There is no specific cause for this condition, but some doctors believe it’s hereditary others believe it can be caused from carrying weight unevenly or having bad posture. There is no way to prevent or cure scoliosis, but there are ways to treat it, like using a brace or surgery.

In Stephanie’s case, she was 12 years old when she found out she had scoliosis and at first she didn’t know anyone else that had this and it made her feel like an outcast. However, she had the help and support of her family which made it better. Stephanie’s condition was not one of the worst, which means she didn’t need to wear a brace or have surgery, but the thought of surgery still terrified her since there are so many risks to it; one wrong move by the  doctor can make you paralyzed.

Later on that same year, Stephanie met a guy who also had scoliosis and for once she felt understood,like someone could finally understand what she felt and was going through. This helped her stop feeling self-conscious and embarrassed by her condition. he wasn’t alone and she saw how much worse the other guy’s condition was.

It seemed like the worst part had passed. The curve made by scoliosis usually stops growing when puberty is over and Stephanie had been cleared now, meaning there should be no more problems. She does still need to be checked once a year to make sure everything is okay.

However, the cramps that come with the condition are very painful and are expected to get worse with age. It also makes menstruation cycles really painful and sleeping on the wrong side of the bed causes horrible back, side, and neck pain that will hurt more than it would to someone that doesn’t have this condition.On top of this, Stephanie is  nervous about the future and that her condition might affect or complicate childbirth.

Doctors say Stephanie’s case was caused by the way she slept when she was little and for having the straps on her bag pack uneven. Now she just has to watch what she puts in her bag and make sure she doesn’t carry a lot of weight.

Now the only thing Stephanie wishes she could tell people that just found out about their condition is “you should try your best to keep on going because at the end of the day we can’t fix it and it shouldn’t stop you from anything you want to accomplish.”