Nov 08, 2022 / Scoliosis & Spine
Share Your Story: Learning to Love
Blog written by Abbi.
The symptoms that prompted me to seek medical attention for my scoliosis were my posture and the scoliosis screenings that were done at school. When the nurse noticed my curve, she told me it was evident and that it needed to be looked at by a doctor. I wasn't sure how urgent it was, and knowing my family and I were about to move from Austin to Dallas, we forgot about it for a while. We learned about Scottish Rite for Children when we arrived in Dallas in 2010.
It did not take long for us to realize that going to Scottish Rite was the best decision we could have made, as I was about to have a long journey.
I was a patient at Scottish Rite for about a year. Dr. Johnston is an expert in scoliosis treatment and knew exactly how to handle my condition. Following my first appointment with him, my treatment was able to start rather quickly. My curve before my first full spinal surgery was 60 degrees, even though I was only 13. It was just a matter of time before I would be put in a wheelchair. I dreaded all the doctor appointments and staying in the hospital for the majority of the day instead of being at school. I think back to it now, and thank Scottish Rite, Dr. Johnston and his staff for saving my back. They did a phenomenal job. It has taken me 11 years to realize it and to want to share about it. It was a lot of recovery and learning how to do life with the hardware in my back.
Dr. Johnston had fused my spine from my neck to my L5 vertebrae and did a wonderful job. He and his staff put four rods and six screws on each side to hold my spine in place. Ever since my first surgery, I've done a lot of physical therapy. In therapy, I learned how to put on certain shoes, learned how to pick up certain things when they drop on the floor, pace myself with working out on my own, etc. It takes a lot of patience with yourself and others throughout the journey.
After I became an adult, I needed another surgery to adjust the screws in my back. My journey may be more complicated than most, but I have learned a lot from it and am still learning. My advice to others on a similar path is to ask for help when you need it. It's very easy to want to try to do things on your own because you want to try to get to a certain place on your own. Don't. There are doctors, nurses and people around you for a reason. Use them. Communicate with them. Tell them how you're feeling. It will help you in the long run. Set goals for yourself. Write them down. It’s easier said than done because when you're in pain, you don't want to do anything. That's okay, too. That is why rest is a thing. Just use the other tools around you when you feel up to it.
Scottish Rite means many things to me. At first, for a long time, I didn't like looking at the building after my surgery. I didn't like thinking of it. It changed my life in a completely different direction. But once I really opened up, went to counseling and had friends and family as a support system around me, the game changed. Scottish Rite and my scoliosis journey made my faith grow bigger. I know I didn't have a choice but to go through that surgery because it is what my back needed, but God gave me the best doctor, hospital and staff. I am thankful for how I am and I am better off because of my faith and what Scottish Rite did for me.
Now, my favorite activities are hanging out with my family and friends. My favorite hobbies are playing the guitar and writing.