Decisions, decisions…

I’ve been thinking again about getting a spinal fusion reversal surgery. Earlier this year I posted about how I was looking into the surgery, but I later decided against it because I felt my reasonings were too “cosmetic.” I was struggling with major self esteem issues earlier this year, around March and April, and I thought by deciding against the surgery and relearning to love myself regardless, that that would make me feel better…and it did. My confidence is back, my self esteem is back, and no matter what, I’ll always love and accept myself. But my body/scoliosis will always be my biggest insecurity. I’ll always would rather have the body of a normal person, and the fact that this is a medical issue, and medical advances have come SO far since I had the my surgery almost seven years ago, I feel like it is justifiable to want to improve it more uptodate on technology’s standards. Also, having a straighter spine may affect me positively in the future…with the way my spine is now, carrying a baby for nine months and being pregnant could REALLY take a toll on my back…the surgery could make it more possible to have a better, more comfortable pregnancy. I don’t plan on having a baby anytime soon, but I do most definitely want to get married and have children someday, and it is important to me to carry my own children and have a normal/healthy pregnancy, and the surgery could definitely make that more possible. In the back of my mind, I still wonder, though, is this too much like plastic surgery? I’m super against the idea of ever getting plastic surgery…so by getting this, am I a hypocrite? I mean, it’s not plastic surgery…it’s for scoliosis…a medical condition. But I don’t suffer from pain, and I live a pretty normal life, but I’d really love to have normal body and fix my spine, so really, I’m basically doing it for my appearance. But at the same time, it does make sense to want to medically improve my spine with technology’s advances. I don’t know what to do…

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Let’s talk body image…

Despite the fact I consider myself a confident person, and that I’ve never cared about what people think of me, I’ve always struggled with body image issues. They come and go, and some days are better than others, but it’s always been something that’s bothered me. Because I was born with pretty severe scoliosis, my body has never exactly been the most “normal” looking, so to speak.  My torso is super short, making me super short; I’m disproportionate;  and it’s kind of “deformed” looking. Not to mention I’m super thin and I have no curves, and yeah, I feel like a little girl. There’s nothing “womanly” about my body and I feel like I’m an almost 22 year old woman, trapped inside the body of a nine year old little girl. And I hate that. I still think highly of myself, and I still love myself, and I still have many other things about myself that I’m super secure and confident in, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have insecurities, too.

A while back, I posted about possibly getting another back surgery to possibly fix my scoliosis and straighten out my back further, making it more proportional, me taller, and maybe giving me some sort of figure. I started my research and started looking for doctors who could do the surgery and who had high success rates. But the surgery would be a VERY risky one, and I started thinking…is it really worth going through all that, and worth the possible risk of paralyzation just to look better? Is this really any different than plastic surgery? I mean, my scoliosis really causes no medial threats, and I don’t suffer from any pain…so really, in my mind, it was no different that plastic surgery. Why put myself through all of that just to look better? It’s kind of silly, really. I’ve ever been an advocate for plastic surgery, and although technically this wouldn’t be plastic surgery, in my case, it would be done for cosmetic only purposes and I didn’t feel okay about that.

Why can’t I just accept myself for the way I am? I’ve lived my life happily for almost 22 years like this…and this is who I am. This is me. I don’t need surgery to feel better about myself. I don’t need to put myself through pain and a huge risk just to simply feel attractive. It’s stupid. This is me, and this is who I am, and I need to embrace that. Everyone has insecurities  and everyone struggles with body image, but you shouldn’t change what you’re born with because it’s obviously that way for a reason. Am I saying that I suddenly love my body? No, because honestly, I don’t. But I accept it and I’m going to embrace it because this is who I am, and I should be proud of that.

Getting Surgery?!

There’s been something that I’ve really been considering lately, and I’m beginning to become very set on. I was born with pretty severe scoliosis; I have two curves, so my spine makes an “S” shape. At it’s worse, my spine was at about an 80 degree at the bottom and a 70 at the top. I wore a back brace for about ten years, and I received two surgeries to correct it. My first surgery was when I was 13. They put in a temporary rod in my spine, along with some pins. When I was 15 I received my second surgery where they put in two new, permanent rods in my spine, with 26 pins. I also received spinal fusion. After that surgery my curves improved by 10 degrees, so I now have a 70 degree at the bottom and a 60 at the top, and while that’s some  improvement, it’s not really much, and quite frankly, I’d really like it to be better. My body is still uneven, disproportional, and lopsided, and although I don’t suffer from pain, it’s still really not something I’m happy with. I’ve heard of cases where doctors have improved patents’ spines from 60 degree curves to  30 degree curves! That REALLY sparked my interest; if I could improve my spine by 30 degrees, I would be INSANELY happy! I could go from a 60/70 to a 30/40! I know people who have 30 degree curves and you can hardly tell they even have scoliosis! This sounds extremely appealing to me and having only a 30 degree curve is a dream come true for me.

However, because my spine is already fused, I thought the possibility of correcting my spine even more was impossible and that it was just a dream I needed to put to rest. I’ve been actually researching to see if it maybe it is possible…and turns out it is! They would have to do what is called a fusion revision, and it is a little bit more risky than the first two surgeries. My chances of coming out of surgery paralyzed are a bit higher, but if I can straighten out my spine, it’s almost a risk I’m willing to take. That’s how bad I want this. I still don’t know for sure if it’s possible but I want to meet with a few different doctors, get some x-rays and see what they say, and if I’m cleared to get this fusion revision and the doctor thinks he can improve my spine even more, I think I’m definitely going to take the surgery. Of course, it may be a little bitter sweet, as  my scoliosis has always been a part of me, and things like being extremely short due to my curve, and being able to touch my knees without even bending over because of my short torso and long arms, are kind of like my “trademarks” in a way. They’re little things I’ve learned to love about myself, and of course after the surgery, if it’s successful, I’ll gain quite a few inches and my torso would be longer, so my arms will no longer reach my kneecaps. lol. I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself and always have made light of my imperfections due to scoliosis…and although I do dislike them, part of me does love them because they are a part of me. But still, I’ve always wanted this. I’ve always wanted to feel comfortable in my own body. Now I know this is a bit contradictory, and hypocritical of my last post…but technically this is a medical condition. This should have been fixed years, and years ago. Let’s just say I haven’t had the best luck with doctors. My back should have never even gotten this bad if the correct treatments were given when I was young. I don’t hate my body because of it…am I unsatisfied with it? Yes. But I don’t hate myself because of it. I don’t feel sorry for myself. And I’m not doing this surgery because I’m seeking happiness. I am happy exactly the way I am. I just want to fix my back as much as possible, and maybe make myself a little more proportional. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I wan’t this to work out so badly and the only thing I can really do is hope and pray that it does. If it doesn’t work out, though, and I can’t get the surgery, I’m not going to cry about it…I’ll be a little bummed, but I’ll just accept the fact that it isn’t meant to be and go on with my life. No big deal. I just have to trust that everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. We’ll see where this goes for me, but I’m extremely excited and I cannot wait! :))

–Jenn.