BLOGGER BODY IMAGE: MY SCOLIOSIS STORY

10:00 am

I thought it might be a good idea to talk about my body image and my scoliosis. Hopefully you'll find it an interesting read. I'm 5'6", a UK size 10, considerably healthy, I do not know how much I weigh as scales are banned in my house and I lost my puppy fat at the late age of 15. I always had a mental list of things I wanted to change about my appearance; my yellowish teeth, my bumpy nose, my ugly freckles, my chubby upper arms and cheeks, my slightly-overdid-it-on-the-chocolate tummy and my deathly pale legs. I was fortunate enough to have my teeth whitened after my braces were removed for my 16th birthday, over time my freckles have faded slightly but there's still a few pesky buggers, my cheekbones finally made an appearance after losing my puppy fat and as I got older my legs turned slightly less, shall we say, purple. So I'm left with my nose, arms and belly.

At some point during primary school I hurt my nose and over time I noticed the bone around the bridge becoming a bit wider. I was assured it was just part of growing up and got on with it. Then at around the age of 14, I was hit in the face with a tennis ball (thanks for that, by the way) which resulted in a bump on the bridge of my nose. This has bothered me literally every day since and you will never see a picture of me completely side-on because of it. Sometimes I catch my side profile in a mirror and literally want to burst into tears but I have to accept that there's nothing I can do about it. You're probably thinking 'err, what about a nose job?' and I wish I could, but due to my ridiculously huge phobia of needles (I don't remember exactly where it came from and why but there we go) surgery isn't exactly on the cards for me.


Picture showing the bump in my nose, taken march 2013. At least it was a good brow day.

I have never obsessed over my weight, which I would say is a rare thing amongst girls in particular my age. In a perfect world I'd have a flat stomach and toned upper arms but the fact is I'm tremendously lazy and my scoliosis prevents me from doing certain exercises such as running or anything weight-bearing. However one of my new years resolutions is to get back into yoga or pilates. Throughout my school years I noticed people counting calories of school dinners, going on fad diets to prepare for parties and some suffering terrible illnesses which I wouldn't wish on anybody. This is where I'd also like to mention that if somebody suffers from an eating disorder, it may not be down to the media alone. Eating disorders are mental illnesses which can be triggered by external influences but ultimately are chemical imbalances in the brain. No one chooses to be sick, so please don't criticise sufferers for their actions, channel that negative energy into helping with recovery. Plus retailers like Urban Outfitters selling pro-ana t-shirts (as well as ones labelled 'depression' and 'misery loves alcohol') is a disgrace.

It seems everybody has something unique to them that will always cause them body worries and mine came at the age of 17. During a dress fitting a few years ago, my mum noticed that one of my hips abnormally stuck out compared to the other, but we didn't really think much of it. A few months later I got an excrutiating pain in my left hip which led to me visiting my GP, who said it was just a random pain and recommended I take some paracetamol. Two weeks later and the pain was showing no sign of subsiding, so another doctor examined me. During the usual routine questions doctors ask you, oh gosh there are some awkward ones aren't there, we established that I have a family history of spine curvature; I remember my nan basically doubled over walking around with her zimmer frame. I was shipped off to the hospital for a million and one tests. Thank God none of them involved needles. I was scheduled for countless x-rays, nerve tests (what are they even called?), an MRI scan and I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to stand in my underwear in front of a team of doctors. Eventually, I was diagnosed with mild scoliosis, a curve in my lumbar spine of 18 degrees which means my hips, waistline and shoulders are uneven as well as my rib cage sticking out on one side more than the other. 


scoliosis, mild scoliosis, scoliosis sufferer without surgery, from front, hip sticking out, wonky uneven hips
Picture showing my scoliosis, which can be seen more from the front, taken January 2014.

I handled the news quite well and all of my friends and family were really supportive. The only scary part was when I was offered surgery, which would mean inserting metal rods into my back and taking atleast a year out of education. I was told having the surgery meant a normal posture, but a long scar down my back and the back pain would not stop, so I declined. In my case, the surgery would be purely cosmetic, but there are many scoliosis sufferers out there with much worse cases than me and apart from my silhouette and acute pain from sitting or standing for long periods of time, I'm pretty much okay. I've been offered surgery several times since and have another appointment scheduled for later on in the year where I will be offered it again and I will hopefully be discharged. Unfortunately that does not mean I'm free from scoliosis forever, it is a lifelong condition which will deteriorate over time. In October 2013 my spine worsened to a degree of approximately 26 degrees and this will increase as I get older, meaning the top half of my body will slowly slip further to my right. I don't want to look like a big letter S and I know how much pain I will have to endure when it's at it's worst, but I have to remember I'm a lot better off than most people, I do not have to wear a brace, I can manage the pain with painkillers and specialist equipment from disabled students allowance (available in the UK) who have been awesome. I'm so much more than my wonky body - by the way, I also have mismatched ears, different coloured eyes and one leg longer than the other! I've learned to dress for my body shape, joke about it and ultimately accept it.

Well done if you've managed to read all of this, it was a bit of a long one wasn't it? And I hope you've learned that every single one of us has our hang ups, something we're self conscious of and something we'd like to change. Don't tease people for how they look, they can't usually control it, and you should treat people how you would like to be treated. Stop focusing on what you dislike and every time you look in the mirror, compliment yourself on what you do like. For instance, I love my different coloured eyes so much I even named my blog after them!


You Might Also Like

17 comments

  1. I totally admire your bravery in sharing such a personal stuff of yours, thank you. I am sorry to hear about your condition but it is so great that you are positive about it.

    You are an inspiration! And great to know the story behind your blog name, great new designs too :)

    Katrina Sophia Blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is definitely one of my favourite posts of yours Allie, you've been insanely brave pinpointing the things you're self conscious about to discuss body image. I've gone through patches of being really badly self conscious about my appearance so can completely relate. I also never would have guessed you has scoliosis! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a great post. I'm so proud of you for writing this! It takes a lot of guts.
    Love you, girl!

    Melissa
    wildflwrchild.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. So inspiring and brave of you to write such a personal post, but it's amazing how much you've accepted yourself and it's a really nice message to send out and one i'm taking on board.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've followed your blog for ages but don't really know you but I am really proud of you for writing this. Hats off to you!

    www.beekle.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is extremely well written, its amazing. It was so brave of you to write this. I admire you allie. You might have made a lot of people feel better or even just one person by giving them something to relate to, so go you! I'm so proud to call you my best friend, love you <3

    Ps. The blog is looking amazing, keep up the good work girl!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing this post. In a world where anonymity breeds distrust and hatred, it's nice to know that someone not only has the courage but the confidence to put themselves out there to reach out to other people. And I'm really glad that you put that disclaimer there about eating disorders and didn't belittle those who suffer from mental illness. A lot of people could learn from someone like you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I admire you so much as you have probably guessed I kinda think of you as a role model as you have seen through twitter and me on your blog . I can't believe you managed to get the guts to do this post and it's amazing it struggle with my tummy and I am / was bullied for my eyes and weight and this post made me realise that I'm being stupid being so sensitive over those things when there are people like you who like hate so much about the selfs I have and I can't belive I'm about to say this but I have a unibrow and I hate it but I manage to think of the good things about my self like my tie die eyes :'D and I don't know but I'm so happy you posted this because it made me feel that I am lucky to not hate that much about myself and I'm like in tears because you were so brave to post this and I don't understand this comment myself but you are one of my role models <3

    ReplyDelete
  9. Much admiration for you! It's brave of you to post this and self acceptance is the best thing a girl can give herself. Much love xx Pat :)

    http://www.roseydeer.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Much admiration for you! It's brave of you to post this and self acceptance is the best thing a girl can give herself. Much love xx Pat :)

    http://www.roseydeer.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wouldn't have even noticed the difference in yours hips if you hadn't of mentioned it. I'm sorry to hear that it will get worse over time though! I hope it won't be too painful for you.

    A lot of people have wonky/bumpy noses. I have a slight bump in mine, I HATE my profile, but that's more because of my chin/neck than anything else. You'll ever see a picture of that on my blog!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com
    www.bloggerforums.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  12. I wouldn't have even noticed the difference in yours hips if you hadn't of mentioned it. I'm sorry to hear that it will get worse over time though! I hope it won't be too painful for you.

    A lot of people have wonky/bumpy noses. I have a slight bump in mine, I HATE my profile, but that's more because of my chin/neck than anything else. You'll ever see a picture of that on my blog!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com
    www.bloggerforums.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  13. YOU are amazing! And I know you didn't post this to look for sympathy but to share and help others be strong just like you are being. Love your new layout and you always look amazing. Good luck at uni x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you so much for your story! I was looking for people with lumbar scoliosis, since I have the same condition myself. I wasn't diagnosed until recently (put that down to rubbish doctors who just put me on painkillers rather than checking...) but thankfully it's not too bad. But still, to me, my rotated hips, uneven shoulders, and slightly prominent left ribs are the biggest things in the world! Despite nobody else, even my parents, ever noticing. I think I can understand you exactly. You're so strong to put up with what you do. It can be tough both mentally and physically to deal with imperfections, but you can be strong, wonderful, amazing, and oh, so, so beautiful (looking at you :P) with them. Thank you for helping me realise that. xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. I haven't gone to the doctor's but I've also noticed my right side is a little curvier than my left. I've been growing super insecure and scared I have scoliosis, and have been searching all over the web about it. Thank you for your post, this makes me feel SO, SO , SO much better.

    For a long time I've been very, very self conscious about how I'd lean to one side in my pictures and my right hip looked higher than my left or how if I wore shorts, the bottom of the right side of my shorts would look higher than the left side. I'm 19 and I don't think I can do anything to fix this, but reading this makes me feel so much better about myself, thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for posting this! I a 25 year old girl from California and I must have the same exact curve as you because I totally look the same. The pain is horrible but I also get self conscious about the way I look. Thank you for showing me that I'm not alone. I do NOT want the surgery!!! I'm going to try taking pole fitness classes to strengthen my core and hopefully even out some of the muscle imbalances since physical therapy has only made it WORSE! Thanks again. Btw, you are still GORGEOUS!

    ReplyDelete