When I was a kid pretending to be an old person I’d bend over, put my hand on my back, and complain, “Oh my aching back.”
Thirty-seven years ago, when I was sixteen-years-old, I was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis and underwent surgery to insert a Harrington rod in my back to prevent the curvature of my spine from worsening and to correct it as much as possibly.
I was delighted with the outcome of the surgery. My back was straightened to the point that I allowed myself to stop hiding underneath over sized clothes. I had a body I could learn to love. Yes, I can still be classified as a “twisted sisters” but for the past thirty-seven years this ol’ back of mine has held up pretty well and I’ve not had a moment of pain–well other than ordinary aches and pains from overuse now and then.
For the past six weeks or so I’ve been struggling. Pain has awakened me when I turn over at night. Mornings have been difficult due to pain and reduced mobility first thing in the morning. I’ve been conscious of my back almost every waking moment.
Being the curious sort of woman I am I decided to research the long-term prognosis for someone with scoliosis who had Harrington rod surgery many years ago. (The surgery is rarely performed anymore.) I was surprised to find thirty-seven years free from pain is not the norm and my doctor confirmed that when I saw him yesterday.
I don’t know what the long-term prognosis will be. I’m hoping that the current course of treatment we’re trying will put me back in the land of being free from pain. But even if I’m faced with dealing with ongoing chronic pain in my back I’ll still consider myself blessed. Thirty-seven years being free from pain is a gift I’ve been given.
The longer I live, the more convinced I am that perception is reality and we have the ability, to a large extent, to influence our experience of life by the choices we make and the attitudes we carry.
What do you think? Can an attitude of gratitude and looking for the silver lining change our lives?
(By the way, you can learn more about scoliosis at the National Scoliosis Foundation.)