Reflection On Experience

Greetings and Salutations fellow Scoliotics!

Life has been fairly hectic lately, with an oddly high ratio of disagreements between myself and the people in my life (more than willing to admit I am half responsible for all of them. Half. Because it takes two, you see?) So I thought today I would sit down and do some therapeutic blogging about the detrimental effects, something like scoliosis, or indeed any medical problem, can have on a person in a psychological manner.

Ignoring the many psych terms I've learned over the last three months (although I like to think my psych prof would be thrilled if I even attempted to use them) the effects of scoliosis can be summed up thusly:

They suck.

I'm also willing to suggest They stink, They're driving me mad, and the often thought of but little used Argh!

Growing up with scoliosis during the time of adolescent development gave me a fairly negative outlook to the support systems that extended beyond my family. Friends were pretty useless. That's not to say they didn't care, I think they genuinely did, but hey, when you're a teenager you're more inclined to be worried about your own crap, and perspective can often be lost. The same goes for those of us who were suffering from any medical issue during that time, whether it be in the past or going on right now.

Perspective is absolutely vital, but disappears quicker than a snow drift in Chinook country (yes, I'm Canadian.) We tend to forget that outside of our cozy homes, our suburban neighbourhoods, our war-less countries, that people exist with the clothes on their back and nothing less. Don't get me wrong, hearing 'At least it's not cancer' still drives me mad. After all, surgeons are physically moving our spines. That is they are actually taking the spine, a rather vital piece of your body, and actually moving it. Moving it. Sorry for thinking that something like that is sort of intense.

Then again, it isn't cancer. It's a double-edged sword. While they don't always know the cause of scoliosis, there is something they can do about it most of the time, if you're lucky to live in a country with public health care and surgeons with the abilities. That doesn't mean it always ends well. I'm one of the many living examples that it doesn't. But the fact that something can be done, or even attempted, is a plus. Does that mean that I want to sit quietly while people who have never experience scoliosis tell me that it could be worse? Hell no. It probably could be worse, and if it ever get to that mythically 'worse' place that I've heard so much about, they will still insist on telling me "Well, it could be worse. It could be cancer."

So what do we do? We can't exactly beat logic or perspective into a person, and manslaughter is still a crime. All we can do is continue to exist day to day with our chronic pain and pray it won't get worse. It will, that's inevitable, but while I can still live and breathe and stand, I'll do my best to keep perspective.

Don't think I'm discounting all that we've experienced. No one should be allowed to, and of course, they do. But by getting angry with the naysayers in the world who think they're doing us a favor by reminding us once again, that we don't have cancer, all we do is lose our own perspective on our situation.

We get angry because they don't understand what its like. We get angry because they're minimizing our experiences as if they're nothing. We get angry because we have to suffer and these ignorant people don't.

The fact of the matter is that medical traumas, be it scoliosis, cancer, amputations, whatever you want to put in there, all of it, has a level of trauma associated with it. And every person experiences that trauma differently. No one has any right to suggest that the experience is anything less than what it is, and yet here we are, day after day, fighting to find one person outside of our web-circle who's willing to accept that the pain, the loss of our dignity at the gloved hands of total strangers, the never ending surgeries and the miracle cures that are anything but, has come to alter us forever.

We'll never know what sort of people we might have been if scoliosis hadn't become part of us in the most literal way imaginable. Maybe I would have been a sweet girl with a pleasant disposition. Maybe I would have been a cop after all, or pursued my singing to a professional level. Maybe my whole life would be different compared to what it is now if genetics hadn't gotten in my way.

Then again, maybe I'd have been a sweet girl with a pleasant disposition, or a cop, or a pro-singer. Looking at my life as it is now, beyond scoliosis, I know and understand that my life is as it is meant to be, which is a very Zen outlook if I do say so myself.

I guess the point of this post, if I really had to sum up, is that it may suck, and we may be essentially alone in our experiences, but it's those facts that actually make us who we are today. And beyond the chronic pain, I'm pretty happy with myself.

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