Huffington Post Blogger: Leah LaRocco
On Women Excerpted
When I tell people I have Scoliosis I’m surprised by two things. First, by how many people do not know what it is. Second, by the number of women I know who have some form of this condition. Girls are at a much higher risk for developing this condition than boys. There is no definitive cause for Scoliosis. Studies have been done relating to many factors such as heredity, ethnicity, and age, but none have conclusively determined a cause.
My journey with Scoliosis began the day I went to the doctor following a bout with Lyme Disease at 12 years old. Thus began the part of my adolescence I prefer to forget, to sweep under the rug and pretend it never happened. As my body grew, the only option to slow their progress was for me to wear a back brace. I refer to the back brace as a modern day straight jacket for teenage girls. If you do a Google image search for “scoliosis back brace” you will be confronted with a series of pictures that depict what look like medieval torture devices. The amazing thing is that, 20 years later, the treatment options for Scoliosis remain the same: back brace or surgery.
Finding clothes to cover the edges of the brace was a near impossibility, and wearing this shell sixteen hours a day for two years was a living nightmare. Over the course of my treatment, all of the doctors I worked with were men. As puberty hit and my breasts grew, I was in constant pain from the chafing plastic. Appointments were made, humiliating measurements were taken where a man would stand, hand on chin, furrowed brow, trying to determine how to melt the plastic in such a way that would make room for my aching chest.
I share my story in hopes that it will incite a deeper understanding for parents and [physicians]. Talk about the situation to gauge where [the teenager is] emotionally. Do not remain silent and pretend the pain doesn’t exist.
About the author: Leah LaRocco is a Women You Should Know Lifestyle Contributor, living in Franklin, Tennessee and works for The Recording Academy. You can read more about Leah’s adventures in life and perspectives on people, places, and things on her personal blog Edges Like Sea Glass.