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The Beauty I See When I Look at My Scoliosis

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Life is tough, and there are constant obstacles that block our paths. But the outcome is all in how you see things. Having scoliosis makes things much harder for me but I choose to see things from a different perspective. It’s much easier to cry all day, stay in bed and live off of medications. But that is not the life I want, nor have. I have yet to have a full 24-hour day that I don’t experience pain.

Anyone who has scoliosis can tell you the smallest tasks can be difficult to manage. Getting out of bed is tough. So is sitting, standing and forget about bending over. I just had a conversation with a friend, explaining to her that eating has become pretty challenging for me. Sometimes just raising the fork up to my mouth is a lot of work on my troubled back muscles. I sometimes get in what I call a “locked” positive. It’s where I get stuck and can’t move because it’s too painful.

I can go on and on about the things that cause me pain, but you know what? I try my best to see the positive and humorous side to the dark days. I believe that to survive life, you have to learn how to smile, laugh and be positive. Laughter is my go-to medicine and fixes almost everything.

This is how I see things in my scoliosis war…

I am not ashamed of my crooked scar. It looks cool because it looks like I won a fight against a dinosaur. I am not embarrassed about my hip that sticks out, because I look better with curves. My shorter leg is getting shorter and I have to stand on my right leg to balance out. It’s just jealous it isn’t as muscular as my right leg. My swollen muscles make it easier to find the problem without touching it. My rotating ribs are too cool to stay in the same place, so they decided to go on a little journey. My hump that has been with me for years is getting bigger because it loves me so much more now and it’s trying to give my heart a big hug!

Not being able to raise my arms straight up is a reminder that sky is not the limit, since there are people in space. There are no limits when you are chasing a dream. Having numbness in my legs more often now is just their way of telling me they want to go for a run. The chronic headaches are there to remind me I’m alive.

I am not embarrassed about all the imperfections I was given. They are what make me special and strong. I don’t regret the medical decisions I have taken in the past, because had I not, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength. It wouldn’t have given me courage to chase my dreams. When I started running in races five years ago, I never imagined I would be training for the New York City Marathon. I said I will do whatever it takes to get there. It took me close to year to run one mile successfully. After that year, it took me two years to run my first half marathon. Now I am actually training for New York, and it has turned out to be an unforgettable, incredible journey. I have become a faster, stronger, better runner over the years. I have learned from mistakes, and have grown from obstacles in my way. I have to put in triple the work than a healthy runner, but I do it smiling through tears until I find something that works.

I don’t run for speed, I don’t run to prove anyone wrong. I do it because I can. I do it because it lifts my spirits and it makes me feel powerful. I run because it’s the toughest task I have taken on. I run because it’s hard. I run because it makes me smile and it makes me sweat. I run because nothing else can compare to the feeling of crossing the finish line when I have spent the last 15 years in my life stuck in bed or on crutches. I run because I am unstoppable.

I am now and will forever proudly be the Scoliosis Runner.

Follow this journey on Runner Unleashed.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s the hardest thing you deal with as someone with a chronic illness, and how do you face this? What advice and words of support would you offer someone facing the same thing? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 31, 2016
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