Emotionally it was draining, constantly feeling like I couldn’t do stuff, missing activities, missing school. I had appointments every six months. At one of these, in 2014, when I was 12, I was told to throw the brace away, that it was no good for me anymore and that I would just have to go for the operation. I was told I was now on the surgery waiting list.
We had known I would need surgery from the start so I was prepared for getting the news. But then we just waited to hear when I would actually have the surgery. I was always thinking “maybe it will be this month”, but it never was. That was so frustrating. My parents were annoyed as well, they felt that there was no forward planning; all along, the hospital knew I would have surgery but they waited until it became critical before putting me on the surgery waiting list.”
In the hospital, they would use the word deformity in front of me a lot. I know that’s what it is, but when you’re 13 or 14, it’s not nice to have adults talk like that and say things like “your deformity has got significantly worse” right in front of you. The consultant was good at talking to me and explaining, but he wasn’t always available when we went up, so we wouldn’t always see him; when we didn’t it wasn’t always as easy for me, it could be very formal and ‘doctory’, and, ironically, I felt a bit out of place in a children’s hospital!
I was told in February 2015 that I was going to have my operation and the date was set for March. Because my curve was so bad by that point I was going to need two surgeries. Initially I just thought it would end up being another “it’ll happen next month” thing but as the date came closer we started to feel like it was actually going to happen this time.