II Corinthians 12:9-10

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities... for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
II Corinthians 12:9-10

Friday, February 4, 2011

Get That Spine in Line!

It was a little rough those first few days in the brace. I felt like I could barely breathe that day, and I cried because it made my body red, purple, and very sore. But I was able to sleep fairly well that night, and soon it became normal to me.
Because I grew so much, I ended up going through five braces over a six-year period. After a few weeks of getting used to it, I soon thought my brace was the coolest thing ever. My friends would knock on it, it would protect me in dodge ball, and best of all, no one could tickle me. I even had my classmates and teachers sign it with a permanent marker.
All went fairly smoothly until about 7th grade. I would wake up in the middle of the night with horrible pain shooting down my hip and right leg, and over time, my thigh started going numb. We found out that I had grown out of my brace, and it was pinching the nerve in my hip. My next brace had a flattering bump over each hip. Needless to say, I didn't think wearing a brace was so cool anymore, especially since we had recently moved. I have to admit, I slacked off on wearing it like I was supposed to. But the pain eventually eased, and I was back to a regular brace after growing out of that one.
About the brace:
It goes from just below the hips to underneath the arm pits. There are a few little holes and a "window" on the left side so your body can breathe. It stays tight with three horizontal Velcro straps on the back. Getting fitted for the brace is an interesting process. I've had it done two different ways.
1) The doctor takes a bunch of measurements and then makes the brace. You try it on, and he makes the necessary adjustments. Fairly fast and easy.
2) This is the fun one. You basically feel like a giant paper mache. First, you put on a long, tight t-shirt. Then the doctor wraps you up in the goopy paper. It hardens quickly, and he cuts it open in the back and there's the mold.
When you get your brace, you have to wear the long, tight, cotton tanktops underneath it, so it won't rub your skin raw. Tip: It's better to get special ones with a flap under the left arm, because the brace extends higher on that side and tends to rub it. 
What to wear over the brace:
Around the house, things like warm-up pants and a light t-shirt were the best for me. You can get extremely hot in a brace, so the lighter, the better. Jeans are more difficult to fit over it, but it's possible.

Don't wear your favorite shirts over it. The Velcro on the straps put holes in many of my shirts.
Make it as fun as possible! Draw pictures, get a patterned brace, do whatever you want to make it more enjoyable to wear.


  1. Which method do you think makes a better fitting brace, 1) measurements or 2) paper mache? My daughter is 5 years old and has had 2 braces, both made using the measurements only method. I am thinking of requesting the paper mache method for her next brace in the hopes that it will fit her better and be more comfortable. Her main complaint is that it hurts her belly, and sometimes it does cause her to have heartburn/reflux.

    1. I think I've had 3 braces with the measurements, and 2 braces with the paper mache method. And honestly, I didn't really see a difference between the two. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to ask about doing it that way. In your daughter's case, it may be helpful.