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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Apple a Day...

...doesn't always cut it. Before my surgery, I was told that I couldn't be sick the two weeks before the day of my spinal fusion. If I got sick, surgery would have to be rescheduled months later, which wouldn't have been until that summer.

And, of course, you can imagine what happened. I have always tended to catch a cold very easily. Literally a few days before the 2-week point, I came down with a cold. And they usually last at least a week with me. Well, my church and school immediately began praying about this situation that we hadn't even thought about before.

A couple days went by, and miraculously- by God's healing touch alone- I was completely over my cold. I'm pretty sure I've never gotten rid of a cold that quickly! But obviously, God wanted me to have that surgery, and He wanted us to trust Him to take care of things that we had no control of.

I did my part. I ate 10 times as much fruit and washed my hands every time I passed a sink. But ultimately, we can't control our health. But it's comforting to know that I have a loving God that does.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Scoliosis: Worst Enemy or Greatest Blessing?

There have been times that I have wondered this. It seems like anything that brings pain and suffering in life is automatically bad.

Why wouldn't scoliosis be my worst enemy? I mean, it causes pain on a daily basis. I had to wear a hunk of plastic for 6 years of my life. They had to slice my whole back open and screw permanent rods into my spine. I will never be able to bend my back again. What could possibly be good about that?

Well... Those are actually the reasons why scoliosis has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. There are really rough days, the days I am the weakest, and that is when I have felt God's strength the most. There are days when I don't know what is going to happen. My life would be drastically changed with surgery. That is when I have learned to trust Him most. There are days when normal, everyday things become difficult while recovering from surgery, and that is when I learn to be more thankful. God has used my scoliosis, a physical weakness, to strengthen me and make me more like Him.

God has also used my scoliosis to allow me to meet others. I have new friends that I've met at Shriners (including my nurses and doctors), and a ton of people I have communicated with through this blog and my video.

I have to thank everyone who has helped me through every step of the way. I have so much to thank God for... for choosing me to have scoliosis. My parents have always been there for me. Every doctor's appointment, through the whole surgery and recovery. I wasn't as thankful when my mom always told me to get my brace on, but it was because she cared enough to make me wear it.

My teachers and coaches in high school were so supportive. They would always ask about how my doctor's appointments went. They prayed for me. And here at college, where I thought I would never get to know my teachers, they actually care and pray for me. I have so many friends here who genuinely care. And I can't forget my sister, Emily, who has always been with me, either to laugh at me or to help me.

God is so good. He knew that I needed to be born with scoliosis. It's been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Growing Up with Scoliosis

I've talked a lot about having a spinal fusion and wearing a back brace, but I haven't talked about what it's like to live with scoliosis.

All I know is what it feels like to be crooked. When I was in elementary my scoliosis didn't affect me until I got my brace, which was a new experience. After elementary, I started growing faster, and my ribs started twisting and all that, but I didn't notice much, because it happened over time. So it's gradual, and you get used to it. It's all you ever know.

Thankfully, I didn't appear to be very crooked, for several reasons. For one, I have two curves that tend to balance each other out, so I don't lean very much to one side. Also, I wore a brace for about as long as I can remember, and I think that helped at least a little, despite the fact that my curves got worse. But I always felt crooked, as I still do, and that tends to bother people who like feeling symmetrical.

*Recently after getting my first brace in 5th grade

I was a normal kid who did normal kid things. I climbed trees, jumped on trampolines, played tackle football at recess, played instruments, etc. Other kids won't make fun of you if you think it's cool. Scoliosis will only stop you if you let it. And the same goes for braces and spinal fusions. I'm at college now, playing sports, pulling pranks, practicing a ton, working, 20 credits, and making all the good college memories.

I began having a lot of problems from scoliosis during my junior year of high school. Breathing became very difficult, especially during volleyball games. But there was no way that would stop me from playing. Practicing music and sitting in school became very difficult because of all the back, neck, and head pain I was experiencing.

 *My last brace after surgery in 12th grade

Over all, I would say, yes-- scoliosis can be hard- very hard, actually. It can be painful. It can be emotional. But it's also psychological. It's what you make of it. I've learned to love my scoliosis, and as a result, God gets the glory and I can enjoy life, knowing that some day I'll be with Him in heaven, a much better place!