Marnie 's Story

For a very long time I hated my body. I felt deformed and if I showed any part of my spine people would recoil at the ghastliness of it. I have Scoliosis, a condition which causes the spine to curve. Many people are affected by this, but unfortunately the degree of curvature I had needed to be corrected by surgery, not once, but twice.

I remember going to our family doctor with the flu. He had examined me and then asked if there were any other problems. I had said that my back was aching and he asked to look at it. From then on my life changed dramatically. Within a month or two I was having surgery. It was a whirlwind of specialist appointments, scans, blood donations and tears. I was twelve and had no idea what I was in for.

It took almost a year to recover. I had to take things very slowly. Standing came after a month, sitting after about seven months and the plaster lasted for about nine months (through the summer) – in various sizes. The first was from my chin down to my thighs, the second looked like a singlet and finally, one that looked like a bustier. It was hard, but I got through it with the love and support of my friends and family.

Everything was going well. I had started to go back to school and be a normal teenager again. This didn't last for very long. Something just wasn't quite right. Back to my family doctor, a referral to a new surgeon and numerous x-rays later………..

I remember walking into the surgeon's office and sitting down with my folks. He looked at me and then very gently placed a box of tissues in front of me. My worst fears had come true; I had to have more surgery. Only this time I knew about the drips, tubes and pain, the lonely nights in hospital and the length of recovery. How would I manage to get through it….again???

I didn't have a choice; the surgery was necessary because my heart and lungs would have slowly been crushed.

I will always remember the gentle caring nurses in intensive care and the ward at Rachel Forster Hospital. Always there to comfort me through the bad times and to share with me the good times….and chocolates.

I can never thank my family and my friends, especially my best friend, enough. Without their encouragement and strength, I don't think I would have made such a good recovery.

Many years have passed since those trying times. Medical technology has changed so much since my surgery. Sometimes when I think about what I missed out on and what I can never do I feel depressed, but I think that these experiences have made me who I am. I believe that everything happens for a reason.

Someone I love dearly made me see that my scars aren't something to be hidden and ashamed of; they are a mark of strength, character and courage. Now I don't feel awkward and uncomfortable if my scars can be seen. They are part of me, they have made me who I am, and you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.