Monday, July 20, 2009

On Your Mark.

It was scoliosis; and while it wasn't a deformity per say, I liked to making everything in my life a huge production with everything exaggerated to it's utmost potential. Yet, now looking back, it was a strategy I used to poke fun at myself and laugh on the outside when all I wanted to do was cry.

So, if my parents found out about my condition when I was seven (or six), I found out when I was nine. My parents explained it to me with a picture. They made two crude drawings of the backside of a body, on one they drew a straight line for a spine and on the other one they drew a question mark where the spine should be. They they told me that my spine was growing like the question mark. I looked at them confused as I ran my hand down my back. It didn't feel like a question mark. It felt like a straight line except for the bump half way down. That bump, my mom told me, was the question mark. They asked me if I remembered my doctor telling me to do my exercises and of course I remembered because he would tell me every year and I would do them every year. The exercises were a series of stretches I would do everyday for about two weeks, then everyday became every other, and then it became only on weekends, and then whenever I remembered. Perhaps neither I nor my parents knew how much the exercises could have helped or if my fate was inevitable. Then they drew rib cages around the spine. Around the straight spine the rib cage looked normal. On the question mark spine the rib cage was at an angle and you had to tilt your head to make it look straight. My dad told me that while my spine curved, my rib cage twisted and the more it twisted the more likely it would crush my lungs. It was then that I knew I would die. What I didn't tell my parents was I was already starting to get short of breath. I had a promising track career ahead of me, with talk of being on the track team in high school and how I had no place to go but up and if I continued to train I could compete in meets and win medals when I got older. Yet recently I was finishing in the bottom half because I'd lose my breath halfway through the race.

It never occurred to me that my speed and my deformity were two sides of the same coin. I had incredibly long legs I had for my age, but my spine could not keep up with the rapid pace that my body was developing, hence the scoliosis. It was a blessing and a curse, but it looked like the curse was going to win.


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