I always reflect on my scoliosis journey on this day—my spinal fusion anniversary. I’ve been incredibly lucky to do and accomplish so many things over the past 21 years, from running marathons to working as a Disney character to embracing my inner woman of steel and start strength training. And all with metal rods flanking my spine, invisible to the common eye unless you’re in-the-know about my story.
Every year, it truly boggles my mind that there are rods on my spine. Right now, as I type this sitting on the couch. They’re just there; straight as can be alongside my vertebrae. How crazy is that?
I wrote the poem below in late 2020—I believe it was actually late at night on my birthday, laying on the couch after one too many old fashioneds. You know the old saying, “write drunk, edit sober.” Well, this was apparently my first unofficial attempt at that. I didn’t discover this until months later while looking through the notes on my iPhone. What a fun surprise this was!
I write a lot about my scoliosis journey and the scar down my back. At some point in late 2020, I realized that I’d never seen my scar, except through a mirror’s eyes or a camera’s lens (what can I say—pandemic lockdown gave me a lot of time to think about random things). Those thoughts morphed into others—how my scar feels; the muscle pain that angers my shoulders and trapezius, occasionally my rhomboids; my unfused lower back and how susceptible it is to discomfort. You know—normal things that run through your psyche when you have too much time alone to think.
I Can’t Feel My Scar
I can’t feel my scar.
That line drawn down the center of my spine. It’s real, it’s there, it’s all mine.
I don’t feel it, can’t see it, but I know it’s there. Decorating my back, on a whim, without a care.
My scar is neutral, present without a thought or plan. But when the muscles around it anger, feel it—only I, myself, can.
Muscle pain is deeply personal, hard to describe beyond the common scale. It’s utterly tiring, intensity so strong it’ll make you wince and wail.
Scoliosis is the culprit, a curvature of the spine that’s anything but the norm. Twisting my vertebrae sideways like an “S”, creating the perfect 52-degree storm.
A spinal fusion was the answer—stainless steel rods flank my now-much-straighter spine. Here we are decades later—I run, I lift, I’m active, I’m doing just fine.
My scar is a reminder of my journey, tough as it was to go through, to endure, to heal. Every step of every day it is with me—but my beautiful scar, I cannot feel.