I was diagnosed at a doctors appointment in July 2013 when I went in for a hip problem which turned out to be caused by scoliosis. I had surgery on 11th December 2014.
I found it hard to talk about my scoliosis. I was scared about the idea of having an operation. I got scared to do activities in case people saw my back, I got pain or it made my scoliosis worse. I was worried about what life would be like after scoliosis surgery. Life was not too good.
I used to be a dancer before I had the operation and I was really afraid I would have to quit as it was my only real hobby. I used to be a high jumper, gymnast and a dancer.
After a few months, I went back to dance, although never to the standard I used to be at. It really hurt my self-confidence, meaning I no longer take dance exams and often have to take terms off as my back would start hurting again. I had to quit gymnastics as my back would no longer allow me to move in the ways I used to. After a couple of years, I tried to go back, but I realised I could no longer do what I used to be able to do- it really upset me and I quit again.
I never attempted to high jump again as everyone thought it was too dangerous in case I landed on a bar and damaged my back. I used to run long distances and have managed to continue this, although my nerve damage affects it so I am no longer serious about it.
I would love to go back to gymnastics as it was my natural talent and passion. I was used to always being called 'the flexible one' so to have this ability taken away from me has really crushed my confidence. I am nervous about amusement parks and funfairs as I know that the day after I will get really bad pain and will have bruising.
I have lost a lot of confidence since having scoliosis and having the operation. Everyone thinks of me as 'delicate'. People always ask me if I am 'okay' to do something in case it affects my back when in reality, 4 years down the line and I was hoping it would barely have anything to do with my life.
The scar is quite big and obvious, people often ask about it if they are not close to me and some people feel as if they should let me know how obvious my scoliosis still is- the scar and that my shoulder blades don't lie flat, they stick out at large angles, especially if I am tired- people make fun of it.
As for the surgery itself, I am so happy with the results. I am thankful to all the doctors, surgeons and nurses that helped me to recover in time for Christmas.
Pictured to the left are my before and after X rays. I had one 60-degree curve and another 45-degree curve.
I spent lots of time in and out of appointments since I was 12. I feel like I am wasting my time and doing nothing valuable as I'm always stuck at the hospital. It is frustrating and I always feel like a victim when I want to be helping others, not being helped myself.
Having scoliosis has made me lose my confidence, as well as my bravery to do new things, its always in the back of my mind and I can't get away from it. I am so glad I have been able to help out RCASs and I really hope that it raises awareness and changes peoples lives in the future.
Help young people like Annie
Annie is one of many teenagers who go through scoliosis surgery and lose confidence in day to day life.