Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I really hate talking about my back.

In Jr. High, I remember being both impressed and super-depressed that a kid in orchestra was literary enough to nickname me "Quasimodo".

Nobody likes being different.

My parents never wanted to talk about it or give me language to deal with it. When the school called them in to talk about possible back therapies or surgeries, their response was shame, and lecturing me on good posture. But. But...it's hard to blame them. My mom grew up having survived polio. Her right leg was withered and her foot was clubbed. Having powered through a life of self-consciousness, of COURSE she wasn't going to allow her adopted baby to whine about a little spinal pain and some teasing. Nor would they spend money trying to change how God made me.

So I looked hunched and walked a little funny and tried to stand up straighter.

When I was a vocal music major in college, my department called me in. Together, the staff had decided to add a little money onto my scholarship to pay for some physical therapy and improve my singer's posture. And while I was so touched by that gesture, I was also deeply, painfully shamed that my problem was so obvious that they had talked about it in meetings.

Whenever I've started a new yoga class, or seen a new doctor, especially related to my spine, I immediately return to feelings of shame and embarrassment: I have a problem people can see just by looking at me. Sometimes they ask about it, and I have a tough time answering in a detached way. It's like I want to blind the world rather than have them tell me they can see my problem.

It hurts. Constant, like a bad tooth, but familiar. Occasionally that bad tooth turns into a screaming nerve ending...but usually everything returns to general malaise...particularly if I do a little yoga every day.

And then...yesterday my MD suggested that I investigate breast reduction surgery to alleviate the pain.


I have had big boobs since puberty: 34DD until I had children. Post-children: 34FF - circus/porn-sized.

But even though they are big, boobs didn't give me scoliosis. However, they could have contributed to how my back deals with gravity. I'll always have a curvy spine, but possibly something as simple (ha!) as surgery could change how my back FEELS. Forever!

We'll see. I'm freaked out, but also hopeful that I may NOT be living with constant back pain.

Wish me luck!