My Life After Spinal Surgery

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The engine of the rickety ferry rumbled as we plowed through the sparkling cobalt water. It was a scorching August mid-morning, one of those summer days you had to be by the water, if not in it. My family and I were on the ferry to Block Island. The engine rumbled again and I felt the steady vibration rise through my spine. I sat up straighter to prevent the direct connection of the engine's oscillation from flowing through my seat to my back. My mother looked over nervously.

"Are you all right, honey?" she asked.

"I'm fine, Mom, really."

"I knew we shouldn't have taken you on the ferry only two months after the surgery," she remarked, using her windbreaker to cushion my aching back. I laid
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I don't care what they think. But as much as I tried to smile reassuringly at my now ever-nervous mother, I knew that my perfect summer day was ruined.

The start of school brought many agonizing moments. I learned firsthand the cruelty of my peers. I needed to use the elevator and have my books carried. I remember having few friends those first months, yet everyone noticed me. I was known as "Brace Girl" and was constantly badgered with questions like: "Is that a bulletproof vest?" "Why do you wear that?"

I got to the point that when someone even cast a questioning glance in my direction I would immediately rattle off, "It's a brace, I had surgery for scoliosis."

My brace has been off for ten months now. I have tons of friends, but it saddens me to think that many didn't even try to get to know me when I had my brace.

Instead of being bitter about the whole thing, I try to look at it another way. Because of my experience, now I try to include everyone and reach out to others no matter what they look like. Also, I now believe that, with the right attitude, you can overcome anything. I have developed more of a "I don't care what you think of me" attitude and can now officially categorize myself as a leader.

I know who I am now, and appearance has nothing to do with it, although I am happy I can wear the shirts I like again. I am planning on joining the swim team even though

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