Patient Stories

Helena Roberts

Diagnosed with scoliosis at age eleven, I was quite unaware of the long journey I had ahead of me. At the time, the only setback my condition presented was the necessity of wearing a back brace during sleep. I continued with my daily activities as normal and felt just as able as any other dancer in my ballet class. However, as the years progressed, the effects of my scoliosis became increasingly noticeable. Inflicted with an “S” shaped curve, I suffered from not only a peculiar looking torso, but also immense discomfort. It seemed that with every visit to the doctor, the degree of my curves worsened, and the plausibility of surgery increased significantly. I tightened the straps of my brace and prayed that I would be spared the inevitability of surgery, so that I could continue pursuing my passion for ballet.

Five years after my diagnosis, I realized that the daily back pain and constant discomfort were too great for me to not take further action. Reluctantly, I decided to undergo surgery. Considering all things, but especially aware of my love for ballet, this was not an easy decision. However, it is one that I will never regret.

Two rods and twenty-two screws later, the curves of my spine decreased considerably. Though post-op life certainly proposed a difficult challenge, I recovered nicely with the support of my family and friends. Day by day, I regained strength and worked my way up to performing daily activities again. Making sure not to bend or twist too much, I returned to school and continued on as normal. After waiting six months for my spine to properly fuse, Dr. Shufflebarger released me of any restrictions, signifying that I was finally healed enough to return to ballet.

In my battle with scoliosis, I successfully conquered my condition. Only nine months after having surgery, I performed in the ballet, Sleeping Beauty, as if I had never undergone surgery. Despite my previous doubts, I am amazed with my current levels of mobility and flexibility. Additionally, I gained about two inches in height and near perfect posture after the procedure. Having surgery was undeniably the right decision for me. Today, still less than a year after surgery, I rarely experience any back pain and continue to grow stronger every day.


Read more patient stories like this from around the world.

Post a comment