Patient Stories

Sydney Borchardt

My name is Sydney Borchardt and I am 13 years old.  I was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at my 10 year old well-child checkup.  I didn’t even know what scoliosis was at that time.  My parents just told me the doctors were going to monitor my back.  Six months later, we went back to the orthopedic doctor for x-rays and my curves had progressed from 18 degrees to 38 degrees.  The doctor explained that I would need to wear a back brace to keep my curves from progressing.

At the orthotics office, I was shown the boston brace.  It was big and hard and I had no idea how I would wear it 23 hours a day.  At that time, I was a little too young to understand everything and my parents kept a positive attitude and expected the same from me. My parents planned a fun outing for me the day I got my brace.  It was a fun day, but the brace was hard to adjust to.  In time, it became a part of me.  I did feel lonely at times because I didn’t know anyone else that had scoliosis.  My grandmother had scoliosis and had spinal fusion, but she passed away from cancer before my diagnosis.  Having the straps on the back of my brace made it hard because I had to always ask someone else for help to take it off and put it back on.  My best friends became experts in strapping me back into my brace.

After 1 ½ year of bracing, my parents took me to Wisconsin for some specialized chiropractic care.  The chiropractic exercises were a lot harder than brace wearing, but I was committed to do it to try and avoid spinal fusion surgery.  After 5 months of the exercises and still wearing a brace at night, my curve had progressed to 42 degrees.  After much research, my parents decided to fly us to Shriner’s Hospital for a consultation for VBT.  I was so scared to have surgery, but my parents were really upbeat and positive about the possibility of VBT.  My stomach hurts even thinking about needles. I was more scared about having needles put in than the actual surgery.

On February 16th, 2018 I had VBT at Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia with Dr. Steven Hwang.  Within two weeks, I was feeling great and I certainly did not miss wearing my brace.  I am so thankful to Shriner’s and my parents for all that they have done for me.  I have also met many girls with scoliosis through the Curvy Girls organization.  I recently became the leader of the Oklahoma Chapter of Curvy Girls.  I want other girls to know that they are not alone.  It wasn’t an easy journey, but I am thankful to everyone who has had my ‘back’.  I feel more confident about speaking about my health issues.  My 1st goal is to get scoliosis screening back in Oklahoma schools and then work on better scoliosis care here in Oklahoma.

Sydney Borchardt


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