The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Column: A letter to my spine

Grace Nguyen
“You are twisted like a candy cane and S-shaped.”

To my spine, 

I knew the angle of your sideways curve before I learned how to calculate it in math.

I have gone from frustrated to defeated for the three years of you controlling my lifeThree, maybe four, who’s counting? You made me quit volleyball. You made Sunday walks with family an unbearable thirty minutes of pain. You changed a trip to the movies to a calculated risk of whether two hours was a tolerable amount of time for me to sit still. News flash: it isn’t.

You have prevented me from enjoying my life.

You first made an appearance in seventh grade, giving me intolerable back pain. I remember sitting in English class, unable to find a way to sit that you wouldn’t react to. As expected, you threw a fit in my body, leaving me in pain once again. 

After getting diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at the age of 12, I quickly acquainted myself with getting two X-rays (no thanks to you!) at the Plano Presbyterian Hospital then walking across the street to meet with the specialist who looks at pictures of you as a career. 

That meeting is what I always dread the most. That meeting is where they always tell me the bad news that puts me on the verge of tears while not wanting to cry in public. 

Since then, the pain you bring me has only gotten worse.  

I feel awkward describing it on a numeric scale. I would say I am typically at a five or six, where the pain is so controlling, I have trouble thinking about anything else. On good days, I can sometimes distract myself from the pain, but it still resonates in the back of my mind. Bad days put me at a seven or eight. When the pain is that bad, it’s hard to concentrate, listen, think and talk.

You are twisted like a candy cane and S-shaped. I wish you didn’t affect my body image, but you do. When I look in the mirror, all I can see is what you have done to me, (and it’s a lot).

I see my left shoulder dipping below the right, so far that my shirt sleeve practically falls off. I see how my ribcage is so uneven, it looks like I am missing a right rib. I see the muscles on the left side of my back protruding far beyond the point of it being unnoticeable. That sure makes swimming a delight.

The doctors put you in a plastic back brace at the end of eighth grade, consequently putting me in a state of insecurity. That was around the time that I started growing quickly, and with my growth spurt came your rapid curving and twisting (as expected). The brace isn’t made to correct you; its purpose is to simply prevent you from getting worse. But thanks to your stubborn self, you only keep doing your thing, curving and twisting even more.

At this point, your severity has made me a candidate for surgery.

Surgery will be a scary reality for me, but at least it will put you in your place, both physically and figuratively.

My doctor describes surgery as a last resort for us, and I see that as a good thing. The thought of an invasive surgery with metal rods and screws binding you terrifies me, but having this pain for the rest of my life scares me even more. 

Over time, you’ve been placed in three new braces and forced me to go to therapy and strength training. And for all that I do for you, what do I, the one in pain, get in return? Oh, more pain. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I should be the one running the show. You live inside of my body, yet here you are, calling all the shots.

If I had to describe how I feel about our relationship now: burnt out.

I am discrediting you if I can’t force myself to recognize the few, very few ways in which you have helped me. You have made me draw closer to those who help push me along. You have taught me about patience and determination.

Above all else, I have developed a better understanding of others’ struggles, both mental and physical.

I hope that one day I can look back at this letter to you and laugh–laugh about the fact that you once controlled my life. 



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About the Contributors
Lindsey Hughes, Editor-In-Chief
Third time’s a charm, right? Well, let’s hope so because the 2021-2022 school year is the third and final year for senior Lindsey Hughes on TRL. With the inevitable senioritis already in action, Hughes hopes to skillfully perform the duties of Editor-In-Chief and keep this multi-award winning publication at its high standard. On the off chance that she isn’t in the newsroom, you could probably find Hughes playing games with her PAL, hanging in Eairheart’s room or working at Jamba. Hughes is a part of NHS and works as vice-president of COOL club. While she won’t admit it, Hughes loves the thrill of UIL journalism competitions, but her love for writing doesn’t stop there. She is working to hold a creative writing camp in hopes of sharing her love and passion with kiddos. Hughes will stop at nothing to put a smile on others’ face, whether it be through hand written letters or more popularly, brownies on “brownie friday.” With only one more year to enjoy high school, Hughes plans to make the most of it with her friends and family by her side.
Grace Nguyen, Section Editor
Fueled daily by three iced vanilla coffees, standing at 5’2”, Grace Nguyen will walk into the E103 door with no problem. Grace is entering senior year, and the only reason she is believed to have survived high school is because of the napping couch in the photography studio. During her time on staff, Grace has been to almost every football game, win or loss, and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Yes, Grace has been tackled by football players, run over by coaches, and body slammed by referees. Nonetheless, Grace will confidently walk on the field this year, bruises and all, alongside her sideline media team. Stepping outside the newsroom, which is rare, Grace enjoys playing softball, hanging out with family and friends, and finding excuses to go to every $3 Pazookie Tuesdays at BJ’s. After high school, Grace hopes to pursue a career in sports photojournalism, so watch out for her still getting run over by athletes on ESPN in the years to come. Although it’s bittersweet to leave newspaper upon graduation, Grace is thankful for all the opportunities that she’s had on staff. Through The Red Ledger, Grace created long-lasting friendships and won a lot of awards that she never imagined was possible. Grace hopes that current and future staffers will think of this national-award-winning publication the same way as she did–a second family and their home away from home.

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