Sarah & Joan

Our Patients Are Our Passion

Here at Anchor Orthotics-Prosthetics Inc, our patients are our passion. We often get letters, stories, and anecdotes from our patients about their journey with us, and we love hearing about their experiences. Here is a story from Sarah L. about her experience with Anchor Orthotics-Prosthetics Inc.

Sarah’s Story

Since the day I met her I knew that we would forever be in a “love-hate” relationship. Joan and I have known each other for about two years now. She has always been there for me, through good times and bad, keeping me strong, ever longing for that day when I will be able to be free from her grip. I made so many memories with Joan; she will be a part of me that I will never forget. Like a snake, I shed many skins; each one opens a new door of opportunity in my life. Joan was one of my skins that I have been slowly peeling away over time. Now that we have gone our separate ways I am finally free.

thoracic brace for scoliosis patientJoan of Arc is her full name, but I prefer to call her Joan. I have several nicknames for Joan, including “Bracearoo” and “Abs of Steel.” Named after my favorite saint, Joan protected me and shielded me from harm. She encouraged me to stand tall in the world, and prepared me to face any challenges that might come my way.

I wore her like a corset. She was made to my exact size; two years ago that was. She was three pounds of plastic that covered me from down at my hips to up to my breasts. She has Velcro straps in the back and a few cutouts for breathing room. Like a surfboard, she has a rainbow peace sign embedded into her paper white rosin. The peace sign is a symbol of hope; the same hope that strengthened me for the last two years. She also has bullet holes in the shape of a heart, which represents the hard times I have faced. At the same time, the formation of the heart is symbolic of all of the loving support I have had along my journey.

“You can take her off for showers, swimming, sports, exercises and dancing,” my doctor told me. Twenty hours a day, seven days a week. My two years with Joan were up-close and personal. She never gave me a break! Every night I wore her to bed and every morning when I woke she was there, wrapped around my midsection like the shell of a turtle.

“How am I going to wear this thing with clothes?” I asked my Orthotist. She told me I would simply learn to adapt and learn to get comfortable in this new skin. “As long as you don’t wear crop tops or skin tight clothes, no one will ever notice her” she told me.

I took her advice and switched up my style a bit. I started wearing my jeans under Joan, rocked the trend of flowing blouses, bell-bottom jeans, and wore tank tops with everything. She was my little secret that I could disguise any way I wanted to. Yet, I was never ashamed of her and was not hesitant to share my story with anyone who asked.

My name is Sarah. My spine is shaped just like an S. The degree of my curvature is 21, 33, and 19. I will never be perfect, but that is ok; I was never planning to be. I do not think of having scoliosis as having a disease or burdensome condition. I think of it as an adaptation to life. Although I am done wearing Joan, the memory of her is still imprinted on my heart. She held me so strong when growing through my young adolescence and has left me with the courage to face many challenges yet to come. Many obstacles will attempt to block my way on the path of life, but with the strength I have obtained from this experience, I am ready to brace myself for any challenge.

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