Today marks FOUR years since my operation. In that time I have got 3 A Levels, 1 AS Level, 1 Extended Project, Grade 7 Violin, 1/3 of a degree and countless achievements outside of education. I have had multiple jobs, am on committee for two student media outlets and have produced more print and audio content than I could possibly list. I’ve cut my hair for charity and raised £400. I’ve met Prince Harry, seen the Queen and interviewed someone from the BBC. I’ve won a writing competition, most likely to become head teacher and Best Journalist for the student magazine. I don’t even live at home full time anymore.
Of course it’s not all amazing things. I’ve gone through periods of stress, anxiety and potential depression. I lost and painfully rebuilt friendships. I’ve been homesick, I’ve had too many arguments and there’s far too much mess in my room. I eat a lot of rubbish and sometimes I probably don’t eat enough in proper meals. Sleep can be lacking and I don’t keep up with current affairs as much as I would like (so same as when I was in hospital!). Plus I keep missing Bake Off!
But, essentially today marks another year since my operation and 4 in total. In fact it’s been over 8 years since my journey with scoliosis started and I’m excited for the years to come and writing updates for 5/10/15 years post-op!
Blog posts are like buses – you spend ages waiting for one and then three come along at once (broadly speaking). It is perhaps not quite that dramatic, but having been quiet for a couple of months, it’s refreshing to have too much to write about!
Today I was just generally looking at Buzzfeed, doing various quizzes and getting quite upset at the mistreatment of pasta by some internet users, when I found a link to an article. Entitled ‘Puberty Gave Me Curves I Never Expected’, I saw a image of a spine and was quite excited to see scoliosis being discussed on a popular website. Rosalind Jana, the author, is someone I was already aware of as a scoliosis sufferer but it was still refreshing and slightly emotional to read of a story much like my own.
You can read the article below, and look forward to hearing more from me very soon!
Around a month ago, you may recall that it was International Scoliosis Awareness Day, when I posted about two special radio shows I was presenting to commemorate the occasion and raise awareness of the condition. As promised, you can listen back to both shows via the two podcasts below!
The first features an interview with SAUK representative, Anna Glendenning, and a mixture of music that helped me through my treatment and songs from 1981, when the Scoliosis Association UK was set up.
The second includes a selection of music from 1981 and information on scoliosis and related conditions.
Over a month and a half ago now, I was privileged to attend the annual Societies Ball with the Orbital Magazine. I came away with the award for Best Journalist, which really made my night and all the stress worth it. They didn’t do speeches at the awards so I thought I would create one here – one that would be much more crafted than if I had delivered it on the spot!
If things had gone my way I would not be standing here receiving this award. I started the year as Acting Comment Editor and was confident that I would be officially elected and work in an editorial capacity for the year, avoiding writing as much as possible to showcase the fantastic journalists on the team. When that didn’t work out it felt like one of the worst things in the world, but I was too committed to give up the Orbital and thrust myself into writing. I moved to the Features section but still had links to Comment and friends in The Student Workshop who wanted me to write reviews: suddenly I was writing two or three articles a month, making it a record four for January! Getting two articles featured on the cover of our most recent issue was a massive achievement and I am so grateful for that.
So on to the thank yous. Thanks firstly to Laura and Holly for giving me the award, you are too kind and it has made my night. Thanks to whoever nominated me, you are great and I am sure you deserve this award as much as me. Thanks to the section editors for loving my writing and editing it appropriately. Well done to all the other fantastic nominees, I enjoy your writing and wish there were enough awards so we could all win. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me in writing: my parents, teachers, Elly Griffiths, Holly and Laura, everyone who sent me wonderful messages after the election. And speaking of that, thanks should go to Abbie for pushing me out of the editorial seat and back into writing, and thank you for surpassing my expectations in your execution of the role. Thanks to Brianna for dealing with a 1,000 word email about the election system and chatting it through with me, I hope it has influenced good changes. And thanks to the wonderful people at Insanity for keeping me afloat when I fell apart, being in the media suite as a radio presenter certainly lessened the blow. Finally, thanks again to my Orbital family and I am so excited to spend another year with you all.
As you can probably tell, I was very grateful and happy to receive the award, made better by the fact that I went through a lot of anxiety to even make it to the ball. Firstly, we had to take a coach to get to the venue, with coaches being one of the things I hate the most. Luckily I had the lovely Holly keeping me calm, and we both shared the same fears over dress and shoe mishaps (which didn’t happen so that was all good). On making it to the hotel, the next challenge was the food: a three course meal and free wine. Although I ended up on the Orbital/Insanity/Rhubarb table with a load of people I didn’t know, it was not a big deal, I met a few people and we still got good food, including small bread. The first course was some very nice soup, the second course was guinea fowl (which was a bit rubbish but hey ho) and then they had the awards before dessert which was wonderful because I was really happy during the final course (the best course because it involved chocolate). And then there was the after party and I got home safely with trophy intact and spent the next day making pancakes and yorkshire puddings. It was great. And thanks again to Laura and Holly for the wonderful award, I really do appreciate and treasure it!
I was scrolling through Facebook and found the following Buzzfeed article about a back brace.
The girl involved had spinal fusion after a car crash where she fractured her back, and the idea of transforming it into cosplay is something I haven’t come across before. I never had to wear a brace but if I had I would have been incredibly self conscious about it, just as I was with my raised shoe. So to anyone reading who is suffering with scoliosis and the idea of a back brace, take inspiration from Maddie and make it a really cool accessory!
I seem to be on a bit of a posting streak, and I felt it was only fair to keep up the momentum with today’s post.
Today was my final show with Coastway Hospital Radio for the holidays, two hours of my favourite classical music. I have totalled ten hours on air with them over the last four weeks and it has been great fun.
My first show was an experience – they’d recently had a software issue and I narrowly avoided having to learn how to use a new playout system. I was slightly concerned when I arrived at the studio as the system looked completely different to how I was used to in the Insanity studio. After asking for help and then having to decline the helpful phone call because the mics were on, I got my head around it and two successful hours ensued (although I am glad there is no recording of my blip in the first few minutes!).
The last thing I had to get my head around was recording my shows, and that is something I have finally managed to do this week – you can listen to yesterday’s here: https://www.mixcloud.com/elizabeth-carr/coastway-show-3-4th-january/. The next one should be up in the next few days, in case you are looking for some relaxing classical music.
Today brings another article publication, this time for the news section of the Insanity Radio website, covering the building project at the local church. Ground breaking stuff!
Very grateful for it going up tonight (1. I can keep my blog post streak going, 2. I can sort of call it breaking news) so take a look. And I promise I did write it, my name is there somewhere, although undeservedly because I forgot to write it on in the first place.
You can read it here: http://insanityradio.com/news/st-johns-church-begins-second-phase-of-building-project/
In other news, this is the first blog post written entirely in, albeit simple, HTML, including the hyperlink, and my up and down keys on my keyboard are temporarily out of action. The latter is far more annoying that you would think!