I recently began following a young YouTuber named Savy at her channel Savy Writes Books. The focus of her channel is writing, talking about business, and reviewing books (including business and self-help books). I started following her because she was critiquing a few popular self-help books and I appreciated her insight, candor, and understanding of the human condition that she showed through those reviews. She also talked about her business Furever Home Friends, which she started in 2017. This business produces books, plushies and other merchandise about real rescue dog stories. However, I also learned through her videos that she has Scoliosis. I quickly joined her Facebook group that supports women entrepreneurs and then reached out to her to see if she would be willing to do an interview. In her generous spirit, she was very willing, and we had a great conversation about many things – including her journey with Scoliosis.
Savy knew hardship from day one. She was, as she said, “the poor kid, with the single Mom, who was disabled and walked funny”. She was diagnosed with Scoliosis at age 11 – she had an S-curve and, although she is not sure of the degree of severity at the time, it was enough to warrant bracing through her 5th and 6th grade years. She wore a hard brace, which sounds very much like a traditional Boston brace, and she struggled with how uncomfortable she felt. Two of her main issues were the “sweatiness factor”, but also something else many young women can relate to – the “breast squish factor”. In fact, the latter was the most painful part of her bracing experience. She managed to get through those bracing years and, when she was 12, her Doctors said she was done growing and could stop bracing. Her curves were just below the surgical border, so she was able to avoid surgery. She was also able to avoid much of the psychological anguish that can accompany bracing. Or, in her words, “I’ve always been a confident person, to a fault. If I was getting bullied, I didn’t notice.” She is also a self-proclaimed attention-seeker, so if she got any comments, she was able to take them in stride. If she felt any negative emotions at the time, she said it was jealousy – jealousy that her friends all around her didn’t have to be squished into a hot, sweaty brace all day. I think that many of us can relate to that feeling!
Savy was an active teen and this continued into her time at Northwestern University, where she studied communications, with a specialty in film and creative writing (all skills that are apparent in her videos). There, she played saxophone in marching band. If you have EVER seen a large college marching band, you KNOW that this is a rigorous physical activity. Her back would hurt much more than her counterparts, but she persevered. At graduation, she decided to wear heels for the first time in several years. It would also prove to be her last time in heels. She was in excellent physical condition and thought it would be fun to express herself in that way. However, this was a major trigger for her back pain. She said that by the end of the night she was huddled under the hot shower, curled up in a ball on the shower floor, hoping for the pain to subside. This spurred her back to the Doctor, who recommended physical therapy. She did not go to a Scoliosis-specific physical therapist, but she said that it helped her immensely and has helped subsequent flare-ups ever since.
Savy is now an incredibly self-assured and happy 28-year-old. After her time in PT, she was able to complete a Masters in writing and publishing from DePaul in Chicago (her home city), and has gone on to start her business, her youtube channel, and to write several books (the newest one is coming out soon!) She has a couple key pieces of advice for those going through the difficult road of Scoliosis and bracing. The first is to remember that it is not forever. When times get hard, just remember that you can do it and it WILL eventually come to an end. This is, of course, not to be mistaken with toxic positivity, where you just try to plaster on a “happy face”. You need to acknowledge your feelings and realize that what you are going through is very hard – but that you will get through it one day at a time. The second piece of advice is to find something that brings you joy and that inspires you and return to it over and over. For her, this was watching the Back to the Future movie over and over…and over. She even proposed to her husband based on the movie – proposing with her DeLorean model on October 21, 2015, aka “Back to the Future day” (which, if you are a fan of the movie, is the time they venture to in the second film). As any Scoliosis warrior can attest, it is impossible to know what the future holds, but, for Savy, I feel like we are only going to see more great things! Please check out all her links, and share her story to support a fellow Scoliosis warrior.