Francesca Towers straightens up

Imagine having incredible pain whenever you walk, run, sit or do anything. Imagine getting the opportunity to have the pain erased from your life just through one operation. Sophomore Francesca Towers agreed to this chance of a lifetime when she decided to have surgery that would change her life forever. An added benefit was the 3-1/2 inch growth spurt that she would experience practically overnight.

After discovering that she had scoliosis two and a half years ago, Towers researched surgeries to straighten her back. The stories about other patients’ successes with this surgery convinced her to receive surgery as she wanted the freedom that came along with having a straight back.

“When I was about to go into surgery, I was excited and ready to go– no nervousness or panic,” Towers said. “I knew what I wanted, and I was determined to get it over with.”

This surgery transformed Towers’ life with the help of her main supporters: her doctors, family and close friends. These are the people who didn’t pretend to empathize with her or try to know the pain she was feeling. She was prepared to make her own choice for her health, and she didn’t listen to the people who questioned her decision to go through with such an elaborate surgery.

“The best part is not having the pain like I did before, all sorts of pain caused by my spine,” Towers said. “The second best part is running my hands down my back and feeling how straight it is.”

The surgery alone came with its own struggles. The doctors corrected her spine so it was completely straight, but when the procedure was over, neither of her legs moved. As a result, the doctors had to operate a second time. But following the second operation, only one of her legs worked. In the end, she had a third surgery, and finally, she was able to walk on both legs.

Towers’ road to recovery is rocky, but she is prepared for what lies ahead. After the procedure, she needed to relearn most things that we take for granted, such as walking and standing.

“The first time I stood up with a straight back, it hurt and it was scary,” Towers said. “The nurses kept saying my legs were strong, but I felt so weak. But after a few days, I was doing a little more therapy, and once I started walking, I could really feel the instrumentation holding me straight.”

Towers’ souvenir from this experience is a battle scar that runs from the base of her neck to the bottom of her spine. Although she couldn’t be happier with her new life, Towers has had to sacrifice in order to fully recover. She has to be careful not to bend her back during this recovery period and can’t attend school for three months. She is working with a hospital tutor on her schoolwork while she is recuperating.

“[The surgery] was so worth it,” Towers said. “I feel like I can start living my life better, pain free. I am happier now.”