Scoliosis: New Me

By: Kiara Martin

My name is Kiara Martin and I am from Savannah, Georgia. Disfigurement to me, means being special. It means God, or whoever you believe is the creator, gave you a little extra to stand out, because she/he knew you were special.

I was born with scoliosis. Scoliosis is when the spine curves to one side. When I was a baby, I was also diagnosed with cancer on my ribs. To fix that problem, the doctors removed five of my ribs. My feelings towards my diagnosis is always changing; at the moment I am ok with it. 

Fast-forward to 2011; I had another surgery to correct the curve of my back a little more. It went well, but it caused me to develop chronic respiratory failure and thus, my lungs have become more restrictive. Living without five ribs means that when I breathe in and out, I don’t get enough oxygen in my lungs. Because of all of the other diagnoses that have spurred from my scoliosis, I am learning to just accept it and live my best life. 

If I were asked 9 years ago whether my condition was part of my identity, I would say no. Having scoliosis did not stop me from doing anything I put my mind to. I have a beautiful daughter. I completed my bachelor’s degree in social work and did that with honors, while carrying an oxygen tank. It was not easy, the tank was heavy, but I still made it to all my classes and meetings on time. I pat myself on the back every time I think about it. If I am honest, I would now say that scoliosis is part of my identity because my life is not the same and because of it, it is a little harder. 

My new diagnoses, chronic respiratory failure and lung disease have changed me. I can’t but think that when I see it on paper, it sounds scary. It has affected my daily living. I have to do everything slower, no more rushing. I have trouble just walking around my home. I wear oxygen 24/7, and without it, I cannot breathe. Stress is a BIG no-no. Things like getting dressed, taking showers, driving, and working is harder to do and it takes so much out of me. I believe that most of my family and friends don’t understand and are having a hard time adjusting to the “new me.”

When I am feeling down about my new normal I cope by listening to music; it helps me a lot. Praying helps me a lot too. I am in the process of starting a non-profit called “Moms Like Me”, to help other moms by providing support and encouragement through challenging diagnoses like mine. I want it to become an organization that helps women all over the world. I want to be remembered  as someone that encourages others to do what they aspire to do. I believe anything can be accomplished if you have faith and you try.

You can follow Kiara’s journey @moms_likeme


  • Posted by Faith Beecher on

    COURAGE & POWER! You are and have been a fighter! I love your fortitude! You have touched my life and taught me
    (teach the teacher) a lesson in willpower!
    Even though you were not allowed, medically, to ”play” tennis…you managed our team and hit balls with our players on your own terms! My heart hurt for you knowing what you wanted and not being physically able, but you have countered all of that by sheer force of will to achieve what so many who have no ailment or disability cannot! I am so proud to be a part of your journey! It is students like you that make teaching so gratifying! Love you!
    Coach Beecher

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