This Week's Teen Flaunt: Courtney Has Spina Bifida Occulta
Ever since birth, Courtney Spurlock has been a fighter. In this week's Teen Flaunt, she reflects on all that she's had to overcome in her 17 years. It started when she was born premature and had to fight to live. Then at age 7, she began losing feeling in her legs. It took doctors a year and a half to realize she had a tethered cord in her back. On top of that, doctors discovered she has Spina Bifida Occulta, meaning a split spine.
Luckily, Courtney says her Spina Bifida Occulta is mild, and could be much worse. After having surgery to fix the tethered cord, she was told there's only a 1-2 percent chance of the tethered cord returning. But sure enough, 8 years later, she had chronic back pain and headaches—it was back. This meant she needed to have another surgery. Tallying up her medical history, Courtney writes, "So now I have Spina Bifida Occulta, two herniated disks in my lower back, and two scars on my lower back."
Despite these major setbacks, she doesn't let them get in the way of living her life. She still loves sports, including gymnastics. Even though she still feels pain, she hasn't given up. She writes,
I was determined to come back to gymnastics after my surgery because not only is it my whole life, but also I realized while I was out, I can't go one day without thinking about or doing gymnastics. Yes, gymnastics is very demanding, especially on your back, but I have learned so much through doing it and cannot imagine going another day without it. My time must end soon with gymnastics, so even if I get a little pain while doing it, I push through and enjoy every moment, so when I can't do it any more, I will know I spent my time the best I could.
Because of her medical experiences, Courtney has learned to not take anything for granted. She's proud of her scars and loves sharing the story behind them. This is because they're a reminder of her strength and proof that she'll never stop fighting.
To read the rest of Courtney's courageous essay, head over to the Teen Flaunt site.
For more Teen Flaunts that we love, check out these stories:
- Caroline, 17, has scoliosis
- Nick, 17, embraces his body size
- Jack, 17, lost his uncle to mental illness
If you would like to have your teenager or student (age 13-18) write a “Teen Flaunt” that could potentially be published on the Teen Flaunt page, please submit the proposed essay (no longer than 700 words) to: email@example.com.
P.S. Did you know there’s a health and well-being magazine for teens that features inspiring stories every month? Learn more about Choices here, and check out our past pieces about Ashlyn, who feels no pain, and Georgia, who was born deaf.