Natalie Yosten

Natalie Yosten

Brittany Hinkel, Editor/Cartoonist

Natalie Yosten is a student at Northeast Community College. She is attending art classes and working to receive her degree in graphic design.

Just like any other college student, Yosten has many obstacles in her life: between managing class times, and her young daughter scheming to take her art supplies.

Yet, the burdens that she is inclined to carry are very unique due to two things, or rather, conditions: she has both Shingles and Scoliosis.

According to, shingles is a virus that is also known for causing chicken pox. The chicken pox virus lies dormant in the body and can resurface as shingles.

Like chicken pox, shingles involves rashes and is contagious.

However, it does have another side-effect that makes it much more viscous. Along with the rash comes a pain that is described as “shooting” through the muscle and tissue of the area of the rash.

While shingles isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can be very painful.

“It starts kind of like a red rash, and then I’ll get a shooting pain,” Yosten said, “It is usually shooting into the back and chest near the ribs”

Yosten explains that it is hard to sit in class and concentrate when the shingles is causing her pain.

“It’s not as severe as MS, but it is still pain.”

Shingles can take up to 6 months to go away, depending on how severe the case is.

On top of that, Yosten also has scoliosis. According to,, scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve in the spine.

She was diagnosed with it when she was 25. Unfortunately, it is harder to correct scoliosis after age 24 because the bones have developed and matured and have become less pliable.

Since the bones are too developed to use braces, the only other alternative would be surgery. According to, scoliosis surgery usually involves joining the vertebrae together permanently, a process called spinal fusion.

Her condition is not severe enough to be considered a disability for her. If she is lucky, the it will not worsen and there will be no immediate need for surgery.

With one look at Natalie Yosten, one might only see an ordinary college student. However, it is now clear that she is actually an extraordinary college student, facing each day with a new optimism that most of us fail to find.