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10 moments. The Scoliosis



So here is defining moment Number three:

When I was a child, I don't know, 5 I guess, my mom put me in the local community Ballet class. I guess I used to be pigeon toed and the family doc recommended ballet to correct it! Well, that worked out good as I am not walking like this anymore... My parents were nonathletic people to the max, and I was a very physical kid. Always climbing something, running through the fields around the house. I just loved moving.

So I did this. tutu and all. My mom I think was very proud. She never had the chance to do anything like this when she was a kid. I remember her showing me pictures where you saw a bunch of little girls with one leg somewhat up in the air, their body all crooked, leg half bent, face in effort mode. She laughed and said: "look, that's you! See how high your leg is!", Yep. there I was, leg straight up, body tall...Ah! I was pleased with that. I could do that.

A few years forward. Time to apply for ballet school. I was maybe 8 or 9. The teacher made us do a bunch of pirouettes, poses, and there was this lady with a clipboard, looking. At the end, they made us all bend over in a row. They were looking at our backs. After that, I was prancing around all excited that I was going to a dance school when I saw the clipboard lady, my teacher, and my mom discussing something in the corner. They were glancing at me once in a while, but they weren't returning my smiles. I couldn't tell what was going on, didn't even think it was something bad, just thought "strange".

That night, my mom took me aside at home. She explained that it was nothing serious and that the teacher and clipboard lady all thought I was a great dancer. Then she explained that I had a little swerve in my back and it would not be healthy to go to ballet school because I might get hurt a lot. I didn't get it. 'I can still try' I said with a smile'. She nodded 'no'.

In the next weeks, it all sank in. I still went to the community ballet class for a little bit, until I really understood what was going on. One girl told me that I would always turn crooked and that's why I was rejected.

After that, I got disinterested in ballet. The tease of the other kids about the tutus, and the bright pink and ugly body suit started to bother me now. Before, I just brushed it off. I told me mom I didn't want to go to ballet anymore.

That fall, I was working in the yard. Raking and raking the trillion leaves. Wishing we had no trees. and my back started hurting. I had a hard time moving, so my mom took me to the doctor. After examining me, he concluded that one of my legs was shorter and that I would have to wear a wedge in my shoe.

He said I could not do any running, jumping on the trampoline at the community gymnastic class. things I loved! I was to wear a corset, because the doc warned my mom that my back would get much worse as the scoliosis was just beginning and increasing rapidly, and there was nothing to do about it except fusing my spine later on and getting a rod in my back.

I think what made this whole thing so scary for me is that I associated this to being like my father. My father had this double disk hernia that left him in bed a home for many months 2 years earlier and we had to tend to his every needs. He had this little bell beside the bed... He was an absolute mess, extremely grumpy, yelling at us all the time. Whining, having this painful and angry look on his face...He once punched a hole in the wall beside my parents bed because I didn't get there fast enough... Anyway. I thought, this made me like my father that I hate.

Luckily, my mom, I guess seeing how terrified I was, researched and research the scoliosis thing. She does have some very good things about her. She talked to a physiotherapist that was in our family. Treatment for this was unlikely as my case was not serious enough at the time. But this lady got me a place for this free experimental treatment at the hospital she worked at, which would have been otherwise only been granted once my scoliosis would have gotten really bad.

For the next two years, I did physio. I was really, really hard physically. Like an intense workout, with all these exercises my mom made me do at home as well, everyday for about an hour. I remember all the white jackets with clipboards coming and examining my back every so often... After two years, they said my scoliosis had stabilized. It only evolved by 1 degree and stopped!

Incredible I tell you. I didn't like one bit of this experience at the time and felt like a freak and whined a lill. My mom got exasperated one time and showed me this binder with photos of kids in treatment from the hospital. She said "look! this is real pain! This is real deformity! You are very lucky. You do not look anything like these poor kids". She was right. These kids were all crooked and twisted, with bumps in their back from spinal malformation.

Anyway. I am incredibly grateful for what she did. Her persistence to find a solution. It made me realize that there are solutions sometimes if you are willing to work very hard at it. It made me realize I was really lucky after all.


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