At the Beginning

This has been a project that I have been meaning to get going for a few years. But all sorts of excuses kept on creeping in my mind, whether it was focusing on running the new family business which was very stressful (and still is!), or sorting out kids’ issues, there was always something!

While I was lying in my hospital bed in Singapore after a gruelling 12 hours operation on my spine, I remembered looking out of the window, watching the skyscrapers and feeling sore and very sorry for myself, wondering, “How did I get here?”.

To put things in context, I am now in my 50’s and was born with a slight curvature in my spine which, by the time I was in my teens, started to develop into a seriously bent spine! Although I am way past my teenage years, I can still remember the awkwardness of being a teenager, and the desperate need to ‘fit in’ and be normal.  So, like an ostrich, I buried my head in the sand and did not want to seek help or do anything, hoping that the problem will just go away!

You have to remember that this was early 80’ s and we did not have access to information like we have these days with the internet…etc. If not, maybe things would have turned out differently. I would have researched my condition and might have started exercises or done treatment to prevent my spine from worsening. I might not have ended up in hospital in Singapore with a major spine operation. A lot of maybe’s and if’s…

The reason for starting this blog is that since my operation, my chiropractor and physiotherapist have referred me to other people suffering from scoliosis and other spinal issues and asked me to share my story with them and to help them through their struggles. Since then I have had chats with teenagers, parents of children with scoliosis issues, young adults and older people, sharing my experience with them, talking about how to move forward, how to change lifestyle and how to be free and healthy. I am no expert, just someone who went through and still going through challenging moments in her life, physically and emotionally, sharing my experience on how to handle those challenges as I am sure that I am not alone out there!

The Rude Awakening

In my twenties, I was not the most active person physically and now looking back I cringe on my lack of proactiveness at the time.  I had regular back aches, had a bad posture but chose to ignore them all, as I use the excuse of being too busy to worry about it!

The living in ‘denial’ went on until I reached my thirties and things started to get worse. I was suffering from my back more and more, I felt I was getting more lobe sided as time went by and started developing a lump in my back like all scoliosis people do! A friend of mine referred me to a chiropractor and you can only imagine the outcome of the visit.

The curvature of my spine was very severe and was over 60 degrees, and it had started to impede on the mechanics of the respiratory muscles. The verdict was for me to consider surgery to stop further deterioration of the spine curvature. It was a time bomb and I needed to act and get out of my chosen “blissfully ignorant path”.

To add to the challenge of my spine, I found out that I was pregnant with twins after undergoing a fertility treatment, which meant that carrying twins under those circumstances would only make matters worse.

The Plan Forward

By then I was in my late thirties. I was not sure what I had to do specifically, but all I knew was that I had to make radical changes to my lifestyle in order to face all the challenges ahead.  I was overwhelmed by the mammoth task ahead and did not really know where to start. My immediate priority then was to carry my pregnancy through to term, and I managed to do that… almost! The twins were born at eight and half months, which was pretty good.  My spine during the pregnancy got worse and the curve increased by a few more degrees by the time I gave birth to the twins.

Trust your instinct

Six months after the twins were born, I started researching about spine surgeries. I spent hours going through websites, medical reports, alternative options to surgery… you name it, I read them all! I realised that my curvature was too severe for any alternative options to be effective and surgery was the way to go.  It was a daunting thought, as this was a major operation of over 12 hours, and I needed to feel trust and confidence in the doctor that I was going to choose to be under the knife with! I could not do this in my home country as there were no qualified doctors to do this operation and needed to find a doctor overseas.  I eventually settled on Singapore and I never looked back. From the first consultation to the day of the operation, I just felt that I was in good hands and could trust my doctor. I am sure this helped tremendously with my attitude towards the operation, my subsequent recovery and the way my body slowly bounced back from the ordeal.  I was adamant that I would overcome this and make this operation a success. I knew from thereon that the only way to make this work would be to turn over a new leaf, be healthy, be happy and start a new lifestyle. So, it began…check this space for further updates soon!!

X ray taken of my spine after the operation with 26 titanium screws and 2 flexible rods and fusion of vertebrae T2 to S1