Today I want to share my story. Exactly 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. For those who don’t know what Scoliosis is- it’s an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. Mine is idiopathic, which means its origin is unknown. This is what I’ve been bearing for 10 years.
When I was 11, my doctor suggested that I should get a brace. And so I did. I had to wear a body brace for the entire day, every single day. It gave me wounds, rashes, and bruises. Imagine wearing a sando plus a brace and then the uniform. Sobrang init! My teachers and friends were supportive naman. Even my friends carry my bag and my brace to help me. But growing up as a kid with low self-esteem, I got scared of what the other kids from my school would think of me. I thought wearing my brace is, well, embarrassing. Because as a kid, I wanted to fit in. I don’t want to get bullied. I don’t want them to laugh at me. So I started hiding my brace inside my closet so that my mom wouldn’t know I wasn’t wearing it. When she found out about it, she told me matigas daw ang ulo ko. I knew I made her cry that time but I never listened to her.
After 2-3 years of not wearing my brace, I gave it another shot. This time, I have a better knowledge about scoliosis. Scoliosis, unfortunately is not curable by any medicine. Physical Therapy? Nope. Chiropractic? Nope. Not even a body brace. You can prevent it from worsening your curve degree, but it will stay there forever. But then again, matigas nga ang ulo ko so I stopped wearing my brace again.
During college, I was aware that my body is simply changing. During PEs I could run as fast as I can, I could use the stairs without running out of breath, etc. etc. But as time goes by, I could feel it. So I told myself that when I reach 18 I have to ask my parents to do a surgery for me. I did ask my mom but they don’t want me to. It scared them to death.
When I started working it became worse again. My work requires me to stand up for 8 hours (with break of course and sometimes chumechempo para makaupo) and my posture is somewhat affected. I started feeling pain on my back, hips, and inside my body. Sometimes it feels like parang nagka buhol buhol na yung internal organs ko sa loob. I can barely breathe even at rest! There’s chest pain as well. It’s really painful. I wanted to cry but I don’t want people around me to call me O.A. simply because they don’t know what it feels like to have Scoliosis.
This is the time that people should be aware of Scoliosis. Because it’s not easy and it’s painful physically and emotionally. It hurts because the only option to stop it is a risky and costly major surgery. But I don’t want to live this kind of life too. Everytime I look at myself in the mirror, I want to hate myself for looking like this. I even started calling myself names because I felt ugly. I can’t wear fitted clothes, swim suits, or anything that will show my back, even if I want to. I lost all my self confidence. I am so insecure and wished that I don’t have to endure this.
I know I can never question God, but I did. I was crying asking Him, “Why me? Of all people, why me?” But I never hated God. I did not feel any hatred against Him. I kept my faith in Him and I still believe that He will help me and cure me.
After years of patiently waiting, God gave me the opportunity to undergo a surgery. Nag ipon ako ng lakas ng loob to push this surgery, even though I know na pwede akong malumpo, paralyze, and even die. I believe this is His perfect timing. And so I’m posting this, because after my surgery I know my life will be changed forever.
And to those people I met na may Scoliosis as well (mostly women). I want you to be brave for yourself and all your loved ones. I hope this could inspire you to keep on fighting against Scoliosis. Never take your health for granted. Start wearing a brace, go for a PT exercise, start exercising, engage yourself in swimming and yoga, DO NOT carry heavy things, do not go overweight. Start researching about Scoliosis and how to prevent your curve from worsening. And if you’re feeling down, always remember that you are not alone. We are many, we’re just not recognized. But a lot of people would love you still even if you’re bent. Because even if you are bent, you are beautiful. You are one brave soul for fighting your inner insecurities and I salute you for that. Lastly, just keep your faith in Him. He will never leave your side always.
And to others who are reading this, I hope that whenever you meet a person with Scoliosis, never look at them like they’re different. Do not pity them because what they need is your support and encouragement. It’s time for Scoliosis awareness.