Scoliosis hit me like a ton of bricks. I was diagnosed with the condition when I was 10 years old and it was completely out of the blue. I had always been really healthy and I had never spent any time in hospital. I just remember thinking, why me? What have I done wrong to deserve to be in so much pain and be facing major spinal surgery?
It was really scary, everything happened so quickly and I felt like I was constantly being examined. When my mum sat me down and explained about the surgery, I was terrified. I hated needles and the smell of hospitals and the thought of having to spend weeks in bed was my worst nightmare.
I felt cheated, all my friends were off out enjoying the holidays and I was stuck in the car driving from hospital to hospital with my parents getting as many opinions on my condition as possible.
Eventually my mum and dad explained that surgery seemed to be my only option. They were not happy about it but they were desperate for my scoliosis to be stabilised. Mum knew how much I loved sports and also knew that having surgery would ruin my fitness levels and would probably mean I couldn’t play contact sports for the rest of my life.
Things went really quiet on the scoliosis front for a while after my parents told me that I was going on the waiting list for spinal fusion and for a while I was almost able to get back to normal life.
This was until the letter came with the date of my surgery on it. I remember feeling sick with fear and crying all the time. I remember shouting that I wouldn’t be going the hospital and I wasn’t going to have the operation.
I could see how desperate my parents were to make everything okay, but it wasn’t their fault and they had no idea what to do for the best.
It was about 3 days after the letter came that my mother saw an article about the SOS clinic. She was just reading about the surgery and how to take care of me afterwards when she read an article online about alternative treatment for scoliosis. I remember her calling me to have a look at the webpage, but I never imagined that within 2 weeks I would be travelling over to the other side of the world for treatment.
Arriving in England was daunting, I had never been and everyone sounded strange. I had never really heard people speak in any other accent before and London seemed really busy in comparison to back home.
We stayed at a hotel for a few days before the treatment started and then the course began on the Monday. It was like starting a new school but everybody was lovely and the therapists made me feel so welcome.
During treatment my cosmetic appearance completely changed and I felt so much stronger. The exercises were nowhere near as hard as I thought they would be, in fact they were relatively easy in comparison to going to the gym!
Knowing this was my only chance of avoiding surgery, encouraged me to work harder than ever before. I made some great friends who really supported me throughout the course. I have also kept in contact with some of the girls who I would love to meet again when I visit the UK in the future.
I have been able to return to being a normal young girl and my surgery has been cancelled. I will never stop being grateful to the SOS team and my UK experience is one that I will treasure forever.
Whether you live in NZ or a different part of the world, you would be more than welcome here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in England. Please get in touch to learn more about our non-surgical treatment courses and the accommodation that we provide for our overseas patients.