It's 3:20am and I can't sleep so I blog....
It has taken ever ounce of strength in me to post this blog. Right now, I am going through a cocktail of contradictory emotions. Fear, anger, sadness, faith, hope but most of all relief. Just after my 17th birthday, my friend noticed my back was distorted, we looked at it in the mirror and I could see my right shoulder blade sticking. I didn't know what it was but I knew I wasn't born with it....so I tried my best to conceal it and act as if it was nothing. The occasional backaches, not been able to wear halter necks without long flowing locks. If I exposed my back, I was asked questions. So I didn't. Well, I thought it would go away.
In 2006 I got a temp job as a chiropractic assistant and that's when my boss told me I had Scoliosis. An 'S' shaped spine. At that time I was entitled to free chiropractic care. Well, my X-Rays showed my spine looking crooked. That explained why my left rib cage was protruding more than the right. aha! Luckily, none of my boyfriends ever pointed it out. I mean, how could they not have noticed? Well, I still thought it would go away...
Then with recent back aches.... I decided to delve into a comprehensive research about scoliosis and it's sufferers. The first shock that hit me was it being called a 'Disease/Disability'. I also realized people can get it at the adolescent stage which I believe is when mine started. Apparently there is no cure. No known cure. No proof that exercise even helps it. (Albeit I observed most celebrities with scoliosis were professional swimmers) Depending on your curve, you could manage it with a brace or undergo surgery where you'd have rods stuck into your spine to straighten it. Well now I know where my breathing problems stemmed from. The neck/shoulder snap was as a result of the shape of my spine. *I knew it wasn't normal*
Oh and its hereditary. I want to be upset but I can't. You know why? Because I am blessed with people who love me and to be honest living is not that bad. We all know the silent stigma associated with the 'physically challenged'. I keep wondering why I hid it for so long and not telling my mum or going to the doctor when it would have been easily managed. Part of me feels grateful for experiencing what some other people face. Some People with this disease have it worse where their spine is tilted to a 90 degree curve. I am grateful its not worse than it is already. I have a moderate curvature (about a 30 degree curvature) which isn't fatal. I won't have surgery. Never. Sadly, it deteriorates as one gets older...if no measures are taken so I am considering extensive physiotherapy (my friends tease me about being a surly crooked old woman...being surly is bad enough, but surly and crooked? ;-| ) Unfortunately, there isn't any form of awareness about scoliosis in Nigeria (I am still looking) and not enough exposure worldwide. I am trying to be open about it now. Besides the fact that Bra-wearing and tube wearing has been a chore, it's just unpretty to look at. The back aches are part and parcel of the issue. As I am aware, I have been working my ass of at the gym and strengthening my back 5 times a week. I almost always sleep on the Lat Machine!
Next time you see someone with a hunch or an uneven shoulder blade, hip, or legs...just don't stare. Smile and remember, your very own Mamuje is rocking a chip in her shoulder....quite literally:-)