09 June 2015

My Life-Changing Journey With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

This is a short story written to create awareness on Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. 

...To be continued...
hopefully the next title will be My Success Story with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis :)

(Full Text of the Short Story)

My Life-Changing Journey 
With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis


For our short story English class requirement,
I have decided to write about my life-changing journey
when I was diagnosed with  adolescent idiopathic 
scoliosis. I will either wear a brace for 23 hours a day
until I'm about 18 years old or I might have spine 
surgery a few months from now.

It is a non-fiction story with real people in my life as the
characters.  I want to create awareness about scoliosis 
and hopefully, with my story, I can help and inspire some 
children who have the same condition. Moral lesson is to
treasure the people who are there especially in lowest 
times of your life and always remember that giving-up is 
NOT an option no matter how hard things are because
they will eventually get better.

I want to thank Dr. Marc (orthopedic surgeon), Ms. Nora
(physiotherapist), Ms. Petra (orthotist) and their 
team for looking after my medical treatments. 

To my class adviser Ms. Arlene, my grade 6-A teachers 
and classmates for being considerate and patient 
whenever I ask for school assignments that I missed. 

To my parents and brother for their support. 
I am vey blessed that you are always by my side. 

To my grandmother, Mama Lorie, who calls to check 
on me everyday.

And most specially to God, who gives me strength.

That Big Bump in my Back

I was 12 years old in the late 2014 when I have noticed that 
whenever I try to touch my back, there is this big pack of 
muscle in my left lower back and it disappears when I try
to twist my body. Then I told my parents about it. My mom 
asked my pediatrician about it during my routine vaccine visit. 
The doctor said that it's normal to develop this muscle 
because of growth.

Then my parents thought that there was really something 
wrong with me. So last January 2015, they brought me to an
orthopedic doctor in a nearby clinic here in Dubai where we live. 
The doctor ordered x-ray and it was confirmed that 
I had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. 

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is an abnormal curvature 
of the spine that appears in late childhood or adolescence. 
Instead of growing straight, the spine develops a side-to-side
curvature, usually in an elongated "S" or "C" shape; the 
bones of the spine are also slightly twisted or rotated. 

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis appears during the
adolescent growth spurt, a time when children are growing 
rapidly. In many cases the abnormal spinal curve is stable, 
although in some children the curve is progressive 
(meaning it becomes more severe over time). For unknown 
reasons, severe and progressive curves occur more 
frequently in girls than in boys. 
(I got this information from the website - http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov)

The doctor told me to go for an MRI. It's like getting pictures 
of my spine and organs. It was not painful. It just made a lot 
of noise. 

After a few days, the MRI report came and it
said that I have dextroscoliosis (S shaped spine)
with a 27 degree Cobb's angle (it's the term they use in 
determining the angle of the curve). The doctor said 
that there was no complication with my 
nerves or organs.

Chapter 2
Curve Confusion

The first doctor that we went to did not measure my x-ray's 
Cobb's angle and based only in the MRI report which stated 
that the Cobb's angle was 27 degrees.

My parents felt that with how my back looked like, it seemed 
that there might be something else we can do. 
That's when they decided for me to visit Dr. Marc, 
a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in a clinic located 
in Jumeirah, Dubai.

When Dr. Marc saw me, he checked my back, asked me to walk 
back and forth and bend forward. He asked me in what position 
was the first x-ray taken. When I told him that I was lying down 
on the x-ray table, he then explained to  my parents that the degree 
of curvature is different from lying down to standing. He said that 
to get a more accurate Cobb's angle, an x-ray should be taken 
while I'm standing because both the previous x-ray and 
MRI were taken when I was lying flat on a surface.

My parents asked the doctor if it was okay to have another 
x-ray after just 3 months from the first x-ray. The doctor 
explained that it is important to determine my spine's curve angle.

After my new x-ray was taken, he said that my spine's Cobb's 
angle was 45 degrees thoracic (upper back) and 38 degrees
lumbar (lower back). I saw a letter S in my spine when they 
showed the x-ray.

The doctor told me that it is important that I need to do my 
part so that my scoliosis curve will not get worse. 
I have to do sports activities like swimming, wear a 
custom made Cheneau brace for 23 hours a day and 
do physiotherapy twice a week. He said that it will be all up 
to me to help myself because if my curve do get worse 
after 6 months then he will do surgery.

Chapter 3
My Camouflage Cheneau Brace

We went to Dubai Healthcare City for my scoliosis brace. There I met
Ms. Petra (orthotist) and her team. She explained to me and my 
parents how the brace works. Their team was eager to 
answer all our questions. 

First appointment - they made measurements, took photos, asked me to 
choose a design (I liked the camouflage). 

Second appointment - after around 2 weeks from the first 
appointment is the fitting of my brace. I didn't get to take home 
my brace yet because they needed to do some adjustments.

Third visit - after 1 week my brace was ready. They gave me 
general  instructions for my brace. They also showed me how 
to wear the brace and take it off. 

Chapter 4
First Week With My Scoliosis Cheneau Brace

I know it sounds weird but I was actually excited to get 
my brace and show it to my classmates. I chose a camouflage 
design because it's so cool. When they were still doing my scoliosis 
brace, my parents kept on reminding me that it may hurt in the
beginning. Like the braces on my teeth, they hurt at first but 
now they don't bother me anymore because I got used to them. 

When I finally got my brace, I immediately took my Nerf gun 
and played at home because my brace looked like a military 
armor. After a while, I started feeling pain in some areas 
of my body. Ms. Petra (orthotist) said that I should expect 
that because of the pressure points of my brace. What I 
didn't expect was it was so so so so painful. My mom
removed it after an hour to check my skin. There were parts 
that were red. When the redness subsided, she put it back on. 
She said that it was important to follow the bracing instructions.

I will never forget the 2nd day with my brace on because 
I cried a lot. I asked my mom to give me medicine to get rid 
of the pain. She said that I was allowed to use the Playstation
for a couple of hours so the pain will be diverted. (It worked!
I can actually bear any pain as long as she allows me to play. LOL)

My mom always check my skin for any folds of my undershirt
because they can really be very painful.

The 3rd day with brace was better. I still had pain but not as 
painful as the 2nd day. Ms. Petra was right that I will get used to it.

Physiotherapy and Scoliosis

My mom asked Ms. Petra if she can recommend a physiotherapist 
who specializes with my condition. She recommended Ms. Nora 
and gave us her contact information in Jumeirah, Dubai.

During my first physiotherapy session with Ms. Nora, I remember
when she told me that I had to know my spine. Then it made me 
think if how well do I really know about it aside from what I learned 
in school that it's a part of the central nervous system.

I honestly enjoy and look forward to my physiotherapy sessions 
because I learn a lot about my spine and body. Ms. Nora is very 
patient and kind in teaching me the anatomy like thoracic, lumbar 
and sacral part of the spine, the pelvis, sid, hamstring muscles, 
lungs, importance of breathing and a lot other stuff. 
It made me more aware of my body and how I can help myself. 
She also always encourage me that I can do the exercises when 
I think that I can't do it.

Before the end of every physiotherapy session, she teaches
me simple Schroth method therapy exercises that I can do at home.

Chapter 6
School and Scoliosis

I am a straight A student when I had scoliosis.  School year is 
almost over when I started with the treatment. There were times 
that I had to skip school because of the doctor, physiotherapy and 
orthotist appointment or sometimes because of back pain. 

School is a priority but so is my health. So every time I was 
absent, I see to it that I give my excuse letter to my teachers 
so they will be informed of my condition. My classmates 
were also supportive by sending me messages 
about our assignments.

Chapter 7
My Family

With all these things that happened so suddenly, I would not have 
made through all of it without my parents and brother. 

My dad would come home in the middle of his office hours just 
to bring me to my appointments. My mom would spend sleepless 
nights to make sure I was all right. She's always there to listen 
with my emotional outbursts. My brother would often go 
swimming with me and check if I am doing fine.

My grandmother calls every single day to check if I was okay. 
She would always tell my mom to let me stay up late and play
while I'm adjusting to having the brace on. Of course my 
grandmother is the boss so my mom needs to follow what she says.

When I am about to give up, they gave me encouragements. 
They supported me all the way. They were beside me all along. 

Chapter 8
God Is My Strength

Every night before going to bed, we always pray. 
We ask the Lord for forgiveness. 
We thank Him for all the blessings that we receive. We pray
that He will make me strong and make the pain less. We pray 
to give me the energy to do all the things that I should do to 
prevent me from having surgery. 

We also pray not just for me but all the people who needs His
help. May He bless all of us with his healing power.


  1. Inspiring story kid! My daughter has scoliosis and i will let her read this!

  2. Great story you got here! My daughter is on a brace from Mediclinic Dubai but currently not doing physio. I heard about the schroth method therapy or exercise. Is the therapy helping out? Do you have in brace xrays?? I'm just curious why your brace looks different. Thnks!!

    1. Thank you for appreciating his short story. It means a lot to him :) Yes the therapy is definitely a big help. I will soon post pictures of his progress with physiotherapy. He had his in brace x-ray last week and I will also write about it soon. There are different types of scoliosis brace and his orthopedic surgeon here in Dubai prescribed the (RSC) Rigo System Cheneau brace.

  3. A very positive attitude in a situation like this. Keep it up!

  4. I hope your treatment goes well!i rarely hear this brace in US but I read abouth this schroth method physiotherapy and exercise. I think they have an in-patient physiotherapy clinic in Germany. The photos after schroth are unbelievable. Glad to know that schroth is now in dubai.

  5. is schroth physiotherapy good for scoliosis? I want to hear your opinion pls. I am in dubai uae

  6. Is the spine brace that he is wearing that is made here in dubai effective for your son's scoliosis?

  7. I am from Dubai too. i hope you make another article if he has any improvement with his Cheneau scoliosis brace and schroth physiotherapy. Is he still on brace?

  8. Is physiotherapy in dubai have schroth method for scoliosis for my dd

  9. Where are you having your schroth physiotherapy in Dubai? Can you recommend your physiotherapist? Pls reply

  10. Pls post pictures on your son's scoliosis condition. Is he still doing schroth physiotherapy exercises? Is he still wearing his cheneau scoliosis brace or did spine surgery in Dubai? Please give an update. My dd also has scoliosis snd we are here in Dubai. Thank you!!!!!!!

  11. is your son still going to schroth physiotherapy exercises here in dubai? If you can please post updates on his scoliosis condition and if he still has his cheneau scoliosis spine brace.

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