I found out I have scoliosis when I was eight. I could still remember that day as if it was only yesterday. I was playing with my dolls when our family doctor arrived to check on my sister, who was involved in a minor car accident the week before. We were very fond of him. We called him Doctor Smile because he always made us feel at ease.
After giving him a hug, I went about my business brushing doll number 4’s unruly hair. Standing with my back to him and my sister who was moaning in pain, I could hear them talk about exercise and therapy. A few more minutes later, all sound became white noise as I began to decide whether to tie my doll’s hair back or cover its head with a piece of fabric my mother gave me the day before.
I heard my name called, but I didn’t respond right away. Then I felt Doctor Smile’s hand on my shoulder. Looking up, I saw a strange expression on his face. An expression I never saw him wore before. To my surprise, he asked my mother, who had just walked inside the room, for permission to examine me. Examine me? I thought. I looked at my sister and gave her a look. Sure I wasn’t the one in need of examination.
The next thing I knew, Doctor Smile was poking my back, tracing my spine from the back of my neck down just below my belt. I turned around and saw him frown for the first time in my life.
On the way to the hospital the next day, my mother just said that Doctor Smile noticed that there was something wrong with my posture. I nodded, believing “posture” was a part of the body—I didn’t know what it meant. I kept silent of course as I was shown to the x-ray room. The moment I saw the enormous machine towering over me, I was convinced that I was going to die. In my mind, I decided that people’s postures were important, and if there was something wrong with it, well, you die. Slowly.
I endured two sleepless nights while waiting for the results. I pictured myself like a healthy leaf, plucked away and left to wilt. Please fix my posture, I remember praying.
At last we were back in the hospital. Doctor Smile was there and I remember itching to ask him a question. He looked at two weird-looking films I thought would look good on my bedroom wall. Then he confirmed what he suspected. You, young girl, have a problem, he said in a somber tone. I bit my lips and looked down at the floor. He said many things after that, things I didn’t catch because I was busy thinking of ways to say goodbye to my dolls. And then, out of nowhere, I looked up and asked him—in my most serious voice: Where in the body is a person’s posture? The nurse, bless her, laughed out loud. I pouted and remembered turning to look at my mother, who shook her head, said nothing, and buried her face in her hands in embarrassment.
Doctor Smile smiled, stood up, and walked over to me. He then introduced me to a word that would change my life: Scoliosis.
He assured me and my parents that most spine misalignment cases are harmless. He even took a ceramic model to show us where my problem was. Best thing I heard was him promising us that there was no need for corrective spine surgery. I remember him explaining that my case was like a dormant volcano—virtually harmless. But, he said, you need to exercise and do “special” things, so the volcano wouldn’t wake up. He also mentioned that there was no medicine to make it go away. You can’t make it go away, he said, touching my nose. But, he added in a low voice, you can make it worse. Exercise, he advised me, showing me a few examples. You also can’t sit nor stand for extended periods of time, he added with a slight frown.
I wish I can tell you I felt reassured right away. I was not. In fact, knowing I have scoliosis made me feel less of a person. A strange feeling of brokenness haunted me for many years. The emotional impact of the awareness that something was wrong with me made me feel insecure. It wasn’t until I turned 18 when I won my first pageant when I realized that, yes, there was something wrong with me, but at the same time, there was nothing wrong with me. That won’t make sense to many, but to us who have the same or similar condition, it makes perfect sense.
When I turned 14, I was recruited to be a model. The training leading up to competitions helped me in improving my posture. Yes, my trainers taught me how to stand and walk, but they inadvertently taught me how to not make my spine condition worse. And for a long time after that, I lived my life not giving scoliosis a thought.
I became a manager for a big tech company when I was 25. I was beautiful and confident. Wearing heels to work every day became a source of power for me. I was used to being glued to my desk for hours. Standing up for presentations also wasn’t a problem.
Everything changed, however, when I turned 35.
I started having lower back pains, which (at first) I attributed to being overworked. Wearing heels also became a problem. I went to see Doctor Smile, who was then retired and staying in his beach house near the sea. He reminded me about his volcano analogy and said that overtime cracks would appear and I need to be extra careful.
Now that I’m 40, I’ve been experiencing the effects of my spine condition. Scoliosis may be commonly harmless, but coinciding with age, it can be challenging.
Chilly nights can be a torture. I started experiencing discomfort a couple of years ago. Cold weather triggers a kind of throbbing pain emanating from my lower back. My working life was greatly affected as well. And although I work now at home, in the past, I could spend hours seated on my chair. Not anymore. And because I couldn’t work standing up, I had to force myself to abandon projects for at least two hours to lie down or walk around. My productivity suffered. But with the advent of advances in technology and ergonomic office furniture and equipment, I was able to regain my precious time.
The amazing Adjustable Standing Desk from a company called Flexispot is a game changer. No, it didn’t fix my condition, but it allowed me to regain productivity. It can work as a traditional desk—with me seated on an office chair, and when I start to feel pain on my lower back, I can adjust it and it will magically allow me to work while standing up. Gone are the days when I had to pass the time doing nothing. Now, the work continues.
Standing desks are common these days, but Flexispot offers sturdy, quality equipments, the kind of which you don’t have to worry about breaking down on you. For a few years now, working on a desk limited my workflow, not anymore. My Flexispot Adjustable Standing Desk is a brilliant investment.
Scoliosis is my fact of life. With a healthy lifestyle, and with the help of equipments by Flexispot, I can continue living my dream.