Ba c k IN BUSINESS
NATASHA RUBIE DIDN’T LET HER SCOLIOSIS DIAGNOSIS GET IN THE WAY OF HER DREAMS OF BEING A DANCER.
Ihave been dancing since I was three years old. There’s nothing I enjoy more. So when I was diagnosed with scoliosis and told that I had a 72-degree curvature of the spine and would need surgery to correct it, I was heartbroken. My doctor explained I would lose the flexibility in my back and there were certain things I would never do again, but that not having the surgery was not a sensible option.
Ever since I was about 12 I knew there was something wrong. One shoulder was higher than the other, my hips were out of place and my back was uneven.
When I was 15 years old, I had to spend five weeks in Royal Perth Hospital, undergoing and recovering from two rounds of major surgery. I had to have a metal rod and screws inserted into my spine to straighten it and to fuse the bones. Due to the straightening of my spine, I had a couple of inches added to my height.
My family, friends and I thought Guy Sebastian’s song, Taller, Stronger, Better, was the theme song to my experience. I put up with hundreds of blood tests, needles, drips, X-rays and many other hurdles, including the time my lungs collapsed after my second round of surgery, which lengthened my hospital stay. But with support from family and friends, I pulled through and kept smiling.
Some positive things came out of the experience too. My parents organised for three Home And Away stars to visit me. They really brightened up my hospital stay!
After five weeks in hospital, I finally arrived home and was able to sleep in my own bed, but after a couple of days I had another setback that sent me to Princess Margaret Hospital.
My stomach was playing up, due to the extreme positional changes of my organs, as I was now much straighter. I was diagnosed with superior mesenteric artery syndrome. But after a few days I was keeping food down and was finally sent home to stay.
Those six weeks were the hardest of my life, but really helped me to grow and mature as a person. If I am ever faced with a challenge, I know I can overcome it after what I have been through.
Today, two-and-a-half years later, I stand up tall, with three big scars to remind me of October 2006. And the best thing of all is, I’m still dancing. There are some things I cannot do, but I am adapting, performing to the best of my ability and loving it more than ever. I am truly taller, stronger, better.