The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - Your Story -

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.

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