The news of my arrival was the happiest day for my parents but what followed later was a series of events which were traumatising. Back then little did they know that their daughter who is born with a physical deformity will one day grow up to become a Doctor- I was one year old, when my parents noticed that my back is sharply curved, and I cannot sit straight.
Seeing my bent back, they knew that something was wrong hence they took me to the Paediatrician. Underwent a few X-rays and after studying the reports the Doctor told my parents that I am suffering from a major physical deformity, but he did not disclose the disease.
We consulted another Doctor who then told us that I have been diagnosed with Congenital Scoliosis. It is a rare birth defect which happens due to lack of spine formation when the child is inside the womb. One is born with a sideway curvature of Spine which is either ‘C’ or ‘S’ shaped and with age the defect progresses.
After the diagnosis, we consulted many other Doctors but all of them had one common opinion that Congenital Scoliosis is not curable, but it can be treated by a few surgeries. They also told us that undergoing several surgeries at such an early age can be life threatening for me hence we should wait till I turn 10. The next few years were spent in a lot of pain and suffering as my spine curve was increasing, my height growth was slow, and I had developed uneven shaped shoulders, back, and arms.
As I turned eleven, we visited one of the finest Orthopaedists Dr. Ashok Johari in Mumbai. After seeing my condition and reports, he ruled out that my spine curvature had increased to such an extent where the only choice is to undergo a series of surgery. He specifically told me that the chances of recovery after the Spinal Fusion surgeries are less, but we will have to take this risk to stop the further growth of your spine curvature. We had a huge trust in the Doctor and took the biggest decision- to get operated.
Over a period of nine long years, I underwent six critical surgeries where my first and last surgery went on for more than 12 hours. After the last surgery, I was shifted to ICU and put on a Ventilator for a temporary period as it was one of the most critical surgeries. For 17 years, I have not shed a tear, but the post-surgery pain and the ICU isolation shattered me where I cried in the ICU for hours hoping to lead a normal life like other people.
Gradually, my back started recovering where I started doing things which I could not do earlier. I also started doing Planks and today I am record holder in India for longest duration to hold a Plank for 2 hours 29 minutes 43 seconds which is a huge achievement in my journey. During the entire treatment, my doctor told me that I inspire him every day, but it was the other way round.
Seeing him work tirelessly and treat patients with empathy, the 12-year-old me had decided that I too want to become a doctor one day and treat as many patients as possible. Today, I am living my dream by being a third-year medical student and it feels so worthwhile. I started playing badminton this year and want to achieve great heights. Over the years, if there is one thing which has helped me in my journey then it has been Bhagavad Gita.
I still have dull days when the fixed rods and screws in my back bring huge pain to me but its’ my family who helps me in healing. My parents have sacrificed their life to build my life. They did everything to make me a warrior and fight for my life. I got their support always no matter what, when they are financially broke, but they never refused me to achieve anything. In one sentence, my parents made me! And now my aim is to make them so proud.
My journey has taught me one thing- we all are warriors and we all can overcome the pain and suffering. I know that if I want to play any sports, I need to be physically fit and gradually I started working out. Initially I did not know what to do and what type of workout is best for spinal fusion and then I got to know about plank, and I started doing it. When I did the plank for the first time, my timing was only 3 minutes and slowly I pushed myself to the record holder in India.
I worked extremely hard to reach 2 hours 29 minutes 43 seconds. Then I joined the gym and started working out. I can do most of exercises and now I am physically fit and can take any sport, so I started playing badminton as I love it. I want to help people with disabilities through my own example.