Prior to undergoing numerous surgeries for scoliosis, my physical appearance was different; too different for anyone to accept me, as I experienced bullying for having a “hunched back.”
To me, at that time, having scoliosis was the worst thing. I wanted to look like everyone else and feel confident about myself. I felt horrible taking pictures and seeing half my body lean to one side. Surgery was necessary not only to fix my spine, but to reduce the pain and help with my breathing.
Dr. Michael Vitale told me that there was hope for me and my additional battle with a smaller lung. I was 13 when I was first operated on. The pain was severe, but the operation fixed my spine curve and brought an end to the breathing difficulties I had. Despite having scoliosis, suffering from a smaller lung and undergoing numerous surgeries, I never stopped being a good student and working hard to the fullest extent.
Going back to school was rough. My teachers expected me to make up everything I missed. Being aggravated, stressed and hurting was not motivating me to do my school work. Even though I lacked motivation and was working under rough circumstances, I completed all of my work. Unfortunately, disappointment always followed when I received my report card. I wish I didn’t have to complete the workload post-surgery.
My situation then never held me back from being a student, but it did represent me in the wrong ways. My grades were not depicting the student I knew I was. I missed many school days and it affected my studies greatly. But it never stopped me from working to my greatest potential. I worked long hours and strained myself, but still completed everything.
Today my health condition has gotten better and I have become more confident, as I made friends who accept me as I am. High school brought change to me just as my surgeries did. The friends I made motivated me and gave me that extra push I needed. With them, and my hard work, my grade point average raised and motivated me even more.
One day I hope to be in the medical field helping others, just like I was helped. I am proud of my motivation to do my best. I admire the friends I have made and the doctor that changed my life.