It all started when i was 15 years old...
As I ventured onto the nearby soccer field, I had intended to stay put - shooting at goal until dusk dawned upon me. However, despite my stubborn yet enthusiastic attitude, my stay was sharply cut short. After a simple misstep, an unfamiliar and foreign pain pulsed through my muscles and along my spine. In that moment - I collapsed along the green grass, almost paralysed, unable to move. After some time had passed, these episodes became a growingly familiar occurrence. However despite the recurring pain, I still had no idea what was going on with my body. Each time, I thought it was a muscle spasm because I forgot to stretch or something but boy was I wrong…
Two months had passed and I still felt the same radiating pain again. At this point I'm thinking this excruciating discomfort is something much more significant than some sort of muscle spasm or cramp. The situation was becoming dire and the fact that I had no idea what was bothering me made it even more terrifying. It got to a point where I had had enough, it was time to get to the bottom of this irritation...
I will never forget how I felt on the day I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. As my doctor switched on the back light onto my x-ray, a world of pain dawned upon me. However, perhaps what was even more surprising than the fact that seeing my spine was deformed in the shape of a "S", was the fact that I felt rather relieved. After 3 months of constant pain, collapses and breakdowns, I had finally figured out what had been irritating me. An idiopathic spinal deformity that would change my life forever. In due course, this short lived relief turned into a long 10 months of excruciating pain for not only me but also my family.
June 23rd 2016 will forever remain a pivotal day in my life. I had 2 cobalt chrome rods with 23 screws put into my back. it was on this day when I realised how fragile my life was. Despite encountering so many obstacles along the way, I was always in the best hands. Although I had to learn how to walk again and couldn’t breathe properly for months after surgery, I always had the support and prayers of those around me which ultimately helped me overcome my deformity. Now, thanks to them, I am living without suffering and I have embarked on the road to being as normal as one can expect. I am no longer experiencing pain, no longer dealing with the uncertainty of the outcome of spinal surgery. I am no longer restricted by scoliosis.
The Scoliosis Project was born out of this very experience. I am a real life testament to what a successful spinal surgery can do and I want to provide the same opportunity I had to those who can’t afford it. Trust me, spinal fusion surgery is a life changing event and for the better. Having been given this fresh lease in life, my aim now is to help others gain access to this surgery.
So, join me on this incredible journey to stand up straight to scoliosis!
- Armaan Raj Chawla
Founder of The Scoliosis Project
My ambitions and vision to help people gain access to spinal fusion surgery who wouldn't be able to otherwise has brought me to Ethiopia, where we can see some of the worst spines in the world.
To learn about some of the patients I was fortunate enough to meet, click here.
To learn more about our fantastic partners, click here.