All of our backbones have a natural curve to it. Some people’s backs curve too much in the wrong direction. This condition is called scoliosis. You can be born with scoliosis or develop it as you get older. Either way, it gets worse as you grow unless you treat it with back braces, physical therapy, or even surgery.
Matti Banon’s daughter has scoliosis. We asked her some questions in order to understand her daughter’s condition and how it affects her everyday life.
Q. When did your daughter develop her scoliosis?
A. That’s a good question. I’m not sure exactly when, but around the age of 5, I noticed that she walked a little funny and I discussed this with the doctor. She sent me to a hospital that specializes in orthopedics.
Q. How often does she go to the doctor?
A. Chaya visits the doctor periodically so they can measure the curve of her spine. It used to be around twice a year, but now that they are considering surgery it is more like 4 times a year.
Q. What usually happens there?
A. They ask her questions about her pain, take x-rays, and measure the curve of her spine.
Q. What are some treatments the doctors have tried or are trying to improve her spine?
A. She wore a hard brace from the age of 5 until the age of 10, and then she wore a soft and flexible brace called “spinecor” for over two years. Then, they suggested surgery since it is getting to the point that it can have an effect on her lungs. That’s when we looked around for a different alternative and found this clinic in Monsey that has a specific treatment of exercising and balancing with weights that can reduce the degree of her curve. It’s a lot of hard work for Chaya. She does it 3 times a day, and it is showing us miraculous results B”H.
Q. How does it affect her everyday life?
A. Wearing the hard brace was extremely difficult as it was putting so much pressure on her body; she would even get bruises from it. The soft brace was annoying since she had to take it off every time she had to go to the bathroom. The exercises means she has to wake up earlier than everyone else, and sleeping over at a friend is not always possible, since there is special equipment she needs.
Q. How do other children act toward her?
A. Chaya is a very fun loving kid with lots of friends B”H. The girls in her class are extremely sweet and understanding towards her and her needs. They have always accepted her and they make her feel like one of them.
Q. Is there anything she has to be very careful doing?
A. She had heart surgery at birth and at the age of 10 (the doctors are sure she won’t need any more B”H). This means she can’t go on those scary roller coaster rides, that she is probably too scared of anyways…
Q. Is there a message from your own experience that you would give to other Jewish children with similar difficulties?
A. Never give up. Don’t be scared of hard work. It can do you a lot of good. Keep a positive attitude no matter what because it can take you far in life no matter what the challenge is.