My name is Maria Chiara Faedda, from Italy. I am now 37 years old. I was diagnosed scoliosis when I was 11, and that was when I received my first brace. I was supposed to wear it most of the day, the only exceptions were lunch, dinner and while sleeping. My scoliosis was moderate and it affected the central part of the spine (I guess it was in lordosis form), this is the reason why the doctor decided for a brace and for constant physical therapy.
I started taking swimming classes for many years and went through some very painful therapies hoping to get rid of that painful and ugly brace. During those years, I had to learn to be stronger than other kids of my age, some of them were mean, they made jokes about my conditions and even called me “DEFORMED”. I have always been aware of being different, because of my spine, I couldn’t wear all the clothes I wanted due to the brace and I hated myself and my reflection in the mirror.
Over the years, I built up confidence in myself, and my parents and my family have been my strength. My friends encouraged me not to give up. The love I have always received has been an incredible blessing. It all changed with my family moving to Belgium where we lived for a few years because of my father’s work.
It was January 14th (my mum’s birthday), and I am sitting in front of Dr. Roussoly (he literally saved me), in his office at The Centre Médico-Chirugical de readaptacion des Massues in Lyon, France. I clearly see my spine x-rays hanging in front of me as the doctor says “SURGERY”, and he explains the procedure to my parents, I start silently crying, unable to stop the tears from my eyes. Hospitals have always scared me and all of a sudden I was to be in one for a while.
June of 1999, is when I had a 5 hour surgery, the surgeons corrected the curve by inserting titanium rods on both sides of my spine and in between to keep it straight. After a few hours in intensive care, I was back in my room, and three days later I started walking again. I spent two weeks in hospital and it took six months (and a lot of physical therapy) to recover. The pain has been intense and I could barely do any normal activity but it was all worth it. You never completely heal from scoliosis, you learn to live with it.
This is the first time I have ever told my story, going through the scoliosis process marks you for life. It has left some insecurities about my body and I have scars and one that is visible on my back. Now, I have decided to share my story and help give support all the unique individuals that are struggling with Scoliosis.
To all the girls dealing with scoliosis, do not hate your body. You are not ugly, not a monster or deformed, you already are amazing women. To my mum and dad, and to all the parents of scoliosis fighters, thank you for the constant love and support that make you the extraordinary human beings that you are. To my fiancé, the photographer who took the pictures of my scar and made it a work of art. Thank you love, for showing me the beauty of my imperfection, and teaching me to love my scar the way the you do.