I was born with a condition called Kyphoscoliosis.

Kyphoscoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine in two planes, a combination of kyphosis and scoliosis. This musculoskeletal disorder often leads to other issues in patients including the under-ventilation of lungs, pulmonary hypertension, difficulty in performing day-to-day activities and psychological issues emanating from anxiety about acceptance among peers, especially in young patients.

The following are typical signs of Kyphoscoliosis:

·         Abnormal S or C-like curvature of the spine.

·         Uneven lengths of arms and legs

·         Presence of associated disorders likes hypertension, neurological disorders

·         Abnormal gait

 

With modern surgical techniques, the condition is now rectified early in childhood and is rare. However, in the 1960’s when I was a child this was not the case. The condition was usually addressed with something called the ‘Milwaukee Brace’.

Hey, you might think it’s cool and sexy to be permanently strapped into one of the most cruel and restrictive medical braces ever invented. Well I’ve got news for you, it may at times feel sexy being in contact with all that plastic, leather and metal but it ain’t cool, and certainly not fun.

I spent almost three whole years in the Milwaukee Brace and with every day, the discomfort, humiliation and pain did not get any better. In fact, when I had been out of the Milwaukee Brace for an hour and I saw it being pulled back towards me for another day of torture I was brought to tears.

Related to years of coping with the disability I have also developed many associated conditions including:

·         Bronchiectasis - Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus that can make the lungs more vulnerable to infection.

·         Pulmonary Hypertension - Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs (pulmonary arteries). It's a serious condition that can damage the right side of the heart.

·          Type 2 respiratory failureWhen your body doesn't have enough oxygen, you can get hypoxemia or hypoxia. These are dangerous conditions, as without oxygen, the brain, liver, and other organs can be damaged just minutes after symptoms start.