No more falling

Submitted by: Deb Preachuk

Meghan W.'s Success Story

It is difficult to say how much Deb has helped me. A lot of doctors look at me disbelievingly when I tell them my scoliosis has all but disappeared because of pilates. When I was little, I had to wear corrective shoes. Even as a two-year old I was abnormally clumsy. My mom enrolled me in gymnastics and dance to try and help me gain a sense of balance, but it didn't really help. I almost died laughing watching an old gymnastics video--- I did everything blatantly wrong, then would run over to my mom wanting a hug because I thought I did it so well. This lack of awareness carried me all the way through high school. Starting in the third grade, I landed in the hospital every year for some kind of freak injury. The doctors just said I was unlucky. On a supposedly unrelated topic, every year at my well check I was told that I had scoliosis, and that if it got bad enough all they could do was put me in a brace. Every year my mom asked if there was something else they could do, and every year I got a few degrees closer to that brace.

My freshman year of high school, the year I was 2 degrees away from that brace, my freak accident of the year would spin me on a life-changing journey. To make a long story short, a several hundred pound lunch table fell on my foot, I was in a cast for 3 months and on crutches, and I tried every kind of therapy under the sun (everything from physical therapy to acupuncture having electric currents put through my leg). Nothing worked, and as a dancer I was infuriated--- I was out for the entire year. When my ordeal was close to over (my foot still hurt but I had quit therapy), a friend and I decided to try pilates. She just wanted to try it, and I wanted to get back in shape for the next dance season. Not only had I lost a whole year of intense training, my back hurt more than ever and I was going to a chiropractor twice a week. Not to mention I walked like Igore (I didn't believe my mom when she was always driving me crazy to walk normally). We took mat lessons with Deb, and after two lessons she pulled me aside and said, “Meghan, I usually don't do this, but you really need to do private lessons with me". My mom and I discussed it and decided to give it a try.

After only two lessons, Deb had figured out what countless doctors had failed to see--- my scoliosis was muscular, not skeletal. It was due to a muscle imbalance I had, my right side was much tighter than my left, and over time that had led my back to twist itself into two 13 degree curves. Deb explained that common symptoms of muscular scoliosis include clumsiness and--- she didn't even have to finish, my mom and I knew she was right. I continued my lessons with Deb, and my sophomore year my "falling down the stairs tally" (yes, my friends and I actually counted) dropped to 11“ all the way from 57 the previous year. My spine began to straighten almost right away. After four months, Deb had me roll down to show my mom the progress I had made, and my mom started crying in the middle of Deb's kitchen. About a year after I started lessons, I got a back x-ray and saw that my curve had dropped from two 13 degree curves to one 4 degree curve. 4 degrees. I couldn't believe it, nor could the doctors.

By then it was my junior year, and I went out on a huge, huge limb. I wore high heels for the first time to homecoming. The last time I tried on heels it was because my mom's feet were getting cut so I switched shoes with her. The "heels" were very chunky and about 1.5" high. I took two steps and fell face flat on the pavement. At homecoming I only tripped a couple of times“ my friends even noticed. Not only could I wear heels now, but my dance coaches actually pulled me aside and said they had never seen so much improvement in anyone so quickly. They asked what happened and I told them exactly what--- Deb. I wore heels to my Junior prom that year, and by the end of the year my "falling down the stairs tally" was (drumroll please) ZERO! I didn't fall once, not even in heels.

It really is amazing what a straight back can do for you. If it wasn't for Deb, I think I would have ended up going to college this year in a wheelchair. I can't believe how Deb was able to figure things out, it was like she had a sixth sense and knew exactly how to fix me. She not only fixed my back, but my hypermobility (I had dislocating shoulders and hips) has all but disappeared. I used to not even notice when my shoulders dislocated because it happened so often. I would reach out to grab something and out flew the shoulder. Now, it has happened maybe once or twice this year.

I can't thank Deb enough. I am so much healthier because of her. My mom doesn't have to rub my back every night, and I have been off painkillers for a very long time. I haven't been to the hospital since my junior year, and that wasn't even because of a freak injury. I can walk without wondering which piece of nothing I will trip on now, and I know it sounds silly, but I have been a lot more social since I have gained so much confidence in myself. I walked all over New York City in heels, and even when my heel got caught in a hole I didn't fall. I can wear flip-flops in the summer instead of having to wear tennis shoes for the support. I have a normal life now, and I owe a lot of it to Deb.

PS~ The one thing I will always remember about my graduation is not the speeches or getting handed my diploma. It is that I wore heels and walked across that stage without the thought of falling even crossing my mind. Not only that but I raced up the slippery plastic stands to give my mom a hug--- again without even worrying about falling. Those are the silly little things that can really change someone's life.

Meghan W