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Living with spinal muscular atrophy and scoliosis by Chrystal - video podcast

Chrystal was born with a condition called spinal muscular atrophy. Recently she had to come to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for an operation to straighten her spine. Watch Chrystal's video to find out more about GOSH, and living with her condition.

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"I live at home with my mum and my two sisters. My sisters are my best friends and they make me feel like I am one of them so I do not need to feel any different to them.

Just the same

"I was born with a condition called spinal muscular atrophy. It affects the way my muscles work and so I use a wheelchair to get around. I think people judge you a lot, they do. They think you are different to them but we are not. We are just in a chair but we think the same as everyone else.

"My spine was crooked and curved because of scoliosis and so I had to go into GOSH to have spinal rods. These rods were to help me sit up straight and be more comfortable for longer.

"If I did not have them I would find it difficult to sit up and that would affect my breathing. If I did not have the operation it would get worse. I might have been in bed for the rest of my life, so that is why I had it done.

Best hospital in the world

"I have been coming to GOSH all my life. It is the best place to be, even though I do not like hospitals or doctors. I have always had a fear of stuff like that.

"The operation was going to take four hours. I got really scared as it got nearer and I did not want to do it. I got really worried. I did not want to have the anaesthetic but eventually I did and then they did the operation.

New energy

"The surgery went really well and six months later I had to go back for a check up. My back is now a lot more straight.

"I was allowed to go back to doing all the things I loved. I even went out on an outdoor activity course in Exmoor. We did kayaking, abseiling, canoeing and all sorts.

"Before my operation I would have been too scared to do anything like that. I have more energy and I like to go out more. I am so grateful I went through with it in the end.

"I would say that a positive attitude is really important. Without it you will not get anywhere. It makes a world of difference."

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