It was 9 years ago when my mother discovered that there was a hump on my back. She flew into panic mode and was afraid that I would resemble the main character Quasimodo from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. The unprecedented discovery of my back “hump” was a worrying matter for my family. For the first few days upon discovering the hump, I would go to bed with a leaden heart, as I was worried about the possible conditions that I might be suffering from. It was a difficult period for myself. As a teenager, I enjoyed spending time with friends, and I was worried about losing all my fun and time. I was also pessimistic about my condition, and thought I was suffering from certain terminal illness.
We sought professional consultation with a health practitioner within days, and took some x-rays. After the X-ray imaginaries were developed, I was told that I have scoliosis, a condition where the cause is unknown. Scoliosis is a condition where there is a 3-dimensional torsional deformity of the spine and it will be more apparent during adolescence growth spurt period. I was referred for scoliosis bracing but I refused the rigid brace as I thought it will be stuffy, hot and restricting for me. Hence, they suggested an elastic brace that will promote a better posture for me. I was subsequently recommended by a friend who also has scoliosis to see a Chiropractor. I
went through several sessions with the chiropractor who specialised in treating scoliosis. The treatment has successfully maintained my scoliosis curve and improved my quality of life. Through those years, my parents sacrificed their time and energy to bring me to the chiropractic centre and they would always ensure that I would perform the exercises prescribed by the chiropractor. It was a life changing event for me. I got to know more about Chiropractic and was aspired to become a chiropractor. Till this day, I remain grateful for my friend’s recommendation. I decided to enrol into the chiropractic programme at International Medical University (IMU) to pursue the degree of BSc (Hon) Chiropractic so that I can provide an alternative option for people having with the same condition as me.
My life as a chiropractic student in IMU was eventful and worthwhile. The freshmen orientation event allowed new students to become acquainted despite being enrolled in different courses. Aside from the personal friendships, it also built a ground for us, the future medical professionals to understand different courses and opened the opportunities for future inter-profession relationships and collaborations.
The lecturers in the chiropractic faculty were all passionate in teaching and guiding all of the students since the first day of Semester 1. They were always there for us whenever we need help on academic or personal matters. Their patience and willingness in sharing and teaching their expertise have influenced and imparted great values in me, aspiring me to become a better person, and most importantly, a professional chiropractor.
In addition to academic life, the chiropractic course has its own activities such as Chiro Cup, Senior Junior Night and World Spine Day. These events created great opportunities for students to interact with the teaching staff, as well as bringing together the different batches of Chiropractic students. For my cohort (CH113), we organised an event for World Spine Day in 2014. The purpose of such an event was to create awareness of spinal health among the IMU community
My journey as a chiropractic student became more interesting when I started my internship at the IMU Community Centre and IMU Chiropractic Centre in Bukit Jalil. I was amazed by the extent to which chiropractic treatments can help my patients by alleviating the pain and improving their overall quality of life. I also took part in many spinal screening events at various communities and those experiences often reignite and reminded me of my aspiration to become a chiropractor. From experience, I believe that scoliosis screenings should be done in schools for early detection and intervention as there are still a lack of awareness among the community about this condition.
Furthermore, my classmates and I participated in the International Clinical Externship Program 2016 in Philippines. It was a cooperative outreach effort between IMU and RMIT University chiropractic students. We travelled to villages in Subic Bay, Tagaytay and Makati to provide chiropractic treatment to the locals. All of us had a good time providing healthcare to those in need and we overcame the language barrier by learning Tagalog. We also had the opportunity to exchange our skills and culture with the students from RMIT and had a lot of fun with the villagers. This memorable outreach event has fortified our passion in the chiropractic profession and I would love to participate in more of such events in the future.
My father once told me to be an ethical healthcare professional. In order to achieve that, I believe I should persevere at all times and do my best to fulfil my responsibilities as a chiropractic student. I was driven to learn as much as I could, to obtain more knowledge, to fully understand the content delivered in order to deliver an optimum patient care. My 4 years as a chiropractic student at IMU was a fruitful journey and eventually led me to start a professional career as a chiropractic resident at the IMU Chiropractic Centre after graduation.
I am grateful to my family, lecturers and friends who have remained by my side through these years. As learning never stops, I am also looking forward to further my studies in the future in order to contribute to the society and to the pioneering chiropractic profession.
Written by Tay Pei Shen
Edited by Yang I-Chieh
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