Woman with scoliosis dances again

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 17:52:00-04

TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — June is national scoliosis month. Scoliosis affects more than three million people a year. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature that occurs during the growth spurt just before puberty. But as one smart woman shows us the show goes on!

These dance shoes almost had to be retired.

Melissa Gonzalez said, “I definitely didn’t know if dancing would be something I would be able to do again.”

USF honors graduate Gonzalez’s spine looked like this. She had scoliosis. She wore a brace for three years. Only taking it off for dance class.

“I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t get comfortable. I was in so much pain”, she described.

So she had scoliosis correction surgery.

“When, you can imagine as child is going to go in and have surgery that’s about as devastating as it gets for parents,” Gonzalez’s father, Robert Gonzalez, said.

But ever the dancer, Gonzalez, kept her balance.

“She was very optimistic, very outgoing from the time I saw her, was not scared and knew that she could conquer this,” Dr.David Siambanes, St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Tampa, said.

Dr. Siambanes showed us. How he twisted her spine back into shape with rods and screws.

“It kinda opened my eyes on how quickly you could recover from this and that maybe I’m over restricting the children early on,” he said.

Gonzalez performed this routine just three months after her surgery, and even became captain of the USF dance team. Her spine went from what you see on the left ... To the image on the right.

“I danced with more passion because I knew what I had to lose,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez’s mother, Vickie Gonzalez, said, “We all suffer from different things, whether it’s physical, emotional. We all have to overcome them.”

So for Gonzalez, the shoes didn’t lose their groove.

And scoliosis didn’t steal her show.

Melissa wants to be an orthopedic surgeon. She graduated college in three years and is now studying for the MCAT.