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Personal trainer mum-of-three, 43, reveals how a stubborn chest cough led to a horror diagnosis

A personal trainer and mother of three has revealed how a cough led to a horror diagnosis of something far more sinister.

At the age of 12, Vanessa Laub, 42, went to visit her doctor for what she thought was a stubborn chest cough, but she was diagnosed with scoliosis – a major curvature of the spine that can occur among teenagers during growth spurts and puberty.

Despite being told she would be in a wheelchair by the age of 21, Mrs Laub, from Brisbane, has defied the odds to go on and have three children and become a personal trainer. 

Mrs Laub said she refused to have surgery and instead decided to work on her fitness by strengthening her muscles to support her back.

A personal trainer and mother of three has revealed how a cough led to a horror diagnosis of something far more sinister (Vanessa Laub pictured)

A personal trainer and mother of three has revealed how a cough led to a horror diagnosis of something far more sinister (Vanessa Laub pictured)

A personal trainer and mother of three has revealed how a cough led to a horror diagnosis of something far more sinister (Vanessa Laub pictured)

Mrs Laub was diagnosed with scoliosis and told she wouldn't be able to have children. But she had defied the odds and now has three sons (pictured) as well as becoming a personal trainer

Mrs Laub was diagnosed with scoliosis and told she wouldn't be able to have children. But she had defied the odds and now has three sons (pictured) as well as becoming a personal trainer

Mrs Laub was diagnosed with scoliosis and told she wouldn’t be able to have children. But she had defied the odds and now has three sons (pictured) as well as becoming a personal trainer

After being diagnosed, Mrs Laub said she had to wear a thick plastic back brace to avoid the spine from curving further – which is a method still used today.

‘Wearing the brace was the worst part about the whole process – I had to wear it 23 hours a day and could only remove it when showering or swimming,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

For four years between the age of 12 and 16 Mrs Laub wore the brace that ran from below the breast to the pubic bone, which she described as ‘awfully uncomfortable’ and ’embarrassing to wear’.

‘It was awful growing up wearing the brace because other kids used to make fun of me and call me a robot,’ she said, adding the brace also limited how much she could eat,’ she said.

‘It was a horrible thing because I couldn’t wear certain clothes and couldn’t go to the beach, it was truly awful.’ 

Mrs Laub said she has no family history of scoliosis and was surprised this occurred because she’s only 150 centimetres tall. 

For four years between the age of 12 to 16 Mrs Laub wore the brace that ran from below the breast to the pubic bone, which she described as 'awfully uncomfortable' and 'embarrassing to wear'

For four years between the age of 12 to 16 Mrs Laub wore the brace that ran from below the breast to the pubic bone, which she described as 'awfully uncomfortable' and 'embarrassing to wear'

Mrs Laub said she has no family history of scoliosis and was surprised this occurred because she's only 150 centimetres tall

Mrs Laub said she has no family history of scoliosis and was surprised this occurred because she's only 150 centimetres tall

For four years between the age of 12 to 16 Mrs Laub wore the brace that ran from below the breast to the pubic bone, which she described as ‘awfully uncomfortable’ and ’embarrassing to wear’

Mrs Laub (pictured) said she has no family history of scoliosis and was surprised this occurred because she's only 150 centimetres tall

Mrs Laub (pictured) said she has no family history of scoliosis and was surprised this occurred because she's only 150 centimetres tall

Mrs Laub (pictured) said she has no family history of scoliosis and was surprised this occurred because she’s only 150 centimetres tall

Although doctors told her she would be wheelchair-bound and wouldn't be able to have children past the age of 21, Mrs Laub had her first son by 24

Although doctors told her she would be wheelchair-bound and wouldn't be able to have children past the age of 21, Mrs Laub had her first son by 24

Although doctors told her she would be wheelchair-bound and wouldn’t be able to have children past the age of 21, Mrs Laub had her first son by 24

WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS AND WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? 

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty

While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown

About 3 per cent of adolescents have scoliosis

Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some spine deformities continue to get more severe as children grow

Severe scoliosis can be disabling 

Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may include uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other, uneven waist, one hip higher than the other

Source: Mayoclinic 

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Mrs Laub (pictured) never had any surgery, rebelled against wearing the back brace and instead began swimming and dancing again

Mrs Laub (pictured) never had any surgery, rebelled against wearing the back brace and instead began swimming and dancing again

Mrs Laub (pictured) never had any surgery, rebelled against wearing the back brace and instead began swimming and dancing again

Despite wearing the brace, Mrs Laub’s condition worsened and at age 16 a specialist doctor strongly recommended surgery to insert rods into the back to support either side of the spine – but she refused.

‘I said no because to me this wouldn’t be an improvement; If I had the surgery I wouldn’t be able to bend over ever again, which seemed far worse than having a curved spine,’ she said.

Mrs Laub never had any surgery, rebelled against wearing the back brace and instead began swimming and dancing again. 

And although doctors told her she would be wheelchair-bound and wouldn’t be able to have children past the age of 21, Mrs Laub had her first son at 24. 

'Doctors told me if I got pregnant I wouldn't be able to carry the child and it would cause a lot of issues for my spine, but it didn't,' she said

'Doctors told me if I got pregnant I wouldn't be able to carry the child and it would cause a lot of issues for my spine, but it didn't,' she said

‘Doctors told me if I got pregnant I wouldn’t be able to carry the child and it would cause a lot of issues for my spine, but it didn’t,’ she said 

‘Doctors told me if I got pregnant I wouldn’t be able to carry the child and it would cause a lot of issues for my spine, but it didn’t,’ she said. 

She said her son’s condition also didn’t occur because of her scoliosis. 

In order to support herself and be able to carry her son, she started weight training to strengthen her muscles. 

After her divorce at age 38, Mrs Laub decided to become a personal trainer herself at Goodlife Health Clubs where she found a love and passion for helping others through fitness.

‘My clients are the ones who inspire me everyday to keep going and stay strong,’ she said.

She has worked a lot on strengthening her core, which has helped her spine. 

Mrs Laub said in order to support herself and be able to carry her son, she started weight training to strengthen her muscles

Mrs Laub said in order to support herself and be able to carry her son, she started weight training to strengthen her muscles

Mrs Laub said in order to support herself and be able to carry her son, she started weight training to strengthen her muscles

After her divorced at age 38, Mrs Laub decided to become a personal trainer herself at Goodlife Health Clubs

After her divorced at age 38, Mrs Laub decided to become a personal trainer herself at Goodlife Health Clubs

'My clients are the ones who inspire me everyday to keep going and stay strong,' she said

'My clients are the ones who inspire me everyday to keep going and stay strong,' she said

‘My clients are the ones who inspire me everyday to keep going and stay strong,’ she said

Mrs Laub remarried last year and lives a happy lifestyle with her family and works out regularly.

Although she has lived with scoliosis for most of her life, she said she has never experience any pain and can do every exercise possible at the gym.

Mrs Laub hopes her story can inspire others living with the same condition to not give up and exercise as much as possible to help the body both mentally and physically.

Source: Daily Mail Australia | News Colony

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