A slip disc accident changed my life, but a pause is not the end

Sadaf Siddiqi suffered a major slip disc accident, while pursuing her dream of becoming a cabin crew member. From flying high, working long shifts and lifting heavy-duty, she was suddenly in so much pain that she couldn't even stand straight and had to move back home to begin her treatment. Here’s her story.
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Her life changed, but she navigated it successfully. Image courtesy: Sadaf
Reader Submission Updated: 2 May 2021, 12:31 pm IST
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My name is Sadaf Siddiqi and I’m 25 years old, and I’m from Kalyan Thane. I was a flight attendant based in the Middle East. Back in May 2019, I came to Mumbai for my annual leads, and I was happy and excited, since I got 15 days leave.  I recall having two huge suitcases with me. So while taking them off the conveyor belt, I experienced shooting pain in my back. 

I had my accident at the airport

It was very hard for me to stand straight. But somehow, I managed to come out of the airport, my fiance was there to pick me up. As soon as I reached home, my mother made an appointment with an orthopaedic. At that time, he gave me some medicines and recommended some exercises, which I followed during my leave period, and took good care of myself. 

Struggled to be efficient as a cabin crew 

By the time I had to resume my duties, I began flying. And during that time, I realised that I cannot work efficiently with that back pain. I remember I was on my way to Australia, which was a 14-hour long flight that made me realise that there’s something more to my pain. 

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Sadaf Siddiqi loves travelling. Image courtesy: Sadaf Siddiqi
Diagnosis and resignation made me feel both sad and happy

I was detected with an annular tear and spine. I called my father and cried very much, as I could not bear the physical back pain and the mental trauma of losing my job that I had worked so hard to get. But all my father had to say was that if God forbid something happens to you, the company can replace you with another employee, we won’t be able to replace you with anyone or anything. 

So, I listened to him and resigned. To be honest, my response was very mixed. On one hand, I was very sad about all the losses and on the other, I was happy that nothing had happened. 

My parents and my fiancé were my rock

My parents were very supportive at that time, they started looking after me as if I was a baby again. My fiancé was the one who accompanied me to all my doctor visits. Everyone around me was pretty concerned about my health, and the various physical and mental problems that I underwent during the initial stage of my treatment. 

Sadaf Siddiqi
Family and friends been a key in my recovery. Image courtesy: Sadaf Siddiqi
Initial struggles due to change in my lifestyle

The pain made me feel restricted, and I was unable to move around easily. All this caused too much stress and depression, because I was so used to my lifestyle as a flight attendant. There was a time that I used to travel a minimum of three countries per week. And for a person with a life like this, it became very hard for me to deal with the pain and this new reality. 

To be honest, I would give up almost every day. Acceptance is a process that’s different for everyone. My family, fiancé, and friends stood like a solid rock for me throughout the whole treatment. My parents took the utmost care of my diet. My fiancé helped me with all the exercises and other activities. These things filled me with gratitude, and cheered me up whenever I was sad or lost. It’s a condition, which doesn’t go away. 

The doctor told me not to undergo any surgery, as I’m very young. Even today, there are times when my pain is unbearable. But, when I start paying attention to my health, the symptoms improve. I started physiotherapy traction, and brisk walking. I had to change almost everything after this accident. I haven’t travelled for so long, I haven’t been able to do any job. I cannot sit for many hours. In short, doing nothing can elevate my pain. 

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Life lesson: Positivity is the key

There are infinite lessons that I have learned during this period. And the two most important among them are; the first being the biggest wealth is only health. The second is, one should accept what the situation is, and stop thinking about what it used to be. 

I would like to tell the audience that no matter how bad the situation is, we can only deal with it and make it better with a positive mind, and the hope that good things will happen again. Just because you have a pause doesn’t mean it’s an end. You should only move forward In life.

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