Back to the future

On Thursday last week, I paid a final visit to the spinal surgeon.

It has taken me a while to recover, not because my back is particularly bad, or because it was an unpleasant experience, but because the journey home was gruelling, of which, more later.

This was six months ago. Not a pretty sight. I couldn’t walk for more than 5 minutes, sleeping was very difficult, the pain was strong and constant, despite powerful drugs. The displaced vertebra at the bottom of the left hand image was pressing against my spinal cord.

may-2016

The next one is three months after surgery. Still a fair bit of pain from muscles which were cut and reattached, and my spine was re-learning how it should behave. But you can see the fusion site is beginning to fill in with new bone around the dots which are the little ‘cage’ structure the surgeon implanted.

september-2016

This is now. The new bone is almost solid. Another 6 months, and you won’t be able to see the junction between the two adjacent vertebrae.

december-2016

I walked cheerfully and painlessly up the very steep hill from Brisbane’s Central Station to Wickham Terrace, the location of the Brisbane Private Hospital, and two hours later, back down the same hill. Without pain, without problems, and without painkillers. The surgery was complex, painful and expensive, but so, so worth it. The screws are strong and unmoving. The vertebral fusion site, filled with granules of artificial bone, is becoming more and more solid and stable – in another 6 months, it’ll be completely filled. The scar is small and minimal. I am so happy I went ahead with surgery.

And this is it. No more visits required, no more drugs. And most importantly, no more hanging around Brisbane Airport, waiting for a flight home. The catering for coeliacs in the Domestic terminal is virtually non-existent, and on Thursday, I was stuck there for EIGHT HOURS while my flight was delayed again, and again, and again. Having got up at 4.30am on Thursday to catch my flight in the morning, I didn’t fall into bed until 1.00am on Friday morning. I won’t miss that…

I have to have one more CT scan in six months, to give the surgeon one final image for his clinical study of this new surgical process. But I can get that done at home, no worries, and no travel!

My painful back is now a thing of the past… 🙂

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66 thoughts on “Back to the future

  1. Clare says:

    That’s so great to hear!

  2. craftycreeky says:

    Great news that it has gone so well, may the good progress continue 🙂

  3. I am so glad you are no longer in pain!

  4. Yay! I am thrilled! My dad had back pain that couldn’t be fixed, and I believe that it shortened his life because he couldn’t sleep properly. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, and especially not you!

  5. Wonderful news re your back’s progress. Not so good re the travel. But now onwards ♡

  6. I am exceedingly happy for you. You are right, not everyone gets such good results with surgery. I’m glad you finally have relief.

  7. anne54 says:

    Fantastic news, Kate! Isn’t it amazing what can be done now, and good on you for having the courage to go ahead with it.

  8. pattisj says:

    This is wonderful news, Kate! Except the part about the airport wait. But we won’t let that take away from the blessing of healing and removal of pain.

  9. lucyannluna says:

    Glad that phase is over, & it’s healing so well. I’m still finding the gluten free tricky at times, especially out & about. I mean how difficult is it, to stock a simple plain gluten free snack bar ( in a large establishment) I’m still shocked at the amount of added gluten in stuff you wouldn’t expect it to be in.

  10. Debbierose says:

    Brilliant news. Good to hear your doing well.

  11. nanacathy2 says:

    This is the best news I have heard this week. Big cheers from Yorkshire. Hurrah.

    • katechiconi says:

      You know what I’m enjoying most? Walking briskly! I’ll never bend as easily as I used to as the fused vertebrae simple don’t flex, but it’s great to be able to step out and actually GET somewhere!

  12. kathyreeves says:

    Hurray! This is a great way to start the new year!!

  13. kymlucas says:

    So happy you’re doing so well, Kate. And if I forget later, Happy Christmas from the northern hemisphere, where we are expecting a snowstorm. ❄️

  14. Jule says:

    Great news! 🙂

  15. Congratulations. I am so happy for you.

  16. Really uplifting news, am very very happy for you xxx

  17. dayphoto says:

    What a wonderful success! YAY! I am so glad you found him and everything is coming together! Traveling for people with Celiac is torture…Terry and I so understand. I’m glad you back home and HEALING!!!!

    Linda

  18. Kathy D says:

    That is terrific news! You said that you need one more ct scan for his study – is this a new way of doing the fusing and is he the only one that does this? I have been on “mind benders” ( pain drugs ) for over ten years and would love to get off them. Maybe I should get a mortgage on the house and make a trip down under!?? So happy for the spring in your step!

  19. ladyredspecs says:

    Great that you got conformation that all is progressing well internally too. I’ve noticed they cancel lots of flights to regional towns, very rude of the airlines to leave you cooling your heels for hours on end. Have a happy Christmas Kate, see you in 2017

    • katechiconi says:

      It was especially frustrating to watch flights take off to all the other regional towns! We were the last flight out of the airport that day, grrr. A very happy Christmas to you to, and to your family. See you next year, I hope 🙂

  20. rutigt says:

    I´m happy to hear that your back is so much better now!!!! Pain is no fun. Take care!!

  21. nettyg says:

    What great news! Lovely indigo artworks of your positive and successful healing journey.

  22. Hiep hiep hoera!! So glad your back troubles are over with!
    Many hugs,
    Esther

  23. Happy Dance just for you! So glad it worked. I know it was a long recovery slog, but well worth it in the end!

  24. Jen Gardener says:

    Yay for the road to recovery!

  25. Kirsten says:

    This is amazing! I am so pleased that it has all worked out. I find the images fascinating. Can you feel the screws through your skin?

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, but not like sharp poky bits, there are simple 4 extra bumps on either side of my spine, and you have to push in to feel them! Not creepy at all, it’s just like extra bits of bone.

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