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.
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.
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.
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… 🙂