My Scoliosis is a big part of who I am. It changed me in ways I didn't know I could be changed in and most importantly.....it made me who I am now.
During the 2016 Easter holidays in May my mum first noticed the curve in my spine. We were at a beach hotel and I asked my mum if she could put sunscreen on my back. I bent down so my mum could put it on. My mum then noticed that my spine looked curved and when I stood up, one of my shoulders was lower than the other. She made an appointment straight away with one of the best orthopaedic surgeons in the world, Dr Sinclair. We went to him on May 1st and he did a few X-rays. It turned out that I had two curves in my spine. The first curve went to the right and was 60 degrees while the other curve went to the left and was 40 degrees. There are three options for treating Scoliosis.
1. Physical Therapy.
2. Wearing a brace.
3. Spinal Fusion Surgery.
The degrees of my curves were too severe for the first two options and therefore it only left me with the last option.
My Surgery was scheduled for May 22. Before my surgery I needed to go through many different tests to insure that my Surgery would go smoothly. I had a bending X-ray which was where the doctor put his knee into my side and looked at how far I could be bend around his knee. I know it sounds painful and I'm not going to lie, it was painful but it was important. The doctor did this test so he could see how flexible my spine was so he knew how far down he had to fuse. I can't exactly remember all the tests I had to go through but there are a few which I can clearly remember.
The test which I hated the most was where they had to see how good my nerve system was. They tested this by sending schock waves through my body. This was probably the most painful thing I have ever gone through in my life. I screamed and cried for the entire hour I was there. At one point, the doctor who did it leaned over my legs to adjust something and I felt such an urge to kick him but I stopped myself. There were a few more test that I had to go through but I wont go through all of them now because they aren't that interesting.
I had to come into hospital the day before my surgery so that they could prepare me. I wasn't allowed to eat anything and I got an enema. An enema is something which they give you through your bottom to make you go to the bathroom. I don't remember what else happened on that day but I know that my family spent most of the day with me.
The day of the Surgery I wasn't that nervous. Both my parents were there with me but when they weren't allowed to come into the operation room I did start crying. I was scared to death. A guy came to me and gave me something to calm down. I breathed it in and it smelt like oranges. Next thing I knew, I woke up in the ICU.
I don't remember much about what happened in the ICU because I was still half asleep and my brain wasn't fully awake. I was in the Surgery for 8 hours and I have 18 titanium screws in my back, nine screws on each side. The most I remember about the ICU was a lot of beeping machines and lots of nurses. Apparently my parents came to visit when I first woke up but I am not able to remember them coming in.
I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything for 3 days. This was due to the fact that through my surgery my stomach was stretched. There is a nerve around your stomach which first needed to settle down so I could eat again. I had morphine which is the strongest pain killer in the world. I wasn't in too much pain and because of the morphine I felt very happy all the time. I had needles in my hands to give me the nutrients that I needed. Once I was allowed to drink again I only drank orange juice and apple juice as water didn't go down well.
After 3 days I was told that I needed to start standing and sitting up again to get my blood flowing. I had big sock things around my legs to make sure my blood was still flowing as I didn't have any movements in my legs. I had a physical therapist who came to visit me in hospital but she wasn't any good. The doctor came everyday to see how I was doing and to make sure that everything was ok with my back. I had to take different painkillers three times a day and once a day I received an injection in my stomach which was very painful but I needed to take it to stop my blood from clotting.
I did start to get up but I needed help from my dad and it required a lot of effort and hurt badly. However, the stomach pain was only there when I was in a sitting or lying position but once I was up I was fine. I started to go for walks around the hospital with my parents helping me. Every night one of my parents would stay with me while the other parent was at home with my siblings.
After I was allowed to eat again, I started to get stomach pains near my appendix. The pain was so bad that I couldn't sit up. No one was able to figure out what was wrong with my stomach and I had many different tests done to find out what was happening. I still clearly remember the worst night of my time in hospital. My stomach pains had gotten to the point where they were unbearable. It was already around 8:00pm and the doctor wasn't at work anymore so the emergency doctor was called in. He gave me an injection to make my stomach relax which made Dr Sinclair extremely mad because my intestines were supposed to be working. I was in unbearable pain from 8:00pm to around midnight. I didn't get any sleep that night and I was exhausted.
After the 7 day we found out what was wrong with my stomach. I had a blocked intestine and to stop the pain I would need to get everything out of my system. I received another enema but it didn't work. I received many different syrups and medicines but nothing worked so I only ended up with one last option. I needed to drink an entire litre of this disgusting drink which was supposedly the strongest drink which would push everything out. I didn't think it would be too hard to drink but once I started drinking I nearly gagged. It was absolutely revolting! I threw it up every time I was nearly done with a bottle. I just couldn't keep it down. I would listen to music while trying to keep it down and my mum always kept encouraging me but nothing worked.
I then started taking a drink which was recommended by my mums friend. It didn't taste disgusting and I was able to keep it down. Although it wasn't as strong as the other one, it worked and everything started to come out of my system.
One time I stood up with the help of my dad but when my dad let go of me I begged him to hold me again just in case. Luckily I did that because as soon as he held me I passed out. I passed out once in hospital but I vomited many times which was horrible. After 9 days I was allowed to shower with the help of my mum because I still couldn't fully support myself. I was able to sit for longer periods of time and walking became easier. On day 9, I was told that I could go home in a few hours as my stomach was fine again. Just before I was going to leave I became stomach pains again which meant I had to stay another night. This really annoyed me because I was sick of the hospital room and food. On day 10 I was finally allowed to go home.
During my time in hospital I had many friends come and visit me which was amazing and really helped me get through my time in hospital. Everyone was really supportive and I received many texts, cards and gifts. My family supported me along every step of the way and I couldn't have done it with out them!
I watched Keeping up with Kardashians and MTV 24/7 which annoyed not only my parents but also the doctor:) I grew 3.5cm after my surgery as they stretched out my spine and brought my top curve down from 60 degrees to 15. I also lost 4 kilos which made me look horrible because I was pretty much a walking skeleton and I was extremely pale. I was 12 at the time of my surgery so it was hard for me, physically and mentally.
To anyone out there who has scoliosis and is getting a surgery done....don't be afraid. Everything will be fine. The most important thing for you to remember is to stay positive. Your recovery depends a lot on your mental state. It is horrible at the time but you come out the other side stronger then you were before. You will be a Spinal Fusion Survivor! If you have any questions feel free to ask me.