Monday, 25 January 2010

Gruesome bit

Hello again,

You have been warned in the title but if you have found yourself here by mistake there is still time to click back before reading on ...

Some of you are interested in what exactly I am going to have done to my back. You can in fact google and find videos of the procedure being performed on youtube (presumably edited...) but here is a brief summary.

I've got a scoliosis - spinal curvature - of 66 degrees, worsening at a rate of about a degree a year. It's painful, debilitating and affecting my breathing as my lungs are getting squashed. Left untreated the prognosis is not great...

Mr Stewart Tucker - one of the top spinal surgeons in the UK - has recommended surgery. An anterior release by right thoracotomy and a posterior instrumental fusion. This means an incision in my side to remove and shorten some ribs and rotate my spine, followed by a long incision down my back to expose the spine. Bits of my ribs will be used to fuse the vertebrae from T2 to L3 and titanium rods and screws will then be used as scaffolding to hold this work of art in place. Six hours in theatre and three days in the HDU then a further two weeks or so in hospital.

The fusion takes six months so I will have to wear a brace for that period of time. The rods and screws could theoretically be removed but most people keep them in unless they are causing trouble.

Apparently it is very painful, I will be pretty dependent on others for six weeks, and off work for 12. The pain should be controllable in hospital (bring on the morphine!) but I'm less sure about when I get home!

That's about it as far as the gruesome bit goes. I am pretty scared but guess it's an awfully big adventure. I'll try to post some pics for you all to see!



  1. It sounds scary Linda, but as one who has been there, it's doable. Put your faith in your surgeon who has tons of experience in this surgery. He will see you through this. And there will be loads of cheering from the sidelines.;)

    The end result will be so, so worth it! Wishing you all the very best of everything.

  2. Hey thanks Jen - so good to hear from you! xx

  3. Hi Linda

    We'll be following your blog (even the gruesome bits) and praying along the way.

    Sending lots of love

    Jane xxx

  4. Been thinking of you a lot today and all that you will be going through in the weeks to come. I will be checking in, following your progress, thinking of you and praying. Looking forward to meeting up again for coffee and chat when you're on the mend, just like we did yesterday. Take care and God Bless. Much love, Angela xx

  5. it won't be fun, but you'll be fine. HDU isn't as scary as you might imagine - just a normal ward with extra beepy machines....
    big hugs and many thoughts and prayers coming your way

  6. thanks to you all - loving the fact "gruesome bits" has more comments than any post so far ;-) x

  7. Have a friend who has had this condition for most of her life - she lives in Bristol now, I believe. She has had the same type of surgery, though the fusion bit wasn't as 'simple' as it seems now - it was nearer 9 months flat on a board for her - so you're getting off 'lightly'!!

    Will be praying


  8. Just discovered that my friend and her clergy husband are now over in the Ongar area.