The Operation

Around a day before the operation, the patient would have to go to the hospital to get used to the hospital and get last minute things done. After a long time in the car we arrived at the hospital in Stanmore. I really wasn’t that worried for some reason even though I knew that it was actually happening. I guess I just wanted to get fixed. We went inside and got showed to the room that we would be staying in. You get to take one of your parents in the room with you at night and I had my mum come in the same room with me while my dad was in a another room. I was really excited actually. The room had one hospital bed that was remote controlled to suit how you like to lay down. There was a bathroom and a roll out bed next to my bed. The day was very chilled and we did face masks in the evening and had snacks but I had to have a quick blood test which was completely fine.

The very next day was the day of the real surgery. I remember my mum asking how I was feeling and I guess the way I can describe it is getting in line for a crazy rollercoaster. Nervous, scared but excited. We didn’t know when I was due to have surgery as there was other kids but I was meant to go 3rd but that ending up changing.

Some people came in to help me if I have any concerns with the surgery and to know that I shouldn’t be worried. That seemed like it was over pretty quick as they came in with the hospital gown and super tight socks. This is where it be an to get so real. I was wheeled out to the room where I was going to be put to sleep. I was shaking and absolutely terrified. I felt like I just wanted to burst into tears and run away. I guess it’s just the fear of the unknown. I didn’t know what was really going to happen to me. I can’t even describe the fear I felt. We got to the room. I just couldn’t believe this was actually happening but my mum was there with me which made me a lot more comfortable.This was the moment I have been waiting for for months. I just wanted to get out of that room more than anything. They played music of my choice as they put me to sleep. They put a needle through my hand and tbh I didn’t even care about the pain at this point I was just so ready for this to be done with. I was now in tears. Once the needle was in they took it out so now there was just a tube in my hand. As I was panicking so much they had to put a mask over me to help me relax. Before I knew it I was knocked out. Straight as they put the mask on I just fell asleep.

After 4/5 hours later, I woke up. This was such an odd feeling. (I was super high from all of the medication.) everything was extremely blurry. Everyone was just blobs. I kept asking if it was over and if I had the surgery. I was so tired. I had never felt as tired as I did in them moments. It felt like every few seconds I would fall asleep and then wake up. My mum and dad were there along with a nurse. I was in the recovery room. Apparently everything I was saying was hilarious but I really can’t remember most of it. I remember singing really badly and doing Dora the explorer impressions.( and saying I’ll be the new Michael Jackson 😂) I did a lot of sleeping that day. After awhile my vision came back. Pain wise I was just uncomfortable. I felt no pain otherwise. I couldn’t move as I was super weak. I had this button that I could press if I needed more painkillers and through the tubes in my hand it would flood into my body. It’s pretty amazing how it does that. I had to drink a lot of water as I was extremely dehydrated as I wasn’t aloud to drink or eat at all before my surgery.

The day after surgery wasn’t as great. I had to flipped onto my side every few hours but it was extremely hard and super painful. They would hold on to me and push me over. It was horrible. I felt so sore and the pain was unimaginable. I was always uncomfortable no matter how I lay down which didn’t really help anything. I was able to eat that day which they said is really amazing as most people don’t have their appetite for a few days. My mum and dad were super helpful with anything I needed and I really love them for being able to help me through all of this pain. They very quickly wanted to try make me stand up. As you would think I definitely DIDNT want to try. When I did they made me try push myself up with my arms while I’m on my side. It was awful and excruciating as well as being super dizzy like the world was spinning around me. I was in agony as I sat there. I was wasn’t at all able to bend my back at that time so I was propped up really straight. I started to cry. This was when I realised recovery is not going to be an easy task. I managed to pull myself to my feet after a quick countdown. Standing up never felt so weird. My back was stiff and uncomfortable standing up and I attempted a few steps. (Obviously with nurses holding me) I wanted to lay back down as it took all my energy to just simply stand up. The night was ok. I had a button to press if I ever needed a nurse in the night to get me some water or something.

The next day I stood up again and managed to sit in a seat! Whilst sitting in that seat I had terrible pain as I expected. I don’t wanna go over every single time it hurt or I cried because I feel like you can generally tell that it was agonising and painful and I obviously cried a lot during the pain. I had to get the tubes taken out of my hand and start taking tablets. This made everything so much more painful but they topped up the painkillers whenever I needed them.

Everyday seemed to nearly be the same with trying to get up and taking tablets but eventually they got me to walk around the ward. Walking felt crazy baring in mind I’ve spent probably like 11 hours or less in bed and that’s only in the day. As I practised walking more it got so much easier. I was even able to go play some board games and things in the playroom they had. Luckily my friends were great and supportive and face timed me when I was feeling up to it. My grandparents and brother came to see me and gave me balloons and presents. My room was covered in cards and lovely presents from all my friends and family. I felt so cared for and loved with all of this support surrounding me.

Like I said the days were nearly exactly the same but in more detail I would wake up have painkillers, breakfast, a doctor and then another doctor and then other people and it went on like that until the afternoon. It seemed like as soon as I think I can rest some other doctors came in. Don’t get me wrong all of these people were amazing and helpful and I really admire them for what they do all day and night.

The day before I went back I was feeling pretty good. I could walk. The pain was definitely still there but I was capable of doing a lot more although I still couldn’t get out of bed by myself. I had an X-ray that day to see what my spine looked like and the before and after is incredible

I was and still am so amazed at what they had done to my spine.

The very next day I could finally leave! We already had our stuff packed and the doctors gave us painkillers for home and a few tools that will help me with things like picking up stuff and sitting on a toilet(a raised toilet seat.) I was so happy that I could finally leave and go home and see my doggies and brother and my grandad who was there at the time to take care of my brother. Getting in the car was funny. I banged my head trying to get in as I underestimated how much taller I was going to be 😂 When I got home I was making sure to walk around a lot to help get my flexibility in my back and shoulders again.

Now I just want to say a hugeeeeeee thank you to everyone who had helped and supported me through this whole experience of having scoliosis. It’s now been a month since surgery and I can’t describe how much better I feel! I feel amazing and I can do everything just as well as I could before surgery. I have the plasters taken off of my scar and it’s healing super well. I actually really love my scar and feel proud of it. If by any chance there is ever anyone reading having scoliosis I want them to know that it all works out for the better and shouldn’t be worried about any surgery or anything and that applies for any condition that needs surgery. There is still more of this blog to come! I will be able to post about getting the rods in my back lengthened which straightens my spine. Just thinking about how far I’ve come and what I’ve been through makes me cry as I am so appreciative of the technology that is in this day and age for being able to fix my spine. Once again one million thanks to people supporting em through this ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡☻☻☻

Pre Op

It was the day of my pre op and I’m actually feeling extremely nervous. I had to get a blood test which involves needles and I am very scared of needles. The whole build up to it was horrible. I panicked and worried for ages until I had to go back to the hospital. When I got there the wait was pretty quick. I was actually so so scared waking into that room. My family assured me that it wouldn’t hurt and I would be fine. I didn’t believe them. Luckily we were doing the blood test last. We began with height and weight. The blood pressure, heart rate. I had to have these wires connecting to me and I couldnt move until it’s done. It was really weird but kind of interesting at the same time. Now it had finally come for the part that I was incredibly terrified for. I had been given numbing cream before hand so they took it off and it felt so weird. I couldn’t feel anything when someone put pressure on it. They sat me down and put a tourniquet on me to make my veins pop out. My veins were so thin so they didn’t know what to do. I was panicking and I was so terrified when they brought the needle out. I looked at my mum who was holding my hand as they inserted the needle into my skin. It was a tiny quick pain that in a way I almost liked. They could only get one blood bottle out of that so I started to cry thinking they were gonna give me eight needles to give me the eight bottles they needed. They had to bring in another person to try get more. They poked my arm again next to the last one and couldn’t get anything. They kept calling themselves vampires which made me feel better as I have some sort of fascination with vampires.😂 They poked me on the other arm and still couldn’t get any. I was starting to get really upset and just wanted it to be over. They had no choice but to try one more time and they poked it in and it hurt and stung so much. I later found out that they had no choice but to poke me where the numbing cream wasn’t and I am still kind of upset about that. Then again if they told me I wouldn’t of let them do it. It was finally over. I wa ask relieved and proud that managed to keep it some what together. In the end I got to see my blood in the bottles which looked very cool actually. That made it a bit more worth it. Below me is my old x Ray of my spine. It isn’t up to date anymore and it is now bigger

Scroll further down to look at my previous section about my talk the surgeon. 

Meeting my Surgeon

During the school day I was picked up to go and see a surgeon who is going to help me decide what to do next. I had to go into the car for hours to finally get to London and into The National Orthopaedic Hospital. As we stepped out that car I was suddenly starting to feel some sort of sickly feeling or fear. Fear of there being nothing for them to do or finding out that my curve had become even worse than the last time I checked. I was told by a receptionist to wait to get another x ray done just to be up to date with what it looks like. After the first time of doing this I felt totally comfortable of taking another x Ray. (To read more about my x Ray go to my x Ray section of my blog.) Once that was sorted it was time for the real talk with the surgeon. I was sweating and felt so anxious and scared. I guess I really wanted it to be over. I was called to go to talk to him.

We all sat down and the surgeon greeted us. He put the x Ray on the screen and I just stared at it almost blaming myself for how big the curve was. The curve was even bigger than the last x Ray. When he told me that I was just shocked and felt my eyes start to water. This was just what I feared to happen. It was at least over 60 degrees and at this point in time it is probably even bigger than that. Now the part that I dreaded. Talking about surgery. Now we thought there were only two options:a brace(not a surgery) or the big spinal fusion to fuse my spine straight. The thing with the fusion is that it won’t allow my spine to grow any longer and my limbs would just grow more so I may be slightly deformed. The bad part was that my spine is not skeletally mature just yet and has a lot of growing to do and a brace would be useless with my spine. That scared me just thinking about it until he said that there was a third option! When he said that it made all of us confused as we were never told about a 3rd option. It is a magnetic rod surgery. This surgery is where they put a magnetic rod in my back that will straighten my spine with the push of a button. I was slightly unsure about it thinking that I still can’t grow my spine but then he told us that this surgery will allow my spine to actually grow! This option sounded brilliantly clever and I started to edge towards the option for that surgery! But they needed to discuss what bad things could possibly happen so I decided to stay out the room for this. I sat outside feeling actually mortified of the fact that what if there are so many horrible risks. What if one of them resulted in death? Luckily they weren’t even anywhere near than dramatic. I was expecting one of them to come out crying but everything was relaxed which reassured me that everything will be fine. The things that could happen could be a lot of blood loss, a screw coming lose etc. That doesn’t really frighten me as I know that can be fixed. We had to now book and appointment for surgery. We decided on the 10th of June which now is less than a month away! We thanked him for all his helped and he wished me the best of luck for the surgery. ( he is going to be the person who is going to perform surgery on me.) I had to take a few tests like height and weight and before we knew it we were on our way back home. Now we are just left with the decision on what surgery to go for. ( we have now chosen magnetic rods.) I left feeling a lot more confident than I came. Read below for my previous section on Hydrotherapy.

Hyrdrotherapy

Now after my physio assigned me to hydrotherapy lessons, I was pretty excited as I felt like it was gonna make stretching more fun. I woke up on a Thursday morning rather excited to start this. For my birthday my mum brought me a few things that I could use while we were there so I came fully prepared and ready to try this out. We got to the hospital and headed down to where we were meant to be. The pool was a lot smaller than I expected and already had a few kids younger than me in there. I saw my physio and she told me to quickly change into swimming clothes and have a shower. I suddenly became slightly nervous but I really wasn’t sure why. I usually always get butterfly’s in my stomach before swimming anyway so it was probably from the excitement! I quickly jumped in the shower for a minute and got out to get into the pool.

The pool was very warm and was definitely not at the normal temperature of your regular swimming pool at a leisure centre. My physio showed me one stretch at a time showing me the right way to do it and correcting me if I was doing something slightly wrong. It was actually relaxing and refreshing to stretch in the water. I used many bits of equipment like floats,rings and more. It is always good to know that I’m helping myself by doing this and it pushed to go that little bit further to make even more progress. Once it was done I got out and showered quickly again and got changed out of my swim suit. Id like to say I really recommend trying this out as it is an effective and fun activity to do. I’ve done this every Thursday for half an hour until a few weeks ago.

Orthopaedics

Honestly, trying to get an orthopaedic appointment wasn’t any easier. But we did end up getting an appointment. After getting to the hospital we had to sit down and wait for someone to take me for an x ray. I was more excited rather than nervous to get my x ray done as I could finally see and know how big my curve is. Eventually, I was called to go to get my x ray. I had to remove all metal from my body otherwise it would interfere with the quality of the x ray. I stood in a room with big machines and interesting technology. My parents stood behind the glass with the computer and other equipment. The women set up the machine and I had to stand in an instructed position and stay as still as I possibly could. When they were scanning I didn’t feel a thing and I expected to feel something yet there was nothing but the sound of the x ray machine doing its thing.

Once it was done, I was super exited to see the real thing. We had to now go to the orthopaedic and see what the thought of it. I went in and shook hands with the orthopaedic and sat down. I explained everything I felt as I did at all appointments then he put the x ray up on the screen. He started by saying that I most definitely have scoliosis and that its rather severe. He said that the degree of the top angle was over 55 degrees. That was shocking to all of us. I was told to seek a surgeon to know what to do next.

My next section will be on my first session of Hydrotherapy.

Physiotherapy

Finally after weeks of waiting, I went to my first physiotherapy session. I was rather nervous I have got to say as I didn’t really know what to expect. We sat in the waiting room for my therapist to come over and bring me to where we were gonna discuss my condition. When she came, we went behind one of many curtains and sat down. She asked me what I have been feeling lately and what the pain felt like. I explained to her what I was feeling and how I discovered that I had scoliosis. She wanted to take a look at it so I raised my shirt and bent down so she could see the curvature of my spine. She then began to feel each side of my back to see what it is like. One side is really tough and constantly working to keep my posture which causes stress on that side of my back. The other side felt normal like any other back. She said I also have tense leg muscles that need to be stretched and loosened up along with my hips and shoulders. I laid down on the bed as instructed and she started to show me multiple stretches for the tense areas. Near the end of the session I was handed a booklet full of the stretches that I need to do twice a day everyday. I must admit it can be hard to remember and do them twice a day but I know that at the end of the day, this will all help my back.

Bent But Not Broken: The Beginning

I guess to begin with I will talk about what was happening before I got a diagnosis from a doctor. Like any normal child, I would go to school everyday feeling confident of a great day. I began to see all of that slightly changing throughout the days at school as I began getting a strange pain in my back constantly all the time. The time where it would become unbearable would be walking back home from school. The pain would be stabbing and throbbing at my back, making me feel like I wanted to cry as no matter what I tried doing to stop it, like carrying my school bag by hand, it just wouldn’t stop! This kept repeating every single day and I would constantly complain about my back. But, I thought that maybe it was my back trying to adjust to a healthier posture and just left it at that and hoped it would stop.

Every Saturday, I would go to a gymnastics club for an hour with a coach. Everything was going well, no back pain or anything to do with my back. I began bending backwards, not thinking about if this was the thing that was making my back hurt and it felt weird bending back with a quick sharp pain while doing it. I tried doing some core conditioning by doing a dish shape. I struggled to stay up for more than three seconds before flopping back down. It wasn’t even my core that was in pain. It was my back again! My coach realised and began to inspect me. He ended up realising that one of my shoulders were higher up than the other and one shoulder blade was sticking out more than the other. I would later find out that they were signs of scoliosis and another sign, which I didn’t have, was one hip sticking out more than the other. My coach said that should get that checked up on by a doctor just in case it was something more serious.

The Trip To The Doctors

Later on, we booked an appointment with a doctor to get everything checked up on. During the school day, I was picked up and taken to the doctors. We all stayed in the waiting room way past our appointment time as that place is never really on time. We finally got called into the room and sat down with a doctor. I explained what I was experiencing recently and my dad thought I may have scoliosis a few nights before. The doctor confirmed that I have scoliosis after taking a look at my back. The one question we needed to ask is if I could do gymnastics anymore. They said most likely not but we would need to see an orthopaedic to really see if I can carry on. As if I wasn’t upset enough that really triggered my sadness. My mum was feeling the same way about it. It was hard to be told that you cant do what you love anymore, but especially hard to be told that you have something wrong with you. I generally believed that there was gonna be no way to fix this.

Even though it has been six weeks since I have been diagnosed, I can still remember the day like it was yesterday. Going home I was an emotional wreck. I felt sad and angry at myself as if it were my fault that it happened. It was very emotional for my entire family and I needed a day for it to sink in so I stayed off of school for the rest of the day. I sat down, when I got home, with my mum with some tea. We were extremely upset as I already explained. My mum reassured me that this could be turned into something better than the way we were seeing it. For example, it makes you unique and not like most other people. I called my grandma and talked to her about my whole situation. She said that maybe having to quit gymnastics could be an exciting opportunity to try out something new. You never know what could be your next focus. My mum and grandma told me that all of this is mendable and will not last forever. I’m so glad I have such support from all of my family members. I have got to say without them I don’t know how I would be feeling right now. I would hope that everyone has someone to talk too about what they are feeling in these lows points in life.

Contacting a Physio

Now knowing that I had scoliosis, I would need to try and get some appointments with a physiotherapist. While I was at school, my mum would call every single to day to try and book me an appointment in. Getting these appointments became very stressful for all of us as my referrals got so messed around. To begin with, it got lost in the system and then it got cancelled, got sent to the wrong hospital and eventually for what seemed like forever it got to the right place. During all the time it took, I was still suffering from painful backache. Eventually, we booked an appointment that was right for us and I was due for a physiotherapy appointment very soon. Knowing that I was going to physio definitely gave me some hope for the pain in back to either go away or become bearable.

My dad explained to me that he had found out about a gymnast that once had scoliosis and got surgery and when on to be a successful competitive gymnast. That made me feel good about my gymnastics whether I wanted to one day be competitive or just do it as a fun hobby. I decided that I would go back to the gym in the next session but just be weary of back.

During the next few days I will be talking about my physio appointments and x rays and my chat with an orthopaedic consultant.