Hello if you are still out there! I'm so sorry that I've been away for so long but surgery did not go as planned and my recovery has been extended by a number of weeks.
I had my surgery as intended on 5 th June and the implant was successfully placed in my spine. Took a good couple of weeks to get over the operation as I was very sore in both my back and stomach. My stomach where the battery pack was implanted was really swollen and very uncomfortable - it's weird to have a big lump of metal inside you as you can feel it when you move!! I've got used to it now and I can barely feel it, except when I lie on my stomach. The swelling has gone down but you can see the square edges of the box if I stand up straight - very flattering for a bikini summer!! I like it though - makes me unique!! Maybe I'll get a tattoo around it so that it is really noticeable - a picture of the Bionic Woman or something!!Here is a lovely picture of my swollen belly!! No Cow pyjamas this time so hopefully I won't end up with pages of comments about them!!
The wire this time had 8 electrodes on it so was a bit more powerful. After a couple of weeks, the implant was turned on and it was working wonderfully. It was such a relief after so many years of pain. Sadly after just a few days, the vibrations that should have been in my legs, disappeared and my ribs and the battery pack started vibrating - something wasn't right!! I also had severe pain in the back of my right shoulder blade. I returned to the hospital where it was x- rayed and we discovered that the wire had moved off to one side. Sadly the only way to sort this out was to have surgery. When I explained the pain in my shoulder, I was told that it was just where I was swollen and to keep my arm moving - which was virtually impossible. Surgery was scheduled for 5 days later.
I went back in and whilst on the operating table, they did some x-rays. As I was awake I could hear everything going on. Believe me it is very disconcerting when you can hear 5 or 6 doctors exclaiming "oh my god, I've never seen a lead migrate like this before. It's almost in her neck" The wire, in the 5 days had proceeded to climb up my spine and was sitting at the base of my neck, hence all the pain. An hour later (after being cut open before the anaesthetic had kicked in - oh my god that hurt), the wire was slid back into place, shoulder pain disappeared and I was stitched up.
I went home and was too afraid to move at all. And yet just 3 days later, the vibrations yet again disappeared and the shoulder pain came back. The pain got so bad that we actually ended up in A&E. Another x-ray showed that yet again the wire had moved - laterally this time. As this was a Saturday night there wasn't a lot we could do. My arm was immobilised in a sling. The reason for the pain was that the wire was resting on my brachial plexus nerve and was incredibly painful. On Monday morning I called the Consultant at the Pain Clinic. Luckily, they managed to squeeze me in the very next day and so on 8 th July - exactly 1 week since my previous surgery (stitches still in situ ), I returned for Operation number 3!!
This time there weren't taking any chances. The wire has now been secured with titanium plate at the base of my spine and then 4 wires come off it to anchor the main lead in place and to stop it rising up. The scar on the left is after the first operation when it was still fairly neat and tidy! The right and bottom pictures are of the scar now- big and ugly but hopefully time and bio oil will calm it down. It was so neat and small after the first operation - you can see the extra length by measuring it against the tattoo!! Thankfully, third time seems to be a charm and I am slowly getting my life back. It has taken a lot more time as I've had 3 operations in the same place in the space of a month. It is only recently that I've been able to sit for any length of time. I was supposed to return to work this week but sadly now I won't be back till mid September - 3 major spinal surgeries really take their toll!
So that's my story! I'm now officially bionic and build like a NASA space shuttle! I hope there are still a few of you out there to read this!! I promise to be back soon and thank you to those of you who have emailed me with get well soon messages. It really is appreciated. Also a belated thanks to OneOffDave and Kyle who donated money to my skydive - thank you so much. The memories of that day are certainly keeping me going!!