Sunday, 20 October 2019

Back at the Flat

We are finally back home at our little flat and I can't tell you how good it feels.  Especially knowing that our friends Mark and Megan are having to stay an extra day at the hospital due to Mark having to have revision surgery.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and my heart literally hurts so much for you Mark, knowing you have to go back into surgery.  I think it would have broken me, it says so much about who you are and how strong you are that you have come through it with a positive attitude.  Please know we are here for you both as much as we possibly can be.

My three new discs plus two screws left from SIJ Fusion
I realise now there was nothing I could have done to prepare myself mentally for this surgery.  It has been much harder than anything I had even vaguely imagined.  The pain has been the worst I have even endured and frankly I would preferred to have given birth.  It is the most relentless pain I have ever experienced.  

I also know that nothing Craig could have done would have prepared him for being my unwavering support throughout this.  I know at times I have frightened the absolute crap out of him and how he has kept it together for me is beyond my comprehension.  Craig has been my absolute rock throughout this and I could not have done this without him.  His strength and determination to see me through this has given me courage I didn't know I had.  If there were ever two people who belonged together, it's us. 

The SIJ revision pain is, I think, worse than anything else.  I am greatly saddened that only two of the four screws could be removed with my surgeon even breaking the screw driver head off in one of the screws, which will have to stay there forever now.  I am at least grateful that the screw that the previous surgeon had so carelessly screwed onto a nerve has gone and with it the intense pain it caused.  At the moment it's too early to know if that will improve the pain from an operation that was never needed in the first place and it's hard not to be angry at the original surgeon for his total disregard for whether it was a necessary operation or how carefully he actually performed it.

The new discs whilst bending

The pain from the 3 level artificial disc replacement is 'interesting'. It goes from being very intense to completely disappearing and then reappearing in my legs like the worst ache after doing a marathon, not that I have ever done a marathon!!!  I am not sure you can mentally get yourself ready for a big operation like this and talking to fellow patients at the hospital undergoing the same type of operation they agreed, no amount of preparation would have got me ready for this.

Being in Switzerland has definitely brought it's challenges but really I cannot praise Dr Rishcke and his team enough for their care and expertise. The nurses too were absolutely incredible, with the exception of one, who definitely needs to find a new career! I have to make special mention to nurse Ilir (pronounced Il-iya) who has only been a nurse for just two months but whose calling is definitely nursing. He was so nice to me at my lowest points and I can't thank him enough.  

I also have to say a very special thank you to Dr Elke Schweingruber (I hope I spelt it right!) who was my anesthetist and so much more.  She was amazing and tried so hard to help me with my pain, even at one point placing acupuncture needles in my ears and turning to other alternative remedies to help me.  It really is time for the rest of the world to look at how alternative and modern medicine can work in unison. So many countries discount alternative medicine as rubbish, but I now know first hand how incredibly powerful it can be when used in conjunction with each other.  

Make sure you watch this video, it's my favourite!!!

It hasn't all been tears and misery, Craig and I have managed to grab the odd giggle here and there that has made our situation easier.  Although I think maybe I was the only one giggling as Craig was told he had to inject me with a DVT injections for the next 14 days.  Last night as he stabbed me for the first time, he turned a horrible shade of grey.  But strangely the whole thing was still a lighthearted moment in what has been the toughest time of my life. 

Equally the visits we have received in hospital from family and friends lifted my spirits more than you will ever know.  I know at times I may have seemed like I was completely unconscious or out of it, I did know you were there and it meant so much to me.  During one visit with my 'Tilling family' I could hear everyone talking but couldn't find the will to even open my eyes, but as I felt Andrew slip his hand into mine I remember how happy I was that you were all there.  

Thank you so much to my Aunt who has visited numerous times, for sitting with me and even rubbing my sore legs.  To my Uncle Bob who came over from the UK, your visit meant so much to me and it was good to give you a hug after so long.  Last but certainly not least my beautiful sister who continues to support Craig and I, you mean the world to me. 

The support I have had from all of you at home has also been amazing, the emails, messages and texts have been beautiful.  I have been in contact with my wonderful folks and children most days and it has cheered me up every time I have spoken to them, even though I miss them more than I could have ever imagined.

To sum up, what I have learned so far on this journey is that everyone is different and everyone heals at a different speed.  Some are lucky and escape much of the pain whilst others feel everything.  The 'distraction' pain has been one of the hardest things to understand.  In my head I had decided that this only affected really fit people because their muscles were tight and toned, therefore the extra height they gain (and yes I am around 3cm taller!) and the subsequent muscle and ligament stretching was the reason behind the pain.  This doesn't appear to be the case as I am the least fit person I know and certainly don't have toned legs!! It just appears to be the luck of the draw.

Pain is really just a lottery, a roll of the dice as to whether you will get it or not.  It can't be predicted and it can't be deliberately avoided. If you are unlucky enough to get it, you just have to work through it.  If you are lucky enough to get away with it, then enjoy a walk around the lake and take in the sights!   

The day of the operation in my pre-operation gown

It would be easy to be put off ADR surgery reading this blog, but that truly isn't my intention.  At the end of the day I had no alternative open to me but this surgery, and I know each day will get easier and as I start physio I will start to see real progress.  I just want to be honest in my account of this journey so that others facing the same decisions as we did, go into this with their eyes wide open.  It is not an easy journey but one that many of us have to take because there is no other choice.  

Love Kate & Craig x

Ps Our Go Fund Me page is still up and running and if you can we would really appreciate your help!



  1. Kate, it is truly encouraging to read your blog on ADR experience. Your surgery was for sure a very complicated one. Take your time to recover and don’t rush on anything. All the best for you on your healing and recovery. What a great blessing having family visiting and also your husband being there with you every step of the journey.

    1. Thanks so much Marco, it is my great hope that our story will help others as they go through the same thing x thanks for your well wishes it means a lot. Kx


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