So, having been building myself up to start a blog earlier this year, I find myself now writing to share a completely different topic to what I had first intended. I originally wanted to share how my positive mindset, self-belief and new-found confidence had blossomed through my opportunity of becoming a Tropic Ambassador and how I teach this to other women. But since then I have faced head on, a traumatic life- changing incident which I am even more passionate to blog about in the hope that it can help others in a similar situation or at least give hope and belief that we ALL have some control over our destinies. How we can cope with adversity and become the creators of our own happiness and success. Also I would like to help educate people, even if just a little, on spinal cord injuries (SCI) along the way.
Just 3 months ago on July 19th2019 I was rushed to A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich General hospital in a full body brace and x-rayed to discover a burst fracture to my T12 Vertebrae with part of the bone pressing on my spinal cord… the most complicated part of the injury! I will talk about how this injury occurred in a later blog as this is the hardest part for me to discuss but really needs to be addressed as part of my recovery. The prognosis was grim in A & E and my poor husband Martin was given the worse-case scenario of double incontinence and possible paralysis from the waist down. With me intoxicated with morphine direct from a drip and in a completely delusional state somewhere in cloud cuckoo land, I have a very vague memory of him crying in my face ‘Nikki, did you hear what they are saying? You may never walk again!’ It didn’t even begin to register with me.
The decision was made to operate and insert screws either side of the fractured vertebrae to stabilise it and give it a chance to heal. At the same time the bone pressing on the spinal cord would be removed. It would later evolve that my spinal cord damage was ‘incomplete’.
For those new to spinal cord injuries, incomplete damage has the better chance of making a level of recovery gaining back some sensation, although not always. There is no exact science as to how much recovery will be made. Complete spinal damage is where the cord has been severed or damaged to the extent where no improvement is made from the level of injury and below. You may remember Christopher Reeve (Superman) who broke the top 2 vertebrae (in his neck) with ‘complete’ spinal damage leaving him unable to move from the neck down and breathing with the use of a ventilator. I have seen patients in Sheffield with these injuries and it took my breath away and made me realise just how lucky I am. Tetralplegic is an injury from the neck down whereas Paraplegic is from the chest/waist down with some use of the arms.
The pictures show my damage which I finally plucked up the courage to see some 10 weeks later, and Martin’s new nickname for me is now ‘screwfix’ which is fairly self-explanatory! The scar was difficult for me to see as I am quite squeamish, but it gives me a great opportunity to show how amazing our Tropic ‘Tamanu’ healing balm is as it will help to fade the scar! I like to think of myself as the ‘bionic’ woman and can’t wait to go through security on my trip to Vietnam and Cambodia next February!