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 Ambassadorand how I teach this to other women, but have since 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 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 on spinal cord injuries (SCI) along the way.
Just 3 months ago on July 17th2019 I was rushed to A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich General hospital in a full body brace and x-rayed to discover a complete fracture to my T12 Vertebrae with part of the bone pressing on my spinal nerve…. 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 it 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 would be removed from touching the spinal cord which as it turned out was to have ‘incomplete’ damage. For those new to spinal cord injuries, incomplete damage has the better chance of making a level of recovery and gaining some sensation although not always, and there is no exact science to explain how much recovery will be made. A complete damage is where the cord has been severed or damaged whereby no improvement is made from the level of where the injury is and below. You may remember Christopher Reeve (Superman) who broke the top 2 vertebrae 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 no movement 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’ and I think you can see why! 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!