You shoot me down, I won’t fall, I am titanium

images (3)At the moment my downfall seems to be my titanium.  Along with storms Abigail and Barney – who names these storms??  Isn’t Barney a big, purple dinosaur?  Every time that we have a storm, particularly wi
th high winds, a couple of things happen in our house.  The  first is that our crazy mutt stalks the house panting and it is the only time that he won’t  stay in the kitchen at night.  Thunder and lightening or fireworks – he’ll just go into the garden and have a really good bark and then settle down; but when the weather is windy he becomes so upset and agitated, that I have wondered if he experiences some sort of pain.  Do the changes in air pressure cause him a problem with his inner ears in the same way that an aircraft can for us?

The other thing that happens when the weather changes is that the pain in my lower back increases.  It is more than just a drop in the temperature increasing nerve pain.  I feel a growing pressure and coldness in the spine along the whole length of the fusion and nothing will ease it.  Officially I don’t believe that there is any research or medical evidence to explain or corroborate this, but just reading other experiences online makes me think that it can’t be coincidence that so many with metal implants experience these sensations.  I do have one friend who had a titanium plate put into her thigh at The National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore and she was told by her surgeon that changes in air pressure can cause changes in the titanium.  Please don’t get me wrong, titanium has led  to some fantastic breakthroughs in surgery as it is a substance that causes very little reaction when implanted in the human body.  My own experience as a nurse was mainly in the use of osseo integrated implants for facial reconstruction – that is titanium studs anchored into the bones onto which false ears or noses, for example, were attached.  These were a true game changer in the treatment and enhancement of life quality for those undergoing major surgery for head & neck cancers.  The beauty of the titanium is that the bone actually grows into the metal – hence “osseo integrated” – and gives a solid base for prostheses.

When I had my first fusion I was told that the aim was for the pedicle screws to integrate with the spine, the rods to hold it all in place and eventually the bones would fuse with the help of a bone graft.  Unfortunately the bone graft did not take and the metalwork was not in the correct position- hence the need for a revision.  For me I believe that the fusion has increased my mobility problems, aggravated my hypermobile spine and left me more disabled – yes, I do regret having the second op and would urge anyone to think very carefully before undergoing surgery.  But sometimes it really isn’t that easy being in the patient’s seat – particularly when you feel desperate & it can seem like there aren’t many routes open to you.  I felt that my surgeon was only going to refer me for scs assessment after all surgical routes had been explored – so leaving me with no option but to undergo another fusion as a means to an end.  Whilst there should be an honest and open dialogue between patient and medic, it is still a case of our lives in their hands.

Back to David Guetta’s lyrics – but this time I can use them to describe me and my pain.  I am titanium as I battle constant pain:

Pain, “You shout it out,
But I can’t hear a word you say
I’m talking loud, not saying much
I’m criticized but all your bullets ricochet
You shoot me down, but I get up
I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium

images (4)
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
I am titanium”

24 years, 7 ops – but I won’t fall!

 

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