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The Anticipation of Surgery

Tomorrow I am going into hospital so they can put a trial spinal chord stimulator (scs) into my back, which will hopefully reduce my chronic pain. If you've known me at all in the past four or five years, you'll probably be aware that in 2012 I was diagnosed with congenital syringomyelia. This basically means that residing in my spinal chord is a syrinx (or cyst); mine is pretty small, and I've had it since I was born so various doctors argued over whether I could technically get pain from this.

I have so many emotions about tomorrow. First of all, I am so very grateful to have this opportunity to have this treatment. I am so lucky. The treatment is new and not widely used because it's administered by pain clinics as opposed to neurologists or neurosurgeons. I also know that if I have these two surgeries and they help me, maybe I can help encourage the wider use of this treatment. Over the past couple of years I've fogged my brain up with medicine, and to be offered the potential of an alternative is so incredible.

My back condition has shaped my later teenage years; it completely hindered me through sixth form in terms of my grades and relationships. I love where I am studying, and the people I'm friends with but just to have been able to have the doors wide open would have been brilliant. On a personal level, as well, to have worked so hard and not achieve what I wanted to, and the affects of the condition on my mental health, to have a chance to know that I could have less pain, or even be pain free is amazing. When Prof. Eldabi looked at me and told me that he believed I was in pain and that I wasn't making it up, I cannot put into words how wonderful that was. Of course, my family and friends have been supportive throughout but an experience with a neurosurgeon a few years ago knocked my confidence.

Obviously I'm scared. Any medical procedure is scary - fear of the unknown and all that. But I know I'll be in good hands, and I know that this treatment could potentially improve my life so much.

Deep breaths.

You're stronger than you seem, braver than you believe, and smarter than you think. - A.A. Milne

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