Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Titanium Implants

First and foremost, thank you to those who visited this blog and left your comments. Please please don't hesitate to get in touch with me (my email address is available here) because this condition that we have can be a very hard thing to handle on our own. Perhaps by building a network, we can be there for one another and feel a little less lonely about suffering from Scoliosis.

There is a need to reach out and talk about things we don't get to talk about with our everyday friends (and family) who don't experience Scoliosis, and my aim here is to share my personal experiences as a Scoliosis patient. I hope one day others will share their experiences here too.

I talked about the titanium implants in my personal blog. If you've the time and wish to know about removal of titanium implants, do give it a read.

FYI, I had my fusion in October 2002, and had the implants removed due to infection in April 2008. A screw had broken and caused the implants to become loose (in laymen's terms). The area surrounding the implants became infected, and there were some symptoms involved.

Here I'd like to talk about the symptoms I experienced when infection developed due to the titanium implants. Perhaps this will be helpful to someone out there some day.

The first thing that I noticed was that my spine started hurting more and more. I'd given birth in December 2006, and by December 2007, I was experiencing pain nearly 24 hours a day. I thought it was because I was overdoing it. Our boy was hefty so I attributed the pain to the fact that I was always carrying him, so that was why the good ol' spine was always in pain. It's difficult to explain how the pain was like, but if you've had surgery and have implants on your spine, you'd know what I mean when I explain it like this.. it as if the implants were starting to bother me a lot more and the areas around the implants would throb and sometimes there were sharp pains that came suddenly.

By January 2008, I started developing high fever. The fever came on a daily basis, only subsiding whenever I took paracetamols. They did blood tests and at first could not find anything wrong. A month later I was still having fever everyday. A blood test at Assunta Hospital showed that there is infection somewhere in my body, but they could not detect the source. Then an x-ray showed me my worst fear; one of the screws on my spine had broken and the doctors suspected that that is causing infection in the surrounding area.

I frankly could not comprehend the news. It was difficult to accept the fact that they would have to open me up again, this time to remove the implants. Putting them in there was VERY painful. The pain is something I was not willing to go through again. Therefore I opted to see my surgeon (Prof Muhamad Razak, HUKM) to discuss pain management. At that time, removal of the implants was not an option for me.

By end of February I was on pain meds (Arcoxia being the drug of choice). The pain however did not go away. Even with the medication, I hardly slept because of the pain. It was difficult to get out of bed and work.

By March the pain had spread down my left leg and my left leg started losing sensation. By April I could hardly walk and had to be supported by family members when walking. I fell many times because the left leg could not support my weight and the right leg was getting weaker as well.

So in the end, a surgery was performed to take the implants out. The broken end of the screw, however, is still here in me.