19 July 2008

Sophie walks tall after serious spinal surgery

A TEENAGE girl recovering from surgery is trying to raise awareness over a debilitating spinal condition.

Sophie Equi (16), whose father David is the managing director of the Hamilton-based restaurant Equi’s, was diagnosed with scoliosis, or curvature of the spine at the age of 14.

But she was told by a doctor that while one of her hips was more pronounced than the other, the condition was normal.

After a growth spurt a year later, however, she experienced aching pains in her lower back and the condition got worse.

She now lives in Perth and was referred to the Royal Infirmary in the city for further investigation.

X-rays showed the extent of the scoliosis and the orthopedic surgeon there did not specialise in the condition and he referred Sophie to specialists in Edinburgh.

The former St Mary’s Primary and Holy Cross pupil said this week: “During the consultation the surgeon said that the only option was to have surgery otherwise I would become permanently demobilised and in constant pain.

“That was the worst day of my life. There was also a possibility of paralysis if, during the operation, my spinal chord became damaged.”

In February, Sophie went through an eight-hour operation involving 11 specialists.

She explained: “I was sliced open from the nape of my neck to the base of my spine.

“Two long titanium rods were screwed to my spine to straighten the curves and a bone graft taken from my pelvis used to fuse my spinal vertebrae.”

The operation was a success, but she lost her appetite for weeks and the morphine prescribed for the pain caused hallucinations and side effects.

Her muscles were pulled in awkward directions during physiotherapy and she found it unpleasant, but it helped her regain the confidence to walk on her own.

Dad David said: “She has shown tremendous spirit in overcoming this problem, her recovery was remarkable and she is an inspiration to anyone having major surgery.”

Sophie added: “I had to have the operation, I couldn’t spend the rest of my life restrained by scoliosis.”

“I believe that if everyone, including GPs, parents, teachers, children and MPs had access to knowledge of scoliosis it would help tackle the problem.

“It’s not something I can turn away from, and I will be contacting a charity ‘The Scoliosis Association’ that raises money for research and raising awareness.”

Visit: http://www.sauk.org.uk

No comments:

Post a Comment