On the first of June 2016 I had my nerve transplant surgery. Once I managed to arrange appointments with the right people, it all happened pretty fast. I saw a neuro consultant privately and in his own time, spoke to who is considered the best neurosurgeon in the UK, Professor Carlstead. I spoke with him and surgery was arranged the week later.
I have never had surgery and wondered if movement would improve without having it, so spoke with my Physio. We concluded that surgery was the only option for potentially more movement. It's annoying and frustrating that because the accident didn't happen over here, and it's not life threatening any more, I'm not a priority for the NHS to do much and I was referred to the wrong sectors and not a lot would happen.
I'm lucky that I'm a physiotherapist and know what needs to happen if I have any chance of my arm working again. I started talking to my GP before I even landed in England to get things started. I explained what happened New Year's Eve and that I needed to be referred to a neuro consultant as I was told that nerves had come out of the spinal cord that then go down your arm and work your arm muscles. Basically make your arm work.
For people that aren't aware, your body is separated into areas that are managed by certain sectors of the NHS. Even though your body comes as a whole. For example
Orthopaedic = anything to do with bones and muscles
Neurological = things to do with your brain and nerves
Endocrinology = hormones or areas of your body that secrete hormones
Another thing I should do is document more is about what injury I actually have as its not common knowledge and a lot of people think I've broken my arm or shoulder. I wish it was as simple as a break.
Both arms are controlled by the brachial plexus, a set of nerves that come out of the spinal cord by the bones in your neck. So the top of your spine, the cervical spine, consists of 7 vertebrae, 1-7 then the thoracic spine starts. It's all your back but just called different areas. So the nerve roots that make up the brachial plexus come out by c4-c7 and t1. The nerves run down your arm and innervate different muscles shown in the table provided. From the exploration that the surgeon performed, he found that c5 and c6 were avulsed from the nerve root. This means that the nerves were pulled out of the spinal cord and do not work the muscles of my arm.
This is the reason that I can't turn my hand over, bend my arm, move my arm out to the side, because the nerves that make the muscles work are gone. The surgeon transplanted nerves to the muscles that aren't working. I don't know if it's improved the movement in my arm till I can begin my Physio again, after 6 weeks of being in a brace. It's going to work. I have to believe it will and this is the sixth week.
Back to me:
Recently I've been so low. Fed up of not being able to do most things and bored of having too much time on my hands, or hand. I know that I have to think positively and I know all the things I should tell myself but it's not enough for me at this moment. I'm fed up of not being able to shower my body and hair, cook anything and not just use a microwave, open anything that needs 2 hands so everything, tie shoe laces, do buttons on jeans. The list goes on.
The worst thing about this accident and injury, is the question “am I going to be a Physio again?” And work. These 6, nearly 7 months have felt like so long. I'm not really occupied so a week feels like a month.
Last week I had my results of my brain scan. There's no long term damage and everything is healing. The areas of my brain that makes me a physio, has my personality, have not been damaged which is such good news.
I have had enough. Enough of fighting for any support, asking for everything. I feel like I've lost a massive part of who I was. The Sam I became last year is struggling to show. I have to keep reminding myself the time line…..
New Year's Eve sledging accident 50m off a mountain
2 weeks in coma
March was able to walk by myself
Mid March flew home
1st June nerve transplant surgery
6 weeks arm in sling
Once I remind myself, I give myself a little bit of a break but it's getting thin. I'm getting to the point that if I don't get some movement back in my arm, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
I'm glad that not many people have to go through this and have to remember that it will make me a better person and physio. In my 30 years I thought I had been through enough but it hasn't stopped yet. There must be a reason this has happened. Yet to figure it out.