“I had taken care of my disabled child for 19 years and feared that because of my spine problem, I would become an invalid and someone would have to take care of me too. I was also skeptical about surgery but the doctor at Fortis, India, put my fears to rest and assured me that I would get back to my normal life.”
Many of us neglect a stiff back and carry on in our daily lives, thinking that it is a minor problem that would go away soon. It was the same with Urzulla Wada, a native of Poland, whose life revolved around her work as a philanthropist looking after underprivileged children. The 60-year-old led an active and involved life as founder of Aver Angela Wada Memorial Foundation and did not have time for much else. There were 50 marginalized children in her foundation and she was totally dedicated to her work with them. That is why she did not think too much of the slight niggle in her back that kept coming and going a couple of years ago.
But her busy life suddenly seemed to come to a standstill when the back pain started getting unbearable and interfered with her daily normal activities. It kept getting worse and no symptomatic treatment had much affect. In fact, after sometime it reached such a stage that she became confined to her bed and could not carry out her basic daily activities.
Having heard of Bangalore, the elderly Polish lady came here and consulted doctors at Fortis Hospitals and a timely lumbar fusion surgery ensured that she was rid of the excruciating pain.
HOW IT STARTED
“I had taken care of my dear child who was disabled for 19 long years, till her death. Once the back problem started getting bad, I dreaded that someone will have to take care of me the same way I took care of my daughter,” says Urzulla. As the philanthropist had feared, the back pain just got worse and then there came a time when she could not stand or walk. She left numbness in her legs and the painkillers prescribed to her did nothing to ease the pain. She was confined to her bed for almost five months, before she decided to come to India.
After consultations with Dr Rajkumar, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Fortis Hospitals and detailed examinations and tests, Ursulla was diagnosed with an unstable spine and the friction between the vertebral bones was causing the pain. She was advised to undergo surgery to stabilise the spine.
“I was skeptical and nervous about undergoing the surgery, because after all it was the spine. I was seriously opposed to surgery but Dr.Rajkumar explained to me how the surgery would benefit and promised that I could get back to my normal life after the operation,” remembers Urzulla.
Spinal fusion is a surgery to permanently join together two or more bones (vertebrae) in the spine so there is no movement between them. There are several ways of fusing vertebrae together: by using strips of bone graft material that may be placed over the back part of the spine or between the vertebrae. A synthetic bone substitute can also be used. Spinal fusion is usually done when there is injury to the bones in the spine; weak or unstable spine caused by infections or tumours or few other conditions such as arthritis of the spine.
Dr Rajkumar D V said: “Spinal fusion is a surgical treatment to stabilise the spinal vertebra and the disc or shock absorber between the vertebra. Lumbar fusion surgery is designed to create solid bone between the adjoining vertebra, eliminating any movement between the bones.
The surgery went off well and it came as a surprise to Urzulla that just 24 hours after the procedure was performed by Dr Rajkumar and his team, a physiotherapist came to the patient and asked her to walk.
“I was shocked and somehow tried putting my foot down. I walked finally and I could not believe my own eyes because I had not walked for the past five months. There was no numbness in my leg, I was so happy and so thankful to the doctor.” The pain has vanished and Urzulla was glad that she can taken care of herself then on!