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Prom Preparation

So, I’d had a CT scan, and we were playing the waiting game. You already know that this goes on for a while, but for me every day that went by, we could get a letter about it. I’d also worked out that we needed two weeks notice before the pre-op appointment, which was usually six weeks prior to surgery, giving us an eight week period to prepare from the day we heard about it.

As it got to March, we were sure that the operation would not take place until after my GCSE exams in June – they’d said that already but I thought there may have been a slight chance that it could be before. But that still put my attendance at prom at risk – it wasn’t until 19th July. That didn’t stop me buying my dress though, we decided that even if I couldn’t go, I could at least be ready to go, and get a lovely dress out of the whole experience.

Prom dress shopping is a lengthy, stressful procedure. We started in February, while on holiday in Bournemouth, where we went to Beales, House of Fraser, Monsoon, I can’t even remember where else! I think I spent more time in Wilkinson (lovely shop, but none near where I live!) buying my friend Jenny a birthday present, because I was missing her birthday party.

Anyway we got home, tried many more shops, and eventually someone suggested BHS because they had got some bridesmaids dresses there. I didn’t like any of them, but I did find a lovely dress in the petite section of their website. One click, and £40ish later, we’d ordered it. We got free delivery and £10 off because I bought some tights so that we spent over £50. It arrived, it fitted, and it was settled, I’d found my dress.

A small word about the dress. I was very particular, especially due to my back. It couldn’t be backless (for obvious reasons), it needed to come in at the waist (because I like that style), and disguise my mismatched hips (the waist style would help). Then there was colour to think about – I needed to like it and it needed to work with my complexion.

Now I’d got the dress, I needed the shoes and a bag to go with it. So we went to Clarks, we went to Schuh, we went to Shoe Zone, we went to Debenhams, we went to every single shop that had ever sold shoes in our local area. We ended up in New Look’s shoe basement. I didn’t want heels, because I wouldn’t be able to walk in them. We almost ruled out pumps because they never fit me. We were left with flip flops (NO!!), or sandals. We’d given up finding a coloured shoe to go with the dress, so finally went for some black and silver sandals, with no heel and one of the thinnest soles known to man. I could walk in them though, and they only cost about £15.

Luckily the bag was easy. I didn’t want a clutch, and I only needed it to be big enough to hold some money and a phone. We actually found one for £3 in cheap shop QS (aka Store Twenty One), a bright pink bag with a long strap which also detaches.

Anyway, I was all ready for prom, and I will leave it there for now, because I’ve probably bored some of you with all my talk about clothes and shoes! I will write about prom but for now, thanks for reading and I’d love a comment.

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CT Scan and Mock Exams

So, you are happily enjoying a lovely influx of new posts – it wont last, the internet was down when I wrote this, and I had nothing else to pass the time. This post will start a little random, because who can write a substantial blog entry about a CT scan, and also I like giving a bit of background to events.

It was December 2011, and I had won a Commitment Award at school. The Awards Evening was held at the Brighton Dome on a Monday and everyone involved got the day off to rehearse – I was also playing the violin and singing in the musical section. Anyway, we did the rehearsal and I received my memory stick on the night without falling over. For that bit I didn’t even have to worry about what to wear because it was school uniform. For the second half, I changed into my black top and skirt, which showed that my hips were uneven but didn’t really bother me too much, and went up to perform. I ended up playing in string group and then immediately coming off stage and going to sing Bohemian Rhapsody, I believe that was the order anyway. Neither went too badly, except I forgot most of the dance moves for the latter – it was all a bit last minute, but if the music department is reading, it was really fun.

Anyway, after this evening of busyness, we were all rewarded with a day off – but this was not a free day for me, my mock exams started on the Wednesday! We didn’t do every GCSE exam we’d do in the summer but we did a fair number, crammed into about the space of a week. I did very well, especially as once I had finished the following Wednesday, my bonus day off on the Thursday was…you’ve guessed it, a trip to St Thomas’!

Don’t mistake the above enthusiasm for excitement. I wasn’t as nervous as I had been for the MRI, but I still didn’t quite know what would happen inside the machine – for a start the MRI and CT machines look different. Anyway, it was just me and my mum this time, and we got the train up and walked to the hospital, just like we do every single time. Except the CT scan was not at the Evelina, it was in the Accident and Emergency department of the main hospital St Thomas’. We walked through the A&E waiting room, which wasn’t particularly full as it was a Thursday, and I was very impressed with their shoe-shop-style take a number and wait system (I know this is probably not exclusive to shoe shops, but that’s where I know it from).

The X-ray/CT scan part was deserted, so we didn’t have a long wait. As with the MRI, I had brought leggings and worn a T-shirt, which was fine except I hadn’t noticed the tiny sequins {what are they called} on the front. We ummed and ahhed with the radiologist, who we’d encountered before in the Evelina (I don’t think she remembered us!), but decided that I’d better wear a gown instead to be on the safe side, but at least I had the leggings to keep my legs warm!

I had brought my toy rabbit, French Rabbit, again, so he went into the room with me, but because of the radiation my mum had to wait outside. The machine for a CT scan is literally a donut, rather than something cave-like like the MRI, but apart from that it’s pretty much the same. I also couldn’t keep my hands by my sides, because they would obstruct the picture of my back that we needed, so there was a special bit on the bed-thingy (don’t know what it’s called) where you put your hands, basically above your head. Rabbit obviously was being held tightly there as well.

The whole process was over pretty quickly, about 5 or 10 mins, but I did get a sensation that I was about to fall backwards, probably because of where my hands were. We left via the gift shop (main hospital, the A&E doesn’t sell mugs with ‘I went to A&E’ on them!) and bought a bauble for the Christmas tree and browsed the cuddly toys – once I knew I was having surgery, I asked for a new one to make the occasion less scary (I was 15 but toys are very comforting during hard times). We went back to the train station via Rymans, where I bought a birthday present for my friend and a Things to Do list for myself. I can’t remember what we did for lunch though – M&S?

Well I think I have proven myself wrong, this is pretty much all a blog post about a CT scan, so I am going to stop typing, and you can have a breather, because my next posts will be less operation orientated – and then you’ll get the big ones. As always thank you for reading, and please comment if you want.

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November 2011 Appointment at the Evelina

Firstly, I am very sorry that I haven’t been posting, and that this means it’s very unlikely that I will be up to date by 1 year post op. Hopefully, my extra frees at college will mean that I can get on with writing this (as I am now), at least when I don’t have much work.

Today I am going to talk about the appointment I had in November 2011. Of all my experiences, this is one which I can’t really remember, so this post may be a bit light in detail. We had already had the bad news that surgery was imminent, so I was slightly more subdued in the days before the appointment. The Sunday before my mum and I had tried to go through the information booklet, but it had made me feel rather sick and hide in the toilet halfway through – we did skim the whole thing though, and think of a few questions to ask.

We got the train as usual, and then walked to the hospital. On arrival, we were sent up to X-ray, but luckily the wait was not as long as the last time we were there. When we returned to outpatients, we made completely sure that the nurses received the ‘Back from X-ray’ card, and awaited our consultation. We had the appointment with the actual consultant this time, Mr Lucas, but he also had the two registrars who had looked at me before popping in, probably to understand how you should break bad news to a patient properly.

After all the annoying nerve tests and physical examination, he got down to discussing the ins and outs of the actual procedure and the risks. I won’t go into them now, because I don’t want to and frankly can’t remember what he said anyway. But after that we were able to ask our questions – would it avoid my GCSEs? How long would I be in hospital? When would I be able to go shopping? The last one was my idea, but not because I go shopping a lot, I just wanted to know out of interest!

I was actually pretty calm, considering all the worry and pressure I was under, and I’m pretty sure we signed our forms and left. After a light lunch, we went to the Florence Nightingale Museum, which is on site at the hospital. I was studying the history of medicine for GCSE, but it was also an opportunity to do something nice while I was not crying about the appointment. I really recommend it, although it is quite a small museum and the audio tour involves a stethoscope so is a bit uncomfortable. You do get a sense though of Florence’s upbringing and what nursing in war was like, then and now.

Once that was over I bought a pen in the gift shop, and then we went home. I can’t remember at all what we did once home, but probably had a curry and watched something on TV. We had begun to play the waiting game, with the next step being a CT scan, which I will talk about next time.

Thanks as always for reading through this, and please comment below if you want to!

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Article in The Sunday Times Magazine

I promise there will be more posts very soon, but I wanted to write a quite note about an article about two sufferers of scoliosis in The Sunday Times Magazine today. It was a mother and daughter, both of whom had spinal fusion, and were surprised that it ran in families. I’m not quite sure the last part should be so surprising, as I was aware that there was commonly a family link.
You can read the article at http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/article1308528.ece but you need a subscription to read it all unfortunately