Please could you start by introducing yourself Karen?
How did you feel immediately after that?
What sort of treatment did you have before you found Verita Neuro?
How did you find Verita Neuro in the end?
And what made you decide to go for epidural stimulation treatment?
How was the experience of going to Thailand and the surgery experience?
When we got there, first of all we needed a COVID test. Then there was a full body scan and MRI, CT, everything, bloodwork, X rays etc. That was before the operation and then the operation was a seven hour operation. I went in smiling, came out praying and begging for morphine. It was pretty tough because I have two epidural stimulators, one in my upper body and one in my lower body, and the upper body was extremely painful. But after two days it felt better, and I had the most amazing care, the doctors were there every few hours. Whenever I rang the bell not just one nurse came, but three came into the room at once. I had everything, painkillers, whatever type of food I wanted. The care was just honestly amazing, I was just mind blown and I'm not just saying that. Just the thought of going to hospital anywhere else in the world, feels like no, no!
So you feel like the team looked after you then?
What was the recovery like after surgery?
How long did it take until you started seeing some results from that?
I was there for two months and as time was going on, of course, I could stand longer and I could walk longer and I could push a bit stronger and everything was just improving a little bit more. Of course then there was my upper body, and all of a sudden from hands that didn't work at all, I could even grasp a marker and I even wrote. I mean, it looked like a two year old’s writing, but after not writing for 3 and a half years or so, suddenly I could write and I could grasp a spoon and not have a spoon strapped to my hand. I could grasp it and eat by myself, so it was all really mind blowing.
How has life been since you got back from Thailand?
They just look like one of those old Nokia phones. You have programs A, B, and C, and on each one, you have 1 to 4. So you've got C1, C2, C3, so on and so forth, and each program is for a different movement. Even my physiotherapist, I work with my physiotherapist five days a week here, and even for him, it's mind blowing. For example, I do these bench presses, and it goes from 0, which is the easiest up to 26. In the last few months, I've gone from 0 to 14 - I can already leg press on degree 14 incline. Just so that you can understand that, when I first did it on 0 or 1, I thought “Wow, I can actually push myself!” and now I’m pushing myself on a 14 degree incline. So it's been really amazing. I'm still waiting for the day that I can actually stand up and hold my weight. I can't do it yet. Once I stand, the next thing will be to stand and take steps. I am walking in a type of walker, where my body weight is being supported and I can move my legs. It's been great, I can't wait till when I need to go back again. Because you need to get back at some point to do remapping. They're just so amazing and so professional. I was lucky that my physiotherapist joined me there because he really got to understand how to work the whole system.
What are your future goals from now?
What would you say to other people with spinal injuries that haven't considered having the treatment that you've had?
I didn't have anybody to ask, but I didn't care. It’s actually a very lonely injury. It's a very lonely world to be in a wheelchair. It’s not like breast cancer where there are support groups, and people who have breast cancer have the same disease. But with spinal cord injury, you can have nearly the same injury, but completely different symptoms. There are people with my injury level that can still walk, or people with my injury that are a lot worse than I am, so it’s different. When I first had the injury, I met this girl who had sort of an acrobatic injury and I said to her, “When you want to, let's start a support group, I really feel like I'd love to have somebody to talk to.” and she said “No, I don't want to hear anybody else's miserable story.” So, there are no support groups, not in Israel, at least.
I'm certainly glad I've had it done and I'm really looking forward to the future, and to see what the future brings. I really suggest to anyone who wants to do it, I would definitely, definitely suggest it.