Cauda equina–12 weeks since surgery

IMG_0388It has now been just over 12 weeks since surgery (how time flies!) and so an update for my cauda equina syndrome (CES) recovery.

I have seen my Urology consultant, my orthopaedic consultant and my GP since I posted last. 

I’m still having to use single use intermittent catheters but have managed to get my prescription changed (thanks to my GP and consultant) to 100% Coloplast Speedicath compact (now I don’t have to ration them!).  This is the part of my condition that other people feel should be the worst part – but once you have a routine and have practiced it isn’t that bad (the hardest part is doing it away from home since you can’t follow your routine the same and end up doing it crammed in a toilet cubicle!)

My GP told me I was only his second patient ever patient to get cauda equina – a mark of how rare it is Sad smile  He did sign me off until I got to see my spinal consultant.

My spinal consultant was pleased with the progress I was making, so much so that he doesn’t need to see me again unless I want to – so I have a six month open appointment.  I was thoroughly examined, got to read my theatre notes, saw my MRI (above, taken just before surgery – can you see where the compression of my spinal cord is?), and I saw the X-rays of my back with retractors in.  In short any further recovery is down to how much my nerves are able to heal.  The best thing I can do is to remain as active as possible and to help that he said I could have a go at returning to work (as long as I was careful!)

I am walking further now, but I suspect that is more down to adaptation than healing.  I have gradually increased the distance I walk, and although I need a stick over longer distances, I have improved several-fold over the distance I could walk when I left hospital.  Whilst I don’t feel quite as able as I did before CES took hold, I do feel positive about my recovery and my future prospects.

A phased return to work should start soon – watch this space!

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