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In Your Own Words: Katrina’s Story


I’ve had lots of people asking how I went from being really active to being signed off from work and the gym, and needing emergency spinal surgery all within three week, it’s been a whirlwind!

The truth is I really don’t know, and my surgeon was baffled as to how I was squatting 75kg three weeks ago, doing HIIT classes, gym and work without any pain killers!

I’ve built up a strong pain threshold in my lower back in the 13 years I’ve suffered. Over Christmas I was crippled with lower back pain (and again in April). I’ve tried tablets, physio, massage, acupuncture, TENS machine, support belt, creams, sports tapes and god knows what else. With no relief!

On the 13th of April I had an MRI scan. This revealed the severity of my “bad back”, it was actually severe and really dangerous. I had seen a surgeon just over two weeks ago and he wanted me in for surgery in two to three weeks rather than right there and then, as I’d been so active and he wanted the swelling to go down. I was told without this surgery I’d be paralysed at the age of 32, and very fast! I was petrified when he said these words and in utter shock!

I’ve remained pretty positive and I feel very, very lucky that I had the chance to be fixed! Surgery day came, I was connected to a brain monitor because where they were operating is very dangerous for my brain. The surgery went well, five hours later I was starting to wake up. They had to decompress L3, L4 L5 and S1, and put some sort of protective stuff around my spine. The surgeon said it was tricky but I should make an awesome recovery as I’m young, my muscle and bone in that area is super strong! He said I also had something called Cauda Equina Syndrome, it’s very very rare and very dangerous, but they sorted me!

Katrina Xray

If you look at this X-ray of my spine (lower area) you can see how close I was to being paralysed and didn’t have a clue!!

My symptoms were: Pins and needles in my leg; Numb bum area (at times); Pain in my back (occasionally, but severe); Unable to straighten leg or put it flat (without pain).

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my family, and the biggest thank you to my Husband Keith for being there when we needed him the most – but that is his job!

I’m a little bit annoyed with how tiny my scar is! I did request a massive one so it looked like I survived a shark attack!!!!

Katrina Hospital