Girl walking tall afer spine operation
CO WEXFORD schoolgirl Shauna Franklin (pictured) has a fresh lease of life having had a hugely successful operation which has corrected the 80 degree curve in her spine to an 8 degree curve.
Shauna had the eight-hour operation in late September and can now return to her Junior Cert studies at Our Lady of Lourdes, New Ross, following the mid-term break. Her mother Lisa campaigned for her daughter to get the life-changing operation, having been told it would be take an inordinate amount of time for the procedure to happen.
Shauna, 14, suffers from double major idiopathic scoliosis, a progressive illness which caused her pain every day, leaving her exhausted. Prior to the operation she could not sit or stand for long without pain.
Having made representations to TDs Paul Kehoe and Liam Twomey, Lisa said pressure from the media, including this newspaper, helped her daughter finally get the life changing operation.
Describing the operation, Lisa said: 'They took 13 discs out and fused them back using bone fragments in between them so the spine becomes one solid piece of bone. Two titanium rods were placed on either side of her spine and bolted into place using screws.'
Shauna has restricted movement and has to use her knees to pick something off the ground.
Lisa said: 'It has been very tough but she's starting to feel a lot better. The operation went even better than the doctors had hoped. Because of the waiting list in Crumlin, she was transported to Blackrock Clinic for the operation.'
Lisa said if not for the sheer persistence of consultant Pat Kiely in Crumlin and Shauna's GP Dr Kevin Byrne, Shauna would be waiting until next year for the operation.
'We will have to keep monitoring her to ensure the rods in her back don't move.'
Lisa said the operation has given Shauna great confidence and a new lease of life, adding that throughout the lengthy period in which the family were forced to wait for an operation, her daughter's condition was worsening each day.
'The relief has been amazing. Two years of our lives went into this and there were plenty of tears along the way.
'It was gut wrenching but to walk into that operating room and to be told she wasn't paralysed and everything was a success was like all my birthdays and Christmases coming all at once. It was amazing.'