After undergoing spinal fusion surgery last year, aspiring performer Morgan from Worksop is bouncing back. Morgan´s story is about the ongoing physical and emotional recovery and the resilience and determination of a teenage girl, passionate about a career in musical theatre. Morgan is an inspiration to all that when life knocks you down, it is possible to come back even stronger, in Morgan’s case with two titanium rods and 13 screws in her back! Here is her story:
“In December 2017, I was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and was told I had a 52 degree spinal curve, my right shoulder was higher than my left and my right shoulder blade was prominent. These symptoms became more noticeable over time and clothes didn´t always fit me very well. Throughout 2018 I was monitored regularly and by November surgery was the only option because my curve had increased by 5 degrees. I was absolutely devastated, my ambition is a career in performing arts, especially musical theatre, and I knew that working towards my dream would have to stop for a while. However, my parents and I agreed it was the best option for the future.
In December 2018 after an MRI scan, I was referred to a neurosurgeon and was told that I had a Chiari 1 Malformation and before my spinal fusion I needed decompression surgery, which meant removing 2cm of bone from the base of my skull. This was a complete shock to us all as I had no symptoms.
From March onwards I was busy with school and dance and even competed a few days before I was admitted to hospital on the 5th June. I was only in hospital for four days but due to cerebrospinal fluid leakage, I returned to hospital twice, the final time I was in theatre for a lumbar puncture and more stitches. At home I recovered slowly and gradually life settled down, although it was far from ‘normal’ for me as I was unable to carry on with all the performing arts classes to the same extent as previously. In August, there were more hospital appointments and the date for spinal fusion was arranged for 1st October.
Pre-op my curve had increased to 65 degrees but is now 21 degrees with the help of two titanium rods, 13 screws and re-spacing of my ribcage and I have a 12” scar which is healing well. I am 2cm taller and the imbalance in my shoulders has been corrected so I am almost symmetrical. I am still in recovery and have pain in my shoulder blades and numbness in my back due to the extent of the spinal surgery, I also suffer with headaches which I never had prior to the decompression surgery but I have been told everything should settle down in time. To find out more about my journey, please have a look at the blog written by my mum www.it-is-what-it-is.co.uk.
It has taken a long time to feel able to talk about my story but now I want to raise more awareness about Chiari 1 Malformation and Scoliosis. I am therefore trying to raise funds for the charities close to my heart, please see my Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/morgan-elshaw.
Finally, I entered a UK Miss Galaxy pageant competition (www.galaxypageantsuk.com) and I am through to the final! The ethos of the competition is about accepting who you are and being yourself, so I am looking to raise more awareness. I will compete against other contestants around my age from all over the UK. I am proud to be Miss Teen Nottinghamshire Galaxy. I am also a semi-finalist for Miss Teen Great Britain 2020 which takes place later this year.”
Thank you for reading my story.
Not perfect, just Morgan! Xx