Burpengary yoga teacher Trudy Vains shares her story after enduring two spinal surgeries. Picture: Chris Higgins
Burpengary yoga teacher Trudy Vains shares her story after enduring two spinal surgeries. Picture: Chris Higgins

Coast woman follows in footsteps of Hollywood royalty

When Little House on the Prairie star and Hollywood celebrity Melissa Gilbert shared her experience with her fourth spinal surgery on social media, I hung on to every word of her story.

 

Like Gilbert, I have experienced multiple spinal surgeries, and have become adept at living with pain, but also healing with patience. Both myself and Gilbert recognise and endorse the importance of a positive mindset and a willingness to listen to your body when recovering from major surgery.

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Many people are afraid of surgery and will do almost anything to avoid it. I totally get it. As a yoga teacher, I believe in the power of movement and alternative therapies.

 

However, sometimes surgery is the best option.

 

I was scared, and the only way to proceed was to withdraw $35,000 from my super. But, when my only other option was life in a wheelchair, it became clear that spinal fusion, like Gilbert, was my only option.

 

Actress Melissa Gilbert has had four spinal surgeries. Picture: Monica Schipper/Getty Images
Actress Melissa Gilbert has had four spinal surgeries. Picture: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

 

 

I'm glad I did it. What price do you put on walking and living without pain?

The fact that I can walk and live mostly pain-free means I wake up grateful every day.

 

I applaud Gilbert's decision to share her surgery and recovery journey so openly, believing it is important for others experiencing back pain to see the success stories of surgery.

 

 

Trudy lives pain free after spinal surgery. Picture: Craig Vains
Trudy lives pain free after spinal surgery. Picture: Craig Vains

 

 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study on the Impacts of Back Pain revealed:

 

14 million people (1 in 6) had back problems in 2017-18

There were 181,000 spinal surgeries in that same period

Pain at least 'moderately' interfered with daily activities for almost 2 in 5 sufferers

 

I truly believe that if more people hear of success stories after spinal surgery like my own as well as Gilbert's, they may be less afraid to explore something that can be truly life saving.

 

 

It was this motivation to remove much of the stigma around spinal surgery that lead me to share my story so that others facing spine fusion could have a better understanding of what is involved, and how it can change your life, for the better.

 

My book, aptly named Fused, is a celebration of my strength and determination and serves as an inspiration to all. It will be launched on December 6.


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