Thursday, December 10, 2020

Scoliosis patient's real life experience.

This is my spine xray still the same as of yesterday since Feb 17 2014 8.30pm. My scoliosis surgery was only 2.5hrs operative done in a teaching hospital in Malaysia. I had my 6+ years post ops review yesterday at the hospital I had my scoliosis surgery. You must be thinking my "bad spine" is due to bad accident or cause by my heavy load school bag. Answer is No, it is because I have idiopathic scoliosis. It started during my teens days it was mild curve even up to early adulthood. That is why I do not need surgical intervention earlier. Unfortunately my scoliosis continue to progress at the very slow rate even I had obtain mature skeletal. Over many decades and years it touched 65 cobb degree. It cause me to have asymmetrical shoulder and pelvic. To prevent my scoliosis to goes further to compress my internal organs, I was so glad and happy that my health condition and bone density fits the criteria for surgical candidate. I undergone scoliosis fussion surgery as adult scoliosis patient. From 17th Feb 2014 8.30pm, I have a better posture - symmetrical pelvic, shoulder and balance plumbline. In this post ops 6yrs I had accidentally fell and slip into the drain- whole body, slip and fell on a hard ground got my right knee bruise while walking on my high heels shoes. I went for knee xray cause the pain level was 8/10. Beside that I also slip and fell in a stream while trekking. I carried backpack loaded with my long lens, camera gears - estimated by 7kg , dragged along luggage bags using public transports in Sri Lanka did backpacking holidays. Last I was there living for 27 days travelling alone from one town to another lugging along my suitcase, camera gears and tripod using mode of transport public buses and train.

WFH due to covid 19 pandemic I sit on a stools for hours. My nature of job as a database administrator in a financial institute, there are days I work with no sleep. My fuse spine of T3 - L2 has no complains. The secret is I adhere to all the recovery instructions formula given by my spine surgeons. I diligently doing core back exercises since 12 weeks post ops. So in short, though I have a fuse spine because of fusion scoliosis surgery, yet I lives like any normal people.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Life and Beyond After Scoliosis Fusion Surgery..

 20th Nov 2020

I am approaching 7 years anniversary fusion scoliosis ops in 3 months. Scoliosis is the abnormal curve of the spine. People who has scoliosis curve that are greater than 70 degree is not only have “weird body posture” but also internal organs compression. The abnormal spine will push and encroached into the space of lung, heart, kidney, gastrointestinal in short internal organs. As the scoliosis curve keep on progress beyond 70 degree it will compress the internal organs. Along my voluntary scoliosis patients support journey since 2014, I have met kids that are just 12 years old but due to their scoliosis curve are very huge they cannot even run and be active like a normal 12 years child. I have also met someone lying on hospital bed told me this statement “ .. I really regret taking scoliosis very lightly. Over long period of years it has destroyed my kidney. I have to remove it....” . I also have read real live stories that people die due to severe scoliosis curve cause cardio and pulmonary complications. I also have bump into a super duper severe scoliosis man in a supermarket using oxygen pushing a cart with a oxygen tank.

So those parents that have young children do not take scoliosis “weird body structure” lightly. Do not shy away or having the perception that once I consult a spine specialist surely pronounced need surgical intervention. Spine surgery is not needed should the scoliosis is still mild. For children who are still in their growth spurt should their scoliosis curve is within 25 – 40 cobb degree scoliosis brace will be administer. This group of scoliosis children if they want to avoid spine surgery they need to wear their brace at least 13 hours per day and also diligently performing core back exercises. Personally I have met with scoliosis kids that are very compliance to bracing and diligently performing core back exercise as well active in sports they are brace free at age 17 and scoliosis surgery is not needed. Children who are still in their growth spurt, their body structure changing very fast. Bracing is to control the scoliosis curve to progress fast and hopefully by taking the advantage of gaining heights as they turning from teens to adulthood their scoliosis curve can reduce.

For this scoliosis kids that brace free at Age 17 that are consider brace success, my advise to them is always remember that scoliosis is an enemy. They should continue to control the scoliosis by diligently doing core back exercise to build strong core muscles to prevent the natural gravitation pull the spine to progress. Do not neglect follow-up in the hospital as well. Now the follow-up could be space up to TCA -To come again 3 – 5 years . With this will able to monitor and keep track the scoliosis curve condition.

Some scoliosis patients maybe like my case. My scoliosis was not severe during my teens days, therefore surgery intervention was not needed then.

There are many general public, those with little knowledge of scoliosis think that I am of the neglected cases. “why did not undergone scoliosis surgery during your teenage days?”.

In short scoliosis surgery is only for severe curve. Even then there are list of others criteria to fulfill to be scoliosis surgery candidate eg patient must have overall in good health, good bone density, not of rare blood disorder in which blood doesn't clot in time, risks is lesser than benefits , muscles condition etc...etc.. So is not is just because your scoliosis curve is severe than spine surgery is for sure you will undergone.

Surely that you wish to know that do I have any side effects do I have lifelong restrictions?

I undergone the scoliosis surgery of spinal fusion, whereby the surgeon seals/combine a few of my vertebrae as one big column of bone. This big column of bone I will loose motion or unable to use it after the surgery. These vertebrae are of the scoliosis curve (sick unruly spine bones) . However, I am still able to have normal function. Very quickly the brain will modified some ways to do things eg I need to squat down to pick up things from the ground.

Do I have lifelong restrictions eg only lifting and carry not more than 5 Kg?

My answer to you is no. My spine surgeons given all their post ops patients instructions of what is needful so that beyond we able to lives and function as any normal people.
I was advised to do swimming wef 12 weeks post ops. Prior to covid 19 pandemic I am very diligent on this. No matter how busy are my working schedule I also do squeeze times to do my lap in a Olympic size swimming pool. My colleagues even brand me as “fish”.
Swimming helps me a lot to strengthen my muscles.

I am able to sit for long hours. I have no back ache issue. I had been doing sole pack-packing holiday with no hire guide, nor engage driver. I used public transport more on bus and train when I touring Sri Lanka. The longest touring I did was 27 days move from one town to another dragging my luggage and bags. Most of the time I walk at least 2km from the bus station/drop off to the accommodation. I don't pack along any pain-killer cause I do not need it.

My trolley bag - 11KG,  My camera back-pack 6.23KG, My tripod - 2.7KG, My sling bag -0.95kg  , my green bag - 1kg.  This are luggage and bags that I drag along from town to town in Sri Lanka using public transport.  For those who ever been touring sri lanka with public transport especially train, I am sure you get culture shock cause some occasion does not stop on the level platform for you to comfortably walk over into the train. 

My advise is do pay a little attention to choose your spine surgeons. To me each spine surgeons skills are different, just like our car mechanic.

Scoliosis surgery allows me to lives a more healthier lives . It is worth !..

Wednesday, November 18, 2020



From 16/11/2018 – 19/11/2018 I been milking for birds at Thangamale Sanctuary, Haputale . Each day I only have bird session in the morning session as mist will come in by noon or rain. Haputale is literally a city of clouds. Usually I would walk around in the town, exploring every corner in the afternoon session.

On 20/11/2018 It was exceptional thick mist. The scenic view from my room balcony change and disappear within seconds. It was also a wet morning, so I decided to move on to a hotter town.

I looked at the tourist map, others tourists that also do backpacking that I bump into along my touring, they did mentioned Mattara. So I am heading there.

Bus from Haputale to Bandarawella at 9,25am 46SLR then continue with another bus from Bandarawella bus station to Welawaya at 10.15am 95SLR. I continue with another bus from Welawaya bus station to Mattara at 3.20pm 250SLR. As I travel the temperature of 14 Celsius from Haputale change to 30 Celsius. The scene of miles of greeneries tea plantation, tea factory, villages , curve and winding narrow road changes to wider road, town , salt pan , beach side. It was a very nice sight seeing journey ride.

I walked mattara bus station, asking around how to get into a guesthouse near the beach. Some tuk-tuk three wheeler offer their help -(of course they hope I hired them). I chase them away cause because they usually charge foreigner with exorbitant rates. I saw a group of chinese man sat on the park. From their outfit and looked , they gives me the expression that they are foreign construction workers from china. I walked over and speak to them in mandarin, asked them how to get into a reasonable budget accommodation . They advise me to go to Mirrisa, they told me the beach is more nicer than Mattara. They direct me to take the bus from Mattara to Mirrisa – 60SLR
Whale watching in Mirrissa season is from Nov – April as the Whales migrate from southern hemisphere to northern hemisphere
This place is worth to go to get the feel of the local livelihood, to see with your own eyes the amount of fishes and variants that they catch from this ocean. Stunning colorful fishing boats are interesting sights there besides many fishes, big, small ,huge size. Fishing boats pull in, men started to gather around it. As soon the fish net is laid down on the ground, weighing the fish, put into the basket and auction began. It is awesome experience to witness so much of happening here.
Some men who can speak some english told me that big fishing boats usually will be out in the sea for two weeks. Their catch is usually big fishes (Tuna) in the deeper ocean. In that two weeks they lives on the boat. The smaller boat will come back daily, their catch are smaller fishes.

Indeed the beach is very beautiful at Mirrisa. The selling points are whale watching and water surfing. Whale watching is not all year round. There are many whale watching tour agents around. As usual they are trains sales makerters they surely says yes yesterday their tour saw blue whale ,sperm whale playfully dance. . doing somersault. However most likely it would be your worst touring experience and you are throwing up due to sea sick. Do read this before you buy whale watching tour

The most worthy experience is to catch the sunset at Mirrisa beach. It is very relaxing and peaceful experience sat on the beach to witness the sunset .

Mirrisa Fisheries Harbor/market

This place is worth to go to get the feel of the local livelihood, to see with your own eyes the amount of fishes and variants that they catch from this ocean. Stunning colorful fishing boats are interesting sights there besides many fishes, big, small ,huge size. Fishing boats pull in, men started to gather around it. As soon the fish net is laid down on the ground, weighing the fish, put into the basket and auction began. It is awesome experience to witness so much of happening here.
Some men who can speak some english told me that big fishing boats usually will be out in the sea for two weeks. Their catch is usually big fishes (Tuna) in the deeper ocean. In that two weeks they lives on the boat. The smaller boat will come back daily, their catch are smaller fishes.



Pronounce as Hapu tar lei. It is 1431 meters asl. It has rich bio-diversity. It is a small town, with lesser tourist compare with ELLA. It is not high dense foreigner tourist center spot like Ella. It is a quite places to relax with the charm of the tea estates, colonial buildings with the feel of the clouds. One can sit at the balcony to enjoy the mist comes and go. To the local they nickname this town as city of the mist/cloud. All year round temperature range from 13 celcius to 22 celcius.

If you want to enjoyed the scenic train ride that can you see miles and miles of greeneries of tea plantations, waterfalls, crystal clear rivers you can board the train that plight the route Baddula to Kandy. Touring Sri Lanka one could not says that had visited Sri Lanka without this scenic train ride. 

Haputale is one of the town within this train route.

Attraction at Haputale

Saint Andrew's Anglican church

 It is one of oldest colonial buildings in Haputale. It is situated in the middle of the town on top of a hill that overlooked the city. Personally I believe if want to know the history of the city is to visit the colonial buildings and best is to walk around in the graveyard ground. 

The foundation stone was laid on 7 April 1869 by Lieutenant General Hodgson and it was consecrated for worship on 19 September 1869. t was built by James Andrews, who worked at Sherwood Estate, and Richard Wylie, from Pita Ratmale Estate. The first services were conducted by Rev. Joseph Barnett, co-pastor of Middlington. ~~ source of information,_Haputale

Adisham Bungalow

Is a bungalow house build in 1931 by a English planter -Sir Thomas Villers. It is on 1500 meter asl in Tangamalai forest reserve.

Sir Thomas was a grandson of Lord John Russell and descendant of the Dukes of Bedford. Named after Adisham, it was designed by R. Booth and F. Webster in Tudor and Jacobean style, on 10 acres (40,000m2) of land. Adisham Hall played host to many prominent personalities of the colony until the retirement of Sir Thomas, after which it was sold to Sedawatte Mills owned by Vimala Wijewardene in 1949. In 1961 it was purchased by the Roman Catholic Church and was subsequently converted to a monastery. The house is well preserved along with its period fittings and furniture, and is open to visitors only limited area on Saturday, Sunday, school holidays except Good Friday and Christmas.” ~~~ source wikipedia_Adisham_Hall

Thangamale Sanctuary

Many visitors unaware that when you walk up or travel from the main road that leads to Ardisham bungalow is Thangamale Sanctuary. It is situated in Beragala, 131 hectares designated as protected forest in year 1938.

It is yet to have national park status, therefore park ticket are not impose. For bird watching, you need to avoid to visit this place during the visitors crowds on weekends (sat-sun and school holidays).

Lipton's Seat at Dambaatene Tea Estate

If you want a feel of Sir Thomas Lipton feel as he sat on that spot to look and admire his tea empire, then this is the place you should go. You can either hire the tuk-tuk drive or get into an hour bus ride from Haputale main bus station. From the information shared the bus will stop at Dambatene Tea Estate and one need to walk 7KM to have the panoramic view.

Personally this tourist attraction does not interest me as I more prefer Thangamale sanctuary in hope to see mousedeer and endemic birds.

I used third class train from ELLA to Haputale – 35 SLR