Sue’s Miracle Spinal Cord Stimulator
By Sue Sherratt
Hi, everyone, my name is Sue Sherratt and I live in Sydney, Australia.
Due to living with tick-borne disease for many years, I had long felt my life as I once knew it was over. I had resigned myself to spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair, having lost my working ability and career.
A small, hopeful part of me continued to search for relief from my medical issues. I spotted an advertisement about spinal stimulation for pain management. I made an appointment at the Sydney Pain Clinic to enquire about the procedure.
I was assigned to the care of one of the best specialists I have ever met. He sat patiently while I told him about my convoluted medical journey spanning 40 years.
Unlike most specialists I have seen in the past, he did not dismiss me as a mad, crazy woman who had an incredible imagination or dump me in the Medically Unexplained Symptoms too-hard basket, with the implication of hypochondria. I did not hear: “You look okay.” He had some knowledge of tick-borne diseases.
The whole process took a while. My first appointment was in February 2022. The process involved consulting with a Clinical Psychologist to explore my expectations and make sure they were not too high, and to ensure I would be mentally capable of dealing with the spinal stimulation operation.
The next step was a mandatory trial to check that the pain stimulator was the right path for me to take. The trial was a success, so I was scheduled for the implant to be inserted permanently.
Unfortunately for me, the surgical insertion of the permanent stimulator was not possible until January 2023. This was not the Clinic’s fault in any way. It was more a case of my continuing medical misadventures. Firstly, COVID struck – twice! And each time, the procedure had to be cancelled. Next, I had a gallstone stuck in my bile tract, requiring surgery. During this procedure, my doctors realised I had developed atrial fibrillation. I was then informed that my gallbladder needed to be removed. I was wondering if the pain stimulator procedure would ever happen! Next, I had an accident in which I was almost catapulted out of my wheelchair, and I sustained a small brain haematoma. After all of that, finally, I was scheduled for the procedure, and I kept my fingers crossed that nothing else would go wrong.
In January 2023, l had pain stimulators inserted near my neck and on my lower spine. After the surgical procedure and recovering from anaesthesia, the pain stimulators needed to be programmed. The skilled technicians from Abbott came to switch it on. To my amazement, everything changed that day. The bonus is that adjustments can be made by the technicians if ever needed.
I do not need a wheelchair or a walking stick anymore. My walking is normal; my speech is normal. I can now lift my arms and legs. There is no shaking, and I can now write again. My leaking bladder has improved. I can think clearly and put sentences together. It is incredible and life-changing.
The specialists say they have never seen such a change in a patient with so many disabilities. I am grateful for all the benefits of the surgery, but perhaps the most outstanding benefit is that I have no pain. To live with debilitating pain for so many years and to find myself free from it falls somewhere between relief and miraculous.
I am the first patient with tick-borne disease that has been treated with this procedure. I was so sick that I completed my end-of-life wishes and signed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate).
I am thankful that I managed to keep my private health insurance hospital cover up, as my health insurance largely covered the cost.
I honestly feel like I have won a jackpot.
Below are a couple of links that may interest you, showing aspects of tick-borne disease in play. If you look through my Youtube channel, you will see many more videos.
Sue being discharged from hospital
Seizure caused by Neuroborreliosis
I have suffered for 40 years and been tortured in this country, Australia, simply because I was bitten by a tick; no testing was conducted, few tick-borne diseases are recognised here, and no adequate treatment is allowed. Too little research is in progress, and the Australian government has done nothing but obfuscate. Meanwhile, many doctors who have treated patients have lost their licence to practise or have had restrictions placed on their practice, preventing them from treating patients with tick-borne illnesses.
A dog fares better at the veterinary clinic, when bitten by a tick, in this country. At one point, in desperation, I seriously considered going to a vet and asking them if they would treat me.
It is a national disgrace. The Australian Department of Health, the current Health Minister and the previous 5 Health Ministers have left a significant cohort of Australian patients medically abandoned. They say the right words – acknowledge that patients are sick – and then move to remove any means of treatment. The AMA, AHPRA and professional medical colleges have proved to be a useless bunch of organisations. It is little wonder our medical system is struggling.
Below are a couple of extra links showing how I have suffered, mainly as a result of lack of care from neurologists and lack of professional responsibility of neurologists:
Sue trying talk
Look at what the toxins are doing to me. And nobody cares.
Then and Now
I lost my career as I knew I was not functioning as I should be. Friends deserted me and said I was not fun anymore. I was a prisoner in my own home. I survived on medicinal cannabis. I travelled overseas twice, to Germany and the USA, to seek cures. I spent thousands seeing specialists. I was asked to leave one GP practice as I was too difficult to manage. Another GP made me feel so uncomfortable – at the time, I did not understand why, but now I realise she was scared of losing her licence if she continued treating me.
The last 40 years have been a nightmare I have been forced to live through, in the most inhumane state of debilitation and pain. I have lived through other sufferers committing suicide because they just could not cope any longer. I truly understand why they committed this act. The Australian government is to blame and should be held responsible. It is fully aware of the extent of suffering of Australian patients and simply does nothing.
I have not finished my job on this earth. When I have recovered some fitness (which is now possible), I will be doing my best to make sure that these public servants understand that they are employed by members of the public, by us. I will throw myself into the exercise of making the Minister of Health and his Department accountable. The Department of Health has left sufferers of tick-borne disease outside the medical system, largely outside the protection of Medicare and outside the protection of the PBS Safety Net. It has taken a cohort of the most vulnerably ill patients, many trying to survive on a disability pension, and denied basic medical rights. We are a first-world country, with a shaky façade of humanity and ethics.
Please feel free to contact me for further information. I would be only too willing to face a committee or any organisation.
0488 603 532
Please share this article. Please take it to your politicians and specialists and say this is happening in Australia. Please write to your MP or call them.
I know it’s a big ask, but we never know unless we try. So please, please try. And so many, many people will be eternally grateful.
Thanks a million for reading this far.
And my motto is “Always keep HOPE in your heart”
Read more about Sue’s backstory: Sioux’s Space
- Implant gives hand control nine years after stroke
- Spinal nerve cell stimulation found to help stroke patients restore movement
- Spinal cord stimulation tech ventures beyond pain relief to restore arm mobility after stroke: study
- Interplay Between Sleep, Pain and Spinal Cord Stimulation
And this is my fight song.