Life-changing spinal surgery gives Ulverston dad ‘new lease of life’

A BEDBOUND dad-of-three is excited to ‘enjoy life again’ after a six-hour surgery to repair his spine was a success.

Phil Clark felt ‘incredible’ after waking up from life-changing surgery in Spain to release a tethered chord in his spine earlier this month.

The dad, who lives in Ulverston, suffered a fall in January 2021 which caused significant damage to his neck and back.

The fall came three years after Mr Clark underwent surgery related to his diagnosis of Elhers Danlos syndrome – a genetic disorder that weakens the collagen in the body, which Mr Clark’s three children all have.

The disorder caused Mr Clark’s spine to become unstable and his brain to descend into his neck, leaving him in unbearable pain.

Mr Clark underwent surgery for the condition in 2018 after a rallying call to the community raised a mammoth £42,000 for the operation to be performed in Spain.

Three years later, Mr Clark suffered a catastrophic fall which resulted in the re-tethering of his spine in a number of places, leaving him unable to walk and in excruciating pain for more than a year.

After another successful fundraising campaign, Mr Clark flew back to Spain earlier this month to undergo another surgery to correct the re-tethering caused by the fall and give him his qualify of life back.

Following a six-and-a-half hour operation which was unlike anything the surgeon had seen before, Mr Clark felt ‘immediate results’ after waking up from his 20-hour sleep.

READ MORE: Ulverston dad Phil Clark with Elhers Danlos Syndrome fundraises for life-changing surgery

“The surgery went really well,” he said.

“Apparently it was a little bit more complicated than first thought. The surgeon had never seen something like it before.

“As soon as I woke up, I knew it had worked. I hadn’t realised how much it had affected everything: my hands didn’t ache anymore and my heart rate dropped by 40 bpm. It was incredible.

“It was immediate results as soon as I woke up. This surgery has done absolute wonders.”

Mr Clark spent 15 days overseas recovering and returned to the UK with a new lease of life.

He said: “I have to walk but only on the flat surface – I’m not allowed to do steps for the first four weeks.

“I can go out on walks with the kids now which is everything I wanted.

“I’ve been stuck in bed for so long barely able to hobble and now I can actually move again – it’s like I have a new lease of life.

“I feel involved in my family’s life again.”

The family managed to raise the majority of money for the surgery through donations as well as personal loans.

READ MORE: Ulverston dad ‘living in torture’ reaches major milestone in surgery campaign

Mr Clark said: “I feel so grateful to everyone that donated. Without it, I would still be in bed now with no quality of life. It’s going to be a slow recovery now but I’m looking forward to the future.

“We want to start on the right foot to have the most successful recovery.

“I don’t know what the future holds in terms of working but I want to be doing things again – whether that’s voluntary work or part time, I don’t want to disappear into nothingness.

“I want to have experiences in life again.”

The Westmorland Gazette | News