Model Zoe’s me­tal spine

De­spite sco­l­io­sis bat­tle she vows to fol­low her dreams

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Jim Gal­lagher news@mailon­sun­

STUN­NING Miss Ire­land con­tes­tant Zoe Coady has a me­tal spine af­ter un­der­go­ing two mas­sive oper­a­tions. But the 20-year-old part-time model said noth­ing was go­ing to stop her try­ing to achieve her am­bi­tions. At the launch of Miss Ire­land 2017 this week the dark­haired beauty re­vealed she suf­fered from sco­l­io­sis which had twisted her spine into an S-shape when she was grow­ing up. ‘When I was 13 or 14 I came back from a hol­i­day and had an in­fec­tion so they took an x-ray and no­ticed my spine was curv­ing,’ said Zoe, from Tul­lam­ore. ‘They sent me to dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals and then re­alised it was get­ting worse as I grew and grew.’ She had her first surgery when she was 16 – a mas­sive 16-hour op­er­a­tion in Tal­laght Hospi­tal, Dublin, to straighten the spine which had bent to an an­gle of 60 to 70 de­grees. ‘When you looked at my back my body went in a wave,’ said Zoe. ‘I was in hospi­tal for a week and I was not able to move. Even to sit up, a doc­tor had to come and hold me. Then I had to learn to walk again be­cause it af­fects your lungs and all your or­gans be­cause the spine is moved.’

Zoe, who works at BoyleS­ports, had to use a wheel­chair and walk­ing frame in the weeks that fol­lowed.

‘My dad, Christo­pher, had to take me on lit­tle strolls to get me back walk­ing again. He’s in the army and had to take loads of time off work to look af­ter me.’

It took Zoe six months to re­cover, but dur­ing a sub­se­quent check-up doc­tors found a steel rod and screw had bro­ken and had de­tached from her spine so she was put on an emer­gency surgery list. She was 18 when she un­der­went a sec­ond ma­jor op­er­a­tion at the same hospi­tal.

‘This time they de­cided to fuse a rod to my spine all the way down while fix­ing the other one,’ she said. ‘I now have a rod to the bot­tom of my spine with 20 screws, two on each side all the way down. They are screwed into the bone and it keeps it straight.’

Again her fa­ther had to take time off work to help get her back on her feet. She said: ‘Ev­ery­thing is fine now and I have re­cov­ered a lot. Some of the peo­ple who were in hospi­tal with me have been get­ting years of oper­a­tions.

‘The sur­geon said I had made a good re­cov­ery and I was de­ter­mined to get out and do my thing. It helped that I was so young and could get a 100 per cent re­cov­ery.

‘Be­cause it was my teenage years I was con­stantly grow­ing and that’s the safest time to have it done. Now I am de­ter­mined to just get back to re­al­ity and not let it stop me at all.

‘My dad has sco­l­io­sis too, but he can’t get any­thing done be­cause he is 52.’

Zoe added that she hoped Of­faly win­ning the Rose of Tralee last week was a good omen for her.

‘Maybe it will bring me luck in the Miss Ire­land com­pe­ti­tion. It would be great for Of­faly to win both in the same year!’

‘I had to learn to walk again’ ‘I’m de­ter­mined to get back to re­al­ity’


pA­TIenT: Zoe Coady says sco­l­io­sis will not stop her from achiev­ing her am­bi­tions

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