LISBURN woman Aneta Verner has been described as "a walking miracle" after she began to walk again following an operation to remove a spinal tumour.
Aneta, whose story will be told through the Superdocs documentary which is currently showing on Monday night's on BBC NI, underwent a high-risk operation last March to remove the tumour which was compressing her spinal cord; all the while being filmed for the three-part programme.
Aneta, a retired secretary, was told without the operation she would be paralysed within two to three years. Ten months later, however, she has now progressed from a wheelchair to being able to walk with the aid of a walking stick.
There was a long road for Aneta as her condition was unable to be diagnosed, leading her to be suffering constant pain.
Aneta explained: "I saw several consultants but nobody knew what was wrong with me. It started with pain in my arms and legs and I couldn't get to sleep at night. Dr. Patterson in the City Hospital carried out an MRI scan and referred me to Mr Nagaria, who told me it was a tumour on my spine, right up at the top of my back near the brain."
Aneta's surgeon, Mr Jabir Nagaria, is a neurosurgeon who specialises in high-risk spinal surgery. He informed her that surgery was required for her condition.
"Jabir told me that I didn't have a decision to make -because he said inside two to three years you will be paralysed if you don't have this operation. After I talked to him he said, "would you do something for me?' and he told me about the documentary. I was so delighted to get a diagnosis and to get treatment I would have agreed to anything."
Aneta, who is married to Brian and has two sons Michael and Jonathan and three grandchildren; Michael's son's James and David and Jonathan's daughter Emily, was filmed before, during and after her operation.
She was full of praise for Mr Nagaria, she said, "I couldn't speak highly enough of Mr Nagaria, he is an absolute gentleman. He is not the sort who doesn't want to talk to patients, he came one morning at 7am and asked would Brian be up and he gave him a ring to let him know how I was. He was just terrific, he just has a lovely nature."
Aneta, who spent seven weeks in the Royal and two weeks in Musgrave, required months of physiotherapy, and she said the physiotherapists who helped her were "excellent".
"Everybody says 'you're a walking miracle'," said Aneta. "I feel really good, the best thing is I can go to bed and sleep at night.'
Jonathan Golden, the Director and Producer of Superdocs commented: "The image of surgeons is deemed to be quite aloof, but as we see, the surgeons see patients for quite a while, before during and after operations and they do try to get to know patients as people and not as x-rays." Jonathan added, "We focus on some of the main surgeries and a lot of people can take something away from this series.
"The way Aneta and her husband Brian dealt with the surgery was remarkable, she dealt with it with great courage and resilience."
Superdocs will continue on BBC NI at 9pm on Monday night.