Ipswich: Bride-to-be’s joy after double elbow operation

AFTER two major elbow replacement operations, Alice Swallow is today looking forward to holding her fiance’s hand for the first time.

The 24-year-old is recovering at home after a second procedure to fix her fused joints following years of pain and discomfort as a result of her crippling arthritis.

Fourteen years ago Miss Swallow was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – a condition which left her unable to bend her arms.

Since meeting her now fiance Ryan Harrison three years ago, the customer services advisor at Haven Power, has been unable to hold his hand after both elbows fused at a 90 degree angle.

Following her first operation at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London last month, Miss Swallow underwent her second operation on her left arm last Tuesday.

Today she told the Star it is the little things which most people take for granted that she is excited about doing when she has recovered.

“I am sore,” she said. “A lot of people, including my surgeon wanted me to wait longer between operations. But I had got it in my head that I would have them both done quickly.

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“I can bend my right arm for the first time properly, it feels brilliant, it is overwhelming. I will never ever take for granted the use of my arms.”

While it is likely to be a couple of months before Miss Swallow is fully recovered, the 24-year-old said she is desperate to go shopping for her wedding dress – something she has put off until she has “new arms”.

“I am looking forward to the little things,” she added.

“Pouring myself a drink, being able to go swimming, even just going into town and trying on clothes on my own.

“For so long I have relied on Ryan to help me with day-to-day tasks. But I am most looking forward to holding his hand properly for the first time since I met him.”

Elbow replacement is an operation which is only carried out between 500 and 1,000 times a year in the UK. Medics believe Miss Swallow could be one of the youngest people to have undergone the procedure.