A Leyland teacher left paralysed after a freak biking accident came within ‘one jolt’ of dying.
Sally Wallace has spoken for the first time about how metal pins inserted into her broken back were pressing against a main artery.
The 38-year-old was told that a pin could have punctured her aorta at any time, so she was forced to undergo life-saving surgery.
The operation has left her with a scar that she compares to a ‘shark-size bite’ on her back, but she says it’s a small price to pay for being alive.
Sally, who taught sports at Wellfield Business and Enterprise College, was left paralysed from the chest down after falling off her bike while on holiday in France in 2007.
The injury left her in wheelchair, but a routine check-up in September found that the pins inserted into her back in France were just millimeters away from puncturing her aorta.
She recalled: “When the doctors were looking at some CT scans, they noticed that only one of the eight pins was in my bones while the others had gone into my flesh.
“They found that two of the pins were pushing on my aorta, and very close to my heart.
“The doctors wanted to remove them, but they were worried about my aorta bursting open at the same time, which could have been fatal.
“The operation lasted eight hours and the large scar is the legacy. I call it my Harry Potter scar because it looks a bit like lightning, but it also resembles a shark attack.
“Luckily everything went to plan and the doctors had every base covered.
“I do not want to think about what may have happened if the doctors hadn’t discovered it.
“Any jolt probably would have killed me, as my aorta would have been punctured and I would not have been able to do anything about it.
“I have been lucky as I was out in Avenham Park in Preston a week before my operation, and came off my bike. I could have died there within 20 minutes of that happening.”
Sally, who lives in Walton-le-Dale and has previously worked with Farington Primary School, Northbrook Primary School and Leverhouse Primary School, is returning to work at Priory Sports and Technology College in Penwortham in January.
She said: “I want to get back to work and I have put myself under pressure because I am so used to being active.
“With my job I need to be athletic and sporty, but I have not really had the chance being on a hospital bed with the operations.
“I want to get back to a normal level of fitness and I have joined the gym so losing weight is my goal in 2011.”
As if that was not enough, the energetic Sally is being spurred on by other goals.
She added: “I am hoping to go travelling with my boyfriend Mark Brooks, who has been a fantastic support to me.
“It is one of my ambitions to go on a yacht, and we might be able to do it, because we are planning to buy a motorhome to go to the Mediterranean on holiday.”