My heart leapt when I read your title, and I too am glad it's not you. But I do feel bad for the other person. My surgeon also told me I had to make it to 5 years before the worry of broken rods lessens. I of course only made it to 15 months after the first surgery, then suffered two broken rods, I think at L2/3 and L3/4. I had those replaced posteriorly along with an anterior fusion and I just passed the two-year mark for that in February. I really didn't quite realize how much I had been worrying about having another broken rod approaching my two year mark. The mental aspects of this surgery are really discussed very much, and I thought I was pretty tough, but it really got to me. At my 2-hr appt my surgeon told me I could ben and do whatever I wanted, so I was finally able to let go of (most of) the worry about the rods.
I hope your Australian friend will have a quick recovery.
Gayle, age 47
Boston brace as a teen for AIS
Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation, TLIF at L4/5.
Feb 2012 major A/P revision for broken rods
mom of Leah, 13 y/o, diagnosed Jan '08 with 26* thoracic JIS (age 6)
4/08 26 degrees, brace 16 hrs/day
9/08 17 deg. OOB - brace discontinued
9/09 30 deg, resuming brace
5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
4/15 stable 5 yrs post-op, 18* T/ 22* L, Risser 2
also mom of Torrey, 10 y/o son, 16* T, stable