Anyone Been Wondering What Happened to Me?

Probably not many, as many of my blog followers are also my twitter friends, Facebook friends, and mostly my Tumblr crew, but just in case you are just one of my honest-to-goodness blog followers who doesn’t fall into any of those other categories, I’ll attempt to get you up-to-speed on what’s been happening in the world of Brittany. The good and the bad!

First of all, a very exciting thing happened.  I am typing this very blog post from my brand new Acer Aspire computer.  My former computer, “Old Faithful,” my good ol’ Toshiba satellite computer, finally bit the dust.  I will admit, I was devastated.  That computer stocked full of copies of my articles and other stories, as well as thousands of photos from my Barbara Stanwyck and Carol Burnett photo collections, and a rather substantial collection of gifs I’ve made over the past couple of years.  I’m hoping the computer isn’t too far gone to prevent me from saving these items.  Most, if not all, of my gifs are also on Tumblr, retrieving them will be a challenge but doable  Anyway, the old Toshiba died on Monday.  Then on Tuesday I got a weird email notifying me that I had a package on the way via FedEx.  I hadn’t ordered anything, so I had no idea what it could be.  All I knew was that it was being shipped from Allen, Texas and that the package weighed 9 pounds.  After a little investigation, I finally found an email in my junk folder notifying I was one of five winners of a new computer for  an article contest I had entered quite a while ago. I had forgotten all about it!  Then literally the day after my computer died, I got word I was getting a brand new one, FREE!  This computer is great, has tons of storage space, and is a lovely silver color!  There are only a few things I’m having to get used to:  the keyboard.  The keys are spaced further apart than I’m accustomed to, significantly slowing my typing speed, but I know I’ll get used to it and improve…not to mention how much easier it’ll be to keep clean! It also has Windows 8.  I’m all about having the latest and greatest in software and operating systems, but I have to admit I am not a supporter or fan of Windows 8.  I’m getting more used to it, but I still don’t care much for it.  But hey beggars can’t be choosers!

Then Thursday I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor about my back injury obtained over a month ago at work.  Most know, but in case you don’t , I had to resign from my job at the end of April.  I was forced to after the injury because I was no longer able to shoulder the workload required as part of my job description.  Since my injury I’ve been seeing a spine specialist and I’ve had several tests and even an MRI to try to determine the best plan of action.  The MRI showed some of my lumbar discs were damaged, but not herniated.  Basically the scan was not great but didn’t show much.  All we had to go on was the MRI scan and the pain and other symptoms I had.  I had severe back and leg pain, leg weakness, and even fell three times due to my leg completely going numb without explanation.  My doctor and I were both puzzled because my MRI didn’t reveal any damage that should cause the symptoms I was having.  We both knew I had degenerative disc disease (hereditary) so we figured maybe my disease was making more the injury more painful and symptomatic than it would have been for the ordinary person.    My doctor decided that perhaps epidural steroid injections would be the best way to treat the swelling, and thus the pain, I was feeling.  And that was the beginning of the crazy roller-coaster I’ve been on the last month!

I was scheduled to have three steroid injections–injected via epidural (not fun AT ALL)–to be given in two week increments.  I was scheduled to see my spine doctor again after the injections to see if they had done any good.  Nope!  If anything, my back got worse as a result of the injections.  So Thursday I went back to the spine doctor for my follow-up.  Wednesday evening, the night before I was supposed to see the doctor again, I felt very uneasy. I had a bad feeling about the visit the next day and almost didn’t even want to go.  Of course, I was forced to go by my family.

So my doctor came in, asked me how my steroid injections had been helping, and could see immediately by the look on my face they hadn’t helped at all.  This concerned her, so she did another neurological exam to see if my injury was any worse.  It was.  I had practically lost the reflexes in both my legs and the doctor decided the only thing left to do was to do a sort of exploratory surgery, hopefully revealing the full extent of the problem and offering her a way to decompress the nerves in my spine causing the problems.  Due to losing the reflexes in my legs so rapidly and the fact that I had been falling, she wanted to do the surgery as soon as possible.  I was scheduled for the very next day, Friday.  I had the surgery and have been in a sort of fog since then from all the drugs and anesthesia.

Anyway, the surgery revealed the damage to its full extent.  I had actually broken a piece off one of my lumbar vertebrae and that piece of bone had been bouncing around in there messing things up.  It had also left me with a small fracture in the actual vertebrae as well.  That alone could be causing the pain.  It wasn’t all the surgeon found though, the nerves were so aggravated by the broken piece of bone that they were red and swollen where they exit the spine.  Some of them were crushed flat.  Anyway, this all explained the problems I had been having, but the doctor was puzzled as to why none of this had shown up on my MRI!  The only explanation was that the swelling could have impeded the view and prevented the scan from being accurate.

Either way, it was almost miraculous I was able to have my surgery so quickly.  Left untreated, I could have suffered permanent nerve damage, and even paralysis from the extent of my injuries.  The doctor was amazed I was still able to walk at all!  I was dead-set against surgery of any kind. I’ve had five surgeries in my lifetime (now six) and I did NOT want to go through another one.  But it’s amazing how much better I am already after the surgery.  The pain in my legs is gone completely and the strength in my legs is rapidly improving.  Honestly, the only problem I am experiencing now is the horrendous postoperative pain, which is to be expected!  It isn’t fun, I am in excruciating pain from the incision and swelling and all the nerve manipulation and bruising..  That will all go away in a few weeks though, and by then I should be back to normal!

The timing has all been so amazing.  An opening in the doctor’s surgical schedule, and it happened before I had accepted a new job, as I have been applying for them like crazy since resigning from my job!  Since resigning, I’ve been writing–what I’d like to do full time eventually–but applying for jobs to pay the bills in the insurance field that will pay will and still put my nursing degree to work.

I’m sure it’s hard to tell from reading this that I am a freelance writer and aspiring memoirist and novelist, but it’s true!  I’m just still full of anesthesia and pain medications that have left my brain a foggy pile of mush!!! What I’ve written makes perfect sense to me, but I’m sure it very well may be senseless to the average reader!  Bottom line:  I’ve had surgery, I’m healing up, and I’m getting better by the day.   Just looking forward to the day I feel back to my old self again.  I HATE this drugged up feeling for sure!

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend and that you all have a wonderful Memorial day!  Spend it with the ones you love and be sure to remember the real reason for this holiday.  Honor those who have died in service to our country or those who served our country, lived to return home and have since died.

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