So, I hope you read my last post about Martha Long’s final memoir. You owe it to yourself to read her story. All 7 of her books will change you.
Now, this blog is going to be taking a different direction in the future. Right now it is just my outlet to talk about things I enjoy, things I’ve seen, read, etc. It has no real theme. Well, in the future, it will have a very definitive theme. In the future, with the exception of an odd post here or there, this blog will be my place to write about my health experiences. So many people have blogs about their journey with disease or injury, and this will be mine.
I have written previously about the spine problems I was born with and the injury I sustained on the job while working as a registered nurse. In April 2013 I injured my spine while trying to position a patient for surgery. In May 2013 I had surgery to repair a broken vertebrae and two herniated disks. I then developed a post-operative infection and hematoma requiring a second surgery. Since then I have been suffering from increasing pain and other symptoms as a result of the spine injury.
Over the last four months I have had two surgeries, three epidural steroid injections, and four MRIs. The most recent MRI revealed my spine has deteriorated a great deal in that amount of time. So over the next few weeks, I will be undergoing some tests and other procedures to map out every part of my lumbar spine to pinpoint exactly where and what needs repair. My surgeon is also consulting with various other spine specialists to help come up with the best plan possible. Once all that comes together, I will be having my third spine surgery in four months. This surgery will, unfortunately, be much worse than the previous two. It will involve at a minimum three, possibly four levels of my lumbar spine. My doctor is going to attempt to repair herniations on three or four disks, decompress the nerves and remove portions of vertebrae and vertebral joints to help open up the canal of my spine and take the pressure off my spinal nerves. This could weaken my spine but, hopefully, result in decreased pain in the long run. Right now I live in constant pain, which has resulted in a drastic change in my life, my work, and my happiness Since May I’ve had to leave the job I loved, sell my house, and have developed severe depression–which I suppose is only natural. I can’t live like this anymore, and though this surgery will be risky and drastic, it is my only chance to get back to a semi-normal life…and I have to do whatever I can to get my life back.
This blog will be my place to discuss what is happening, vent my emotions (when necessary), and describe all the things I have done. Many people do this with a blog to help them keep up with everything concerning their injury or illness. I want to be able to keep up with the symptoms, the names of people who help me, the name of the procedures I have to undergo. I want to be able to have a written record of it all to look back on…and hopefully to use in order to gauge my improvement…
So, with that being the goal, I’ll start this new phase of my blog by describing what happened today.
I saw Dr. McCarthy and she told me all the things I described earlier about my spine’s further deterioration. She hates to do another surgery, but we all had to accept the fact that it is really the only option left available to us. She will be discussing my case with her father–another spine surgeon who happens to have also operated on me–as well as some of her partners.
I had my fourth MRI yesterday which revealed the further deterioration of my spine. It left me in excruciating pain, thanks to having to lie on a flat, hard table without moving for half an hour. I lost feeling in both my legs during the MRI, which resulted in a 5 minute wait before I was able to stand up and walk out of the room to get changed and go home.
After reviewing the MRI, Dr. McCarthy showed me all the areas that were damaged enough to be causing me pain. Because there are so many potential problem areas, she wants to be sure she targets all the areas that need to be fixed when I have the surgery. Her feeling is that she will need to work on three or four areas in my lumbar spine. This will be a painful, difficult surgery, but if it’s the only hope I have of getting back to a life where I’m able to stand or walk for more than five or ten minutes, I’m willing to go through it. It will be a long recovery period as well. The surgery will also be risky. There’s always the risk of damaging nerves, which can result in loss of feeling, loss of function, or worse…which I don’t want to even discuss. Then there are the complications that come as a risk of any surgery. Since I’ve had previous infection in the area, and she will be working on the same area that the infection occurred, I will have a high risk of developing another post-op infection.
There is one disk that is newly herniated and the pain I’m experiencing seems to line up with what I would be feeling with an injury to that disk. In order to make sure that disk is, in fact, part of the problem, I will be undergoing another epidural injection targeting that disk. Usually these injections are to provide relief, but in my case significant relief is not likely. Dr. McCarthy wants to do the injection anyway, however, to determine if I experience any relief whatsoever. If I do, she will know that she needs to work on that disk as well when she operates.
I’m just feeling very confused and overwhelmed right now. The last thing I wanted was another surgery! I do want to make the pain end, though. I am terrified about the whole situation, but I’m trying to stay positive. While this is definitely not a good situation, I’m just thankful I have a supportive family and some very supportive friends. I’m grateful to have something like this that has hope of repair. I’m thankful I don’t have cancer or some other terrible disease. No matter how bad things may seem, I try to remember there is always someone else out there who has it far worse than I do. I may never regain full ability to function normally, but my condition is not life threatening. And I do have hope of recovery. For that, I’m very thankful.
- Thanks to everyone who reads my blog and for all the support I’ve been given. I’ll still post some other things besides stories of my health!
- Thomas Garr, I miss you. Those who should know why, do.
- Anyone have any book suggestions? I’m going to need some reading ideas, as I’ve finished Martha Long’s books and now feel lost without them!
- Anyone else going through similar issues or health problems of their own who wish to connect or tell their story, please contact me!
- Trying to get through this month. A good friend of the family is in the hospital suffering from a likely heart attack. I sincerely hope she’s ok. Also October 18 is the day my uncle died last year. I miss him SO MUCH still.