I’ve known for a while that surgery was unavoidable, but it’s been easy to put it out of my mind since it wasn’t scheduled and no concrete plans had been made. Today that changed, and my surgery was scheduled. I knew it would happen yet I am still apprehensive. I’ve had several surgeries in my life, but never so many surgeries back-to-back. This will be surgery number 3 since the end of May. Hoping this will be the last one…at least for a while. I am just thankful things aren’t worse. I know there are many people who can’t walk now due to a spine injury, and people who have endured 10-15 surgeries in the span of a year. When you look at those people, it’s easier to put your own problems into perspective. While things are not good for me, they could definitely be worse. And maybe this surgery will enable me to go back to work (in an administrative job–patient care is no longer an option), and help me to be able to walk without excruciating pain.
The surgery will be November 4 and, despite my discontent, I will not be the first case of the day. Usually i try to be first on the schedule when I have surgery because I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks are not uncommon for me when I am waiting for surgery. With there being a surgery before mine, the odds of my surgery starting at the scheduled time is very unlikely. Hopefully I’ll manage. I’m nervous, because I was a surgery nurse and I know what can happen…I also know that the odds are very small, but the fact that it’s possible makes me uneasy. “It” being heart attack, stroke, blood clots, etc. Scary business. I’m also at increased risk for infection due to having a previous postoperative infection in the same place a few months ago. That’s scary too. There will be numerous precautions taken, but the possibility remains real.
The specifics are this…this surgery will be the biggest surgery I’ve ever had except for the spinal cord surgery I had at eight years of age. My surgeon will be operating on two different vertebral disks, one which has never been operated on before and one that she worked on last time. She is having to do a revision on the disk she worked on last time because–in effort to keep treatment conservative due to my young age–she didn’t take out as much bone to decompress the nerves as she could have. She didn’t do anything wrong, it was just a chance she took and it turned out unsuccessful. She said she will not be conservative on the new disk and will do all necessary to decompress the nerves at that level.
After surgery I will spend at least two days in the hospital, possibly more, depending on my condition. She said I should be in there much longer but these days insurance companies dictate how long a person stays in the hospital, not the discretion of a physician. I just love that bureaucrats with no medical training dictate how much treatment I’m entitled to receive. Not the best scenario, really, but that’s how it’s been as long as I can remember. I know my surgeon won’t let me out of her sight unless she’s confident I’m ready.
After I’m released from the hospital, I’ll begin a long recovery period. The typical recovery is around eight weeks, which will take me through the new year. Me being atypical and a serial surgery and postoperative infection patient, however, may lead to a longer than average recovery time…I could be recovering for twelve weeks or more before I’m back to a semi-normal state. While that is daunting, I’m just ready to have this behind me and *hopefully* on my way to returning to a regular, fulfilling life! I’ve been writing some for working, but it’s not the same for me. I wouldn’t mind writing for a living, but I want to do it as a full-time employee of a company, not on a freelance basis as I am now. I want to have a regular job where I’m working 8+ hours a day again. I want to feel useful again. This spending 80 percent of my life in my house unable to go out is not working for me. I am ordinarily a very adventurous person and I have a need to constantly be on the go. I get cabin fever after a couple of days at home, so these last few months have been torture! I’m ready to be independent and able to live my life on my terms again!
Hopefully this surgery will be the first step in that direction. A person has to take a risk to reap a reward, and that’s what I’m doing now. The chance of the benefit outweighs the risks involved in this surgery, so full steam ahead. Bring it on and hopefully I’ll be feeling well enough to start living life again soon!