Saturday, September 11, 2010

because I've neglected this....updates

Wow, it's been a while since I have posted...and even longer since I updated about the neverending pain of the broken back.

After meeting with Dr. R...the discogram was scheduled and then moved up a week, to July 23rd. Never in a million years could I have ever EVER prepared myself for what I was about to endure. After getting up at 3:45am to make the hour drive to Marion, OH for the test, I'm as ready as I think I can be. The staff was great and I was first on the list for the day. Just get it over with. . . .WOW! The 4 needles were placed in each of the 4 discs being tested and it began...well, I didn't even know he really started because I didn't feel anything with the first disc...aka, no issues there. Then, hell was just seconds away! I had no sedatives as I needed to be able to feel the pain to let the dr know . . . the 2nd disc was done (L3/L4) and I remember saying "8, 9, 10, 12" as the pain just kept increasing. It was like an extremely painful spinal steroid injection that kept getting worse until it was almost like I was being crushed from the lower back and down. The next one (L4/L5)- I'd rather die than ever experience that again. I immediately screamed, burst into tears and jerked as if I was trying to jump off the table...just a reflex from being in that much pain - who wouldn't try to get away from it?? He says "I think we know where the problem is." They quickly tried to calm me as best as one can consoling someone who feels as if they are being crushed by a semi...and he continues to do the last one (L5/S1) and I cry harder and scream again. ...and it's over. Demerol is quickly injected into my IV and I start to feel a bit of I'm forced to switch to another bed to take me to "recovery" where they remove the IV and I get dressed....all done w/in 15minutes as I need a CT scan before the dye has too much time to disappear. I was able to walk out of the surgery center and head down to the Imaging center (of course Trina was driving) and had the CT scan done right away. Painless of course...then the hour drive back home! We stopped for breakfast and I spent the rest of the day in bed! Too many possible side effects from the procedure - all of which I wanted to avoid! I was fairly successful in that but I recovered nicely, in comparison to what I was just put through! WOW, recreating the pain? That's as misleading as it gets! I've never felt pain like that, nor do I ever want to again!

The next step was back to Dr. R's office for the results, August 17th. I'll never forget it...he opened my file and started reading the report out loud and just as soon as he did, he stopped and just read silently, shaking his head! Never a good sign! Clearly, I knew the results due to the reaction of the test. Positive at the bottom 3 levels tested. His recommendation: "extensive three level fusion surgery". NOT what I wanted to hear...but, exactly what I expected! If the point of the test was to determine where the pain was coming from to know where to fuse...I just expected it and tried to prepare myself for hearing it. He shook my hand, wished me luck, and sent me on my way! Back to the surgeon again. . . . .

Back to Dr. B...she was not happy with the results, but went over my results a bit and talked about the options. Ha, if you really want to call them that. Option 1: do the 3 level fusion which is never ideal because they don't like to do more than one or two fusions because of all the added pressure put on those discs above and below..but in my case, three need fused and though it's not complicated to do it, it's just not a great situation. Option 2: pain management (which isn't working now and hasn't been through it all). Trina and I asked all the questions we could think of being in the when in the office, all the information makes my brain spin outta control and I can't think too clearly - especially in this instance. Some of the answers: 3-6 month recovery easily. 2-3 day hospital stay minimum, longer if complications/infection. mobility wouldn't be much different than what it is now, just because I can't do much bending with the pain. cannot do just two fusions because there is pain in all three and it wouldn't be a good idea. the three discs will be removed completely, filled with bone graft, hardware put in place. back brace. two neurosurgeons would be doing the surgery, Dr. B and her partner Dr. D, who is the hardware expert. 30% chance of future surgeries due to the added pressure on the surrounding discs. no guarantee this will rid me of all of the pain. (there might have been more but that's what I recall now..). Then it was time to hang out while they called the insurance company and then we sat down w/ the scheduler and worked out all the details.
Surgery: Oct 15. Next appt: Oct 5 for the brace fitting and meeting with Dr. D about the hardware. Post op appt: Nov 15. Xrays need to be done prior to ensure the grafts/hardware is in place.

I left the appt w/ my head spinning. I never dreamed that it would all be so difficult to process. I had a busy evening so I didn't have time to really think about it. However, the next day, it hit me hard! I spent many tearful days trying to figure out if I was doing the right thing. I'm not sure if I really even have that answer still but I'm moving forward with the decision. As days pass, I spend more time planning and preparing for the surgery and recovery, getting help lined up and the house post-op-friendly since I won't be able to reach/bend for some time. Maybe the planning will help prepare me for the actual surgery, or at least help keep my mind busy.

So with 34 days left until surgery, I will keep preparing for it physically and mentally. I know it will be here before I know it!!!

Til then, there are Colts games to attend (season tickets ROCK), softball games to watch (no more playing for me...a BIG hurdle to mentally overcome), family to see, and friends to hang out with.

Live each day to the fullest! It's times like this that it really hits home!