Wow, so much has happened since the last post. Let's see if I can give a play by play to cover it all....
January 26 came and went w/ another denial from the insurance company. It was hard to handle and I had a shot to appeal but nothing I could do would change their minds.
I was still waiting for my appt w/ Cleveland Clinic that I had made in November for March 17...which was later changed to March 20. So I waited, continued to track pain, take meds, and just do my best at living day to day.
March 20 arrived and Trina and I headed to Cleveland. Long drive in pain but it proved to be worth it. The campus of CC is massive...but we didn't get lost. Everyone was amazing and nice...did not encounter one negative thing. Fast forward to meeting my new surgeon, Dr. K. He was GREAT! Mind you, he had no other info than my dr's here did...he looked at it all and then came in to talk to me. He stated very clearly the insurance company was right to deny the fusion...it was NOT something that I needed.....after months of agonizing over that denial, that was music to my ears! There WAS a reason for it and now I knew why. His opinion was that Dr. B did not go far enough down when doing my first surgery and there was still narrowing (stenosis) at the bottom level: L5/S1. If that were to be cleaned out, there would be an 85% chance that it would fix all my symptoms!!! 85% are realllly good odds in my book! His recommendation: laminectomy at L5/S1, a day or two in the hospital, and a lot of walking. Told me to think about it and if I wanted to schedule it, call them back. So we started to walk out...passed the registration desk and I stopped. What was there to think about? I'm in absolutely misery and this is a less complicated surgery than what I already went thru...and it would give me an 85% shot at getting my life back. My decision was made...I wanted to get it done. So I turned around, asked the receptionist, "what if I don't need to think about surgery and just want to do it?". She said she would get me back to the nurse and surgeon again to get it scheduled. Fifteen minutes later, we were walking out again...but this time, consent signed and surgery set for April 20! I was ecstatic!
The next month was full of planning, cooking, scheduling, prepping the house for yet another recovery, visiting family and friends....
April 18th - parents were already on their way to OH and the phone rings...Cleveland. Postponing surgery....no denial, just rearranging the surgeon's schedule. I was almost in a huge panic... but I tried to remain calm. Only a 2 day shift.
April 21st - headed to CC for a day of pre-op appts then to the hotel to relax and prepare for a great big HAPPY day on the 22nd.
April 22nd - THE DAY I HAVE WAITED 15 MONTHS FOR!!!! Parents were there w/ me, Trina was on her way... T and Brando were on their way. Surrounded by the ones I love, I was ready to feel better! After waiting for what seemed like forever for the OR to be ready and to find out I wasn't getting bumped by an emergency surgery, it was my turn! Off to the OR I went ;) Great staff...then I was OUT! ;) Waking up was easier than the first...no mean ladies putting stockings on me. Didn't really approve of having to switch beds when I arrived in my room but I survived. Pain was allllll muscle pain...wowzers! My incision didn't hurt, just my muscles. Pain meds didn't touch the pain...so I stopped asking for it. I wasn't allowed to sit up or lift my head for 24 hours...still wondering if there was some leakage of spinal fluid during surgery (usually if that's the case, sitting up induces horrible headaches)... that was the hardest part. Having to pee and not being able to get up. Experienced my first two catheterizations...just temporary both times but still...traumatic but necessary.
April 23rd - jerkface resident came in to do strength tests and such...grrrr! Did NOT like him. I'll cut his back open then the next day poke and prod at it and throw his legs down. NOT a good first impression. He stated I would be able to sit up/get up today so I was happy. ...but of course he didn't write it in my chart so I just waited and waited.... finally at noon I was able to sit up 10 degrees at a time and then wait 20 min. If no signs of headache or anything, 10 more degrees..etc. It took a couple of hours before I could get up. That first trip to the door and bathroom and back took a lot outta me. The next walk I went to the hall a bit, but found out later that that was too much. No more walking for the day. I was done! Oh, and praise all things holy for the NICE resident who thought to ask me about my pain and offer me muscle relaxers because pain meds don't help muscles! She's the best! I finally was able to start getting some relief from the horrible muscle pain!
April 24th - still in the hospital. Hadn't quite expected to be in for two nights since it was a less invasive procedure than the first and I was out in a day. But I trusted everything CC did so I followed and didn't push it. There would have been no way I could have gone home that first day anyway. No way! Ate my breakfast and lunch, did a big walk around the floor, and got ready to head home! I wholeheartedly dreaded the 2.5 hour ride home after back surgery but thankfully, it was a lot better than I ever anticipated. Lots of pillows and blankets strategically placed did wonders. Made it home with no issues! Got my meds picked up, and headed to the house! I had survived!!!
Recovery - amazingly different from the first one! A week post op I was already feeling better than I had felt the 15 months since the first surgery! Week two was great! Week three even better. The fourth week was full of rain and pain... I wasn't able to get out and walk as much and the weather might have played a part in it.
Today: 4 weeks and one day post op: I feel that I've been given my life back!! I do not take for granted the minutes and hours and days without pain, or with very minimal pain! I cannot believe that it took over two years and two back surgeries in two different cities by two different surgeons to get where I am today! However, there's a reason for how it all happened and I'm grateful for it all. I'm much stronger today than I was before...and thankful each day for just being able to live my life again!
Future: Still recovering and healing. Post op appt scheduled for June 14th. I want to hear my restrictions moving forward and just thank Dr. K again, in person!
On to living!!!!!!!!!!!!