So I didn’t post regular updates like I originally wanted to. I think that’s mostly because I was too depressed to think about it all enough to write it down.
My recovery has not gone anywhere near what the common recovery is for spinal fusion. I ended up having a second surgery four weeks after the first to repair my unhealed incision. Not to mention the massive nerve pain I’ve had in my right leg since surgery, and the numbness in my left leg…making it near impossible to do any therapeutic walking exercises. I can barely walk to the bathroom, not to mention sitting long enough to use it…or standing long enough to shower.
And I’ve learned a lot about dignity, and when you need to set it aside for awhile. This is not a pretty recovery…not that any are..but this one is particularly…unpretty. When you need assistance to do the most basic human physical tasks…you learn a lot about what real love and patience looks like…and who the people are in your life that really matter. I’m crying as I write this, because the truth of those words overwhelms me when I think of them.
This whole experience also makes me think about my mortality almost everyday, and growing old. How, at 40, I’m experiencing things that our relatives go through who are in nursing homes…and the desolation they must feel at times. Feeling so helpless to do the simplest things…being so dependent on others to live through the day. It pains me to think that anyone ever has to go through that. But I digress.
I have six weeks before I go back to the neurosurgeon for a follow up. In the meantime, I’ll be starting on four weeks of physical therapy. I would really love to be mobile and healed enough to go back to work after that…but if not, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. The little goals are the easiest to meet, and right now my first little goal is to feel well enough to go back to my own home, instead of depending on my parents during the day. I miss my home, my back deck, my garden, my cat Panther, and I hate that Nik is so out of his normal routine. And most of all, I hate that Aaron has to work six days a week, only to have to come home and spend the evening taking care of me. I know he’s exhausted. He’s gone above and beyond, and I couldn’t imagine going through this without him.
Well, I guess I should try going to sleep. It’s 3:36 am. That’s another thing…during a major recovery, with lots of meds, your sleep schedule gets completely messed up.
Ah well. Good morning…and here’s to a relatively pain-free Monday.
Woke up this morning with the normal excruciating pain, along with an uncomfortable pressure at my incision site. But I took my meds and did some sway-in-place warmups and was surprisingly able to do about six laps between the bedrooms up here.
But then I hurt too much to sit down and pee, so I’ll just try that later.
And I still feel like I was hit by a bus. Have had no discernable improvement whatsoever since I got home from hospital. I am so frustrated and angry and tired of the pain. I just want to be able to sit long enough to eat a meal, and stand long enough to take a damn shower.
Have to go in Friday to get my stitches out, but honestly have no idea how I’m gonna make the car ride, since the piriformis pain is so intense I can’t even sit longer than two minutes before blasting right past the ten on the pain scale.
Really hoping to turn some kind of corner here soon.
Surgery day was a blur for the most part. I do remember checking in early, and bring in pre op area with Aaron for about a hour or so. Then they rolled me into surgery and put a breathing mask on me…and that was all she wrote until I woke up after surgery in recovery area. That was a blur too.
After being put in my room, the rest of the day was mostly sleeping, interspersed with nurses waking me up for meds, pills and vitals. Mom, Aaron, Alex and Krista were all there.
One restless night later, day two was spent trying to gain some strength. Pt came and had me walk down the hall and try to sit on the chair. Unfortunately, there its major nerve pain in my left leg that wasn’t there before surgery, and I can barely walk because of it. Have decreased strength in that leg. Its maddening. I know I just had surgery and it may heal with time. Just really hope it does, and fast. If it keeps like this, I’ll be in crutches instead of a cane. :(
On a good note, Nik is coming to visit me today. :)
Sitting here in the living room, relaxing with my best little man, watching All About Monster Trucks once again. Loving the time I have this day with Nik, before the long journey of recovery after spinal fusion tomorrow.
Started to get things packed for the stay at moms afterwards, but having second thoughts. Some people tend to overreact to situations and end up causing hurt and extra stress. Maybe healing on my own will be better for me. Hell, I’ve always been on my own in healing, why change now?
Gonna wait for the call from the hospital with my surgery time. Back to monster trucks with Nik!!
So with four days left, today (yesterday) was my last day at work. I was able to get everything wrapped up that I needed to and my boss left met out a little early, which was much appreciated.
I picked up Nik and we went to dinner at Panera, then came home and relaxed a bit before he passed out from exhaustion. Poor little dude has been so tired this week because of Aarons second shift schedule.
And I’m afraid his schedule will be a little more messed up during and after the surgery, since we’ll be staying at my moms for a couple weeks.
Hopefully he’ll adjust quickly.
This is what upsets me the most, disrupting Nik. Plus the fact that I won’t be able top pick him up or hold him for a few weeks. I live to hug and cuddle with my baby boy, and this will be agony for me.
So this will cover seven, six and five days before surgery…since I haven’t posted since eight.
Over the past few days, I’ve been kind of lax, and not doing much to get ready for surgery day. I guess I’m kind of burned out and frustrated…feeling kind of alone in all of this. My eldest doesn’t seem to give two craps about anything dealing with me, and poor Aaron is so busy working and driving kids around that I don’t think he remembers to remember this or to stop and talk to me and show support.
But it all boils down to…I just really wish someone would put their arms around me and say they care what I’m going through, and the anxiety and nervousness that I feel before this major life event takes place. And that they are there, and want to help, and want to put me first for a few days. Is that too selfish??
I was hoping for a clean house before surgery…but since I can’t physically do much of anything in that regard…it just didn’t happen. In fact, it got worse. So now I have the added stress of coming home after the first couple weeks at my mom’s to a messy house. I seriously just wish I could hire a house cleaner to come through and clean…but I’d probably go broke doing that…LOL.
I’ve been busy at work, wrapping projects up and getting things ready for my absence…so work is really the least of my worries at this point. At least tonight will be my last physical therapy session. I really hated PT. The only reason they made me go through it again was for insurance purposes. Completely pointless, and only took more time away from Nikolas…when we really don’t have much time to begin with. Ugh…sometimes I wish I could be a stay at home mom…but I’m too independent in that regard, and would rather my children be brought up to learn the importance of self-reliance.
We did have a nice 4th of July…went swimming. The baby had a blast, and it felt great being in the water. Certainly wish we had a pool at home…that would be great for recovery.
Guess I really need to just sit down and take my support into my own hands, though. L I only have 5 days left to do this. I don’t even think we know what we’re doing with the baby while I’m in the hospital.
Not much today. Really just kind of angry…but that’s a whole different story.
The nurse called this morning and said that the MRI didn’t show any cervical spine issues, so the numbness in my arms and hands is most likely carpal tunnel. Yay, something different to deal with now, too. At least the night braces are helping with the pain and numbness at night, and I can get a little more sleep.
Speaking of sleep, I’m exhausted. And I overdid it this evening. Time to hit the sack.
With nine days left, I’ve been checking YouTube some more to watch videos that other people have done who went through this surgery. Its been enlightening and informative, if not a little scary.
I’ve also been trying to find a good medication log app for my phone, since meds are going to be a big part of my recovery. Although, I can’t seem to find one that matches exactly what i’m looking for, so maybe a notebook would be the best. Back to the low tech roots.
This is also my last week at work, so I’ll be pretty busy wrapping things up there and getting stuff ready for my fill in. Doc says I’ll probably be off around three months.
Really would have rather waited to do this in the fall, but sometimes your body has its own agenda, and you just have to go with it.
I went to see my neuro yesterday, who will be doing my surgery, Dr. Peter Gerszten. I’ve been having horrible numbing and pain in my hands. It mostly comes out at night while I’m sleeping. I don’t think I’ve gotten more than 4.5 hours of sleep a night in the past week because of the combined pain in my back, legs and now hands. He had me go get another MRI the same day, just to make sure whether or not it’s something in the cervical spine causing the hand numbness. He’ll call me early next week with the results.
In the meantime, I went and bought a couple of night braces to wear while I sleep. They help keep your hands in a good position, and they’re pretty comfy, so here’s hoping they help a bit.
I need to go shopping yet and pick up a few things for my recovery, like a few pairs of sweat pants and large tees, and maybe some new, comfy pj’s. Maybe get a hair trim, since I won’t be able to do that for a while after surgery.
One of the things that I’m finding is that I’ve been eating take out way too much lately. Problem is, I can’t stand long enough to really cook anything for dinner, so I usually just stop at Taco Bell or Subway on the way home from physical therapy…or we go out to eat somewhere for dinner. It sure doesn’t make it any easier being a vegan…there sure isn’t much out there in the way of frozen meals that are vegan-friendly that I can just pop in the microwave. Ah well.
Well, I’m sitting here by myself, as Aaron took Nik and the kids to his sister’s for a birthday party. I did a tiny bit of cleaning in the bathroom…but I think it’s time to sit back and relax in the quiet and the AC.
Guess I will start a new blog and try out tumblr. They always say to write what you know, so I guess I’ll write about my current struggles with spinal stenosis, and dealing with the day to day of that.
Right now, I’ve been dealing with spinal stenosis that came about from a deteriorating fight with spondylolisthesis.
Before I continue, let me explain what both of those are. Spondylolisthesis is the slippage of one vertebra off another. In my case, its L5 slipping forward. This condition itself doesn’t necessarily cause pain. But it can lead to spinal stenosis, which is when the opening in a vertebra through which a major nerve passes through becomes lessened, causing the bone to rub against or pinch the nerve.
This usually causes pain, ranging anywhere from a slight ping to a debilitating ache that makes it near impossible to function. Can also cause numbness in the extremities, muscle atrophy and drop foot, among other things.
I was unlucky enough to get the bad end of things, as I am currently only able to walk certain distances with the aid of a cane or shopping buggy. My ortho doc, Dr. William Donaldson of Upmc, did am MRI to confirm what was going on, and suggests surgery as a viable option.
The surgery is spinal fusion, and it will put me out of work for a few months. Not to mention the risk of making things worse. But the chance to live without the pain is just as compelling.