Who Knew?

New Hardware - Plate w/ screws; arrows point to 2 bone segments placed between vertebrae where discs were removed

New Hardware – Plate w/ screws; arrows point to 2 bone segments placed between vertebrae where discs were removed

I know I’m a slacker, but I think I have taken it to epic proportions! Just when I think I’ll write regularly, I make a post & walk away for 3 months. Granted, life happens. But once you hear I’ve been doing a lot of hanging around lately you’ll see I’ve had the time.

Spring is FINALLY here and the weather is gorgeous. Temps in the 70’s, flowers blooming, leaves coming in on the trees – my beloved summer is getting closer! And this week we’ve been hit by THE PLAGUE and are INSIDE! Ack! Laughing Boy #2 started getting sick last Friday (just before the in-laws arrived for a weekend visit – oh joy!), and then remained sick through Tuesday! He was finally (mostly) better yesterday, but is still home with me today. The little skin & bones man has hardly eaten in days and is totally wiped out. So today it’s eat & get your strength back day for him.

LB#1 started with the beginnings of the plague at school yesterday & I had to pick him up at noon. He’s OK today, but is home just in case. And I was sick from Sunday night through Tuesday night, although I was still very blah yesterday.

And I’m itching to get outside & DO STUFF! I want to move! Last summer, at the end of July, we went on a weekend trip to NH. And on that trip I woke one morning with the most painful and terrible stiff neck I have ever had in my life. And it never went away. And it progressively got worse all through August, and by the start of September I was at the doctor’s office. And that began a nearly 7 month adventure in the joys of neck, arm & shoulder pain.

My doctor suspected a bulging disc in my neck and had my start physical therapy (although xrays showed nothing). By mid October I was still having troubles and had shoulder xrays and a neck CT. The CT did show bulging discs, but I continued with PT in hopes of fixing it. By Thanksgiving I was miserable still and called to see the doc again, who finally sent me on to an orthopedic surgeon.

The orthopedic surgeon, who was ancient, told me he would bet $100 I was headed for surgery, but scheduled an MRI and an epidural steroid injection. Had to try the injection on the off chance it would work. It didn’t. My 2 HERNIATED discs could have cared less about the steroid, and the pinched nerve continued to kill me.

So I saw another orthopedic surgeon – one who actually still operates – who said I was left with A) live with it, or B) have surgery, since PT and the injection did not work. So the ancient doc was right. Surgery was where I was headed.

Surgery was 7 weeks ago today and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Even if I did have to wear a cervical collar 24 hours a day for 6 weeks! Within a few minutes of when I woke in the recovery room I knew the surgery had worked – the pain was GONE! GONE!!!! It was amazing, after being in such pain for so many months.

BTW, surgery was ACDF – anterior cervical discectomy & fusion. And it was a 2-level surgery, meaning 2 discs were done. Basically they cut open the FRONT of my neck, pushed stuff of the way to get to my spine, removed the 2 herniated discs, put bone grafts between my vertebrae where the discs were to continue holding the vertebrae apart, placed a titanium plate over the whole thing & screwed it to my vertebrae, then closed me back up. Voila – fixed! Of course I did much of nothing for about 6 weeks, and am now just slowly easing back into my “regular” life, but there’s NO PAIN!!

Who knew I could spend 6 weeks doing nothing?! I had 6 weeks where I could have been adding some “stuff” here. But instead I devoted my time to reading, to facebook, and to Pinterest. The reading part was good – but I suspect there are brain cells now dead from the other 2 parts!

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