My Spinal Specialist appointment went well. I think that’s the best description under the circumstances.
I managed to walk to his office using my walker and I thought I was doing well. As I entered his room I smiled as brightly as possible.
However the pain in my eyes and my inability to move faster than a snail, revealed a very different picture to my Dr than the positive one I was working on presenting. He knew just looking at me I was doing far from well.
He grimaced and said;
“So it’s clear the facet joint injections didn’t work”
I looked up as I struggled to sit in the chair in the office and replied;
” Unfortunately not, although the anaesthetic worked a little for 24 hours”
I knew I was grasping at straws at this point and so did my Surgeon.
Nothing Like Getting Straight To The Point
I thought we would sit down and have a chat about numerous options. Well, a few options….it was clear we were getting to the end of possible treatments. In hospital we had discussed radio frequency neurotomy as the next step, so I was at least expecting to revisit this idea.
My Dr turned his laptop around to show me my MRI. I had seen it before but he had been studying it. He pointed out the spinal stenosis was severe and was obviously not going to respond to conservative treatment. We had tried.
“You really only have one option available to keep you out of a wheelchair. You need decompression surgery.”
Those words lingered in the air for a moment. I wasn’t expecting him to be so definite. We both knew that surgery of any kind would be risky for me. I’ve had so many and my bones just have a mind of their own. We never know what to expect when I’m opened up.
I raised this fact. He acknowledged he was concerned about what he would find. Would my bones remain stable? Would they be so hard he’ll need specialised equipment? We just don’t know.
So why are we even contemplating going ahead?
We Have No Choice
We simply don’t have a choice. The pain from the stenosis is horrendous. The Spinal cord compression is dangerously close to requiring emergency surgery. Best to avoid that scenario. I also have a lesion at L4. It may be a bone spur or a cyst but it’s not going away and will only get worse.
I can’t even begin to think what “worse” would be like.
So, I’m having surgery. Open lumbar laminectomy and decompression spinal surgery at L4/L5, on the 9th November.
It will take 3 months to recover with the first 6 weeks being very difficult. I won’t be able to sit or stand for longer than 15 to 20 mins at a time. No twisting or bending. No housework. No lifting. No stretching up. I will only be able to sleep on my back.
My situation and recovery will be complicated by my bone disease and especially my non-union broken left femur and foot fractures.
All we can really hope for is eventual relief from the intensity of my back pain so I can better manage my leg and overarching bone pain.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3 v 5
Taking The Risk
Sometimes in life you just have to take a risk. You have to gather all the information you have available and weigh up the cost and the benefit.
I don’t like the thought of the tough recovery period but I’ve been through major surgery before and I can do it again.
I know there is a chance the surgery won’t work but at this point I have nothing to lose.
I know my Surgeon is not entering into this lightly and he has his own concerns. That gives me confidence that I am in good hands. He cares and he will be doing every thing he can to mitigate the risks.
Does that mean I won’t get cold feet? Believe me I will definitely be thinking of reasons to run the other way.
Thankfully I do tend to face things head on so I’ll be proceeding. When I do get moments of feeling like cancelling, my body has a great way of reminding me that I have a problem.
Accepting The Inevitable
I had a goal of getting to a local shop for 10 mins this afternoon. A goal that failed miserably!
My back rendered me unable to move at all from 7pm last night. Same situation that landed me in hospital 2 weeks ago. I avoided the ambulance trip this time as I know complete rest is the answer until surgery and I want to be at home in the lead up to surgery.
It was a timely wakeup call reminding me, even if I get an hours relief from pain it just isn’t lasting.
I’d love nothing more than my back to miraculously heal. I’d love nothing more than to not need more surgery.
Sometimes we just have to accept that we can’t have or do what we might like. When our plans have to change, or our hopes are not realised, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a setback.
Finding a way to deal with chronic illness setbacks is the key to remaining positive. It’s the key to survival.
So, my advice…..no matter what difficulty you’re facing, acknowledge it, cry about it, talk about it, research all options available and then set it all aside and do something you’ll enjoy.
My husband helped me get up and dressed and seated downstairs today and we enjoyed a favourite Father Brown episode. I also enjoyed some online shopping……a couple of dresses that will be easy to slip on post surgery.
So life isn’t all that bad, despite pain and disability. There are always options to salvage setbacks and disappointments
One of the biggest positives of my recent setback is quite simple. It’s brought a change of attitude and I can honestly say…..Surgery can’t come soon enough!
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4 v 13
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story