After my last post I was bombarded with questions about how/why my surgery failed. Why I am not “all fixed up” and ready to rock’n’roll. Instead of taking up 3/4 of someones facebook feed I decided this might be he more appropriate forum.
I had spinal fusion surgery on 11/18. The surgery was to be the fusion + additional hardware to stabilize the renegade vertebrae. My nerves were too brittle to accommodate the cage so it was eliminated. Even though it was never actually installed the nerves were all sorts of pissed off. The first 48 hours after surgery, I was convinced I had died and gone to hell. I had not died but I was definitely in hell. Ive heard the song “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” well, so is hell. Much like the hell you are taught in church – you want to avoid it like the bubonic plague. Funny thing – I have been in pain management treatment for 3 years so I am on scary high doses of pain meds. Not a single Dr ever bothered to mention that cause of my body’s tolerance to these pain meds, the drugs the hospital would offer, would be as effective as water.
I made it through the first 48 hours. I lived to tell the tale. I feel like I accomplished something most mortals can not. There was enough going outside of my little bubble of pain that required my attention and it kept me focused on getting up and out of bed. I just want to send a big Thank You to everyone who showed their love during this time! So many people brought us food, we had more food than we could eat., flowers, cards, calls and well wishes. It was amazing to see so many people come together to help us make it past the hardest days.
When the pain first started to rear its ugly head again, I ignored it. It has to be pain associated with healing. This was THE surgery, it had worked, right? A few days turned into a few weeks. By my 6 week post op I was hurting as bad, if not more so, than before the surgery. The Dr quieted any fears I had about the pain returning, saying it was temporary, my nerves were just “waking up”. By the time my 90 day post op rolled around, I knew that wasnt the case.
I have been a chronic pain sufferer for years. Pain is nothing new to me. I have learned to listen to my body and I know my limits. Even though I couldnt figure out what it was, I felt something wasnt right within. I had follow up Xrays done at the 90 day post op appointment. Keep in mind, that everyone (including the surgeon) expected me to bounce back and recover much quicker because of my age. We were all a little bit shocked at what the Xrays showed. As part of the fusion bone grafts were planted around the hardware. These grafts form with the existing bone to help hold the hardware in place. For reasons still unknown to us, my bone grafts did not do this. They didnt do anything. They were barely visible on the xrays at all. The surgeon was very matter of fact when he advised that NOTHING could be done for now. No med changes, no steroids, no procedures. I needed to stay, floating along in limbo, until we figure this out. A repeat of the surgery was all we could do unless my body managed to change its mind and embrace the new metal interior design.
Much like a ping pong ball, I have bounced back and forth between Drs for months. They have open dialog about my “case” and are working together to try and make sense of it. Both seem to be convinced that there is some hidden infection, flying low enough under the radar that they cant pinpoint its location. In the few months since this discovery, it has been theorized that I have a chronic bladder infection, bladder cancer, kidney infection, renal failure or my sphincter muscle has called it quits. None of which sound good. None of which have been proven. We do know one thing for sure, something is distracting my weakened immune system from doing the healing it should be doing.
I am now about 160 days post op. (its totally mind blowing that I am speaking in terms of days since that surgery all the way back in November) I have 3 pretty big appointments coming up in the next few weeks. The first will hopefully narrow down the theory list and give us some conclusive info to work with. The second and third will decide how we proceed. As I get closer and closer to the April 17 deadline, its looking more and more like I will be undergoing the fusion surgery AGAIN.
Thats pretty much the sum of it. I have been researching metaphysical healing alternatives, I have been filling my body with supplements and vitamins. I have done everything I can to prevent another stroll through hell. In the long run Im not sure I can really impact the outcome. Only time will tell.
When you are going through hell, keep going – Winston Churchill