The dreaded day....
Hello all! I am so happy to be writing again! My energy is finally high enough so I can concentrate! I have so much to share so I'm just going to hit the ground running and start talking.
My Spinal Fusion surgery was October 3rd. I had about 2 hours of sleep and had to be at the hospital by 5am. Mom drove me in the wee hours of the morning. Let me just say, there wasn't much said on that trip. We were both pretty nervous I think.
We checked into the Spinal Care Unit and it wasn't 20 minutes before they called me back to the holding area. I had to walk back there by myself, get changed into a diposable hospital gown (due to the "involvement of blood"), and the nurse began prepping me by asking all the medical history questions. After what seemed like 50 questions later, the nurse said she would get my mother. By the the time my mom came, the nurse was placing more chlorahexydine (antimicrobial) on my back.
I was a freaking nervous wreck. I was so scared. I was shaking my foot so bad that I was rocking the whole bed. Mom noticed and naturally starting tearing up telling me that it was going to be fine. I cried a little, but I was trying to be strong for her. Inside I was screaming. Unfortunately, I only got to see her for 15 minutes before being rolled into the pre-op holding area. I could not look back at her. Never in my life have I been that terrified.
Inside pre-op holding, I was the youngest person. Everyone else was middle aged or older. I was rolled into a corner with no one around me. I just stared at the wall trying to meditate and stay calm. A nurse by the name of Frank introduced himself. He said he was going to be with me the entire operation. He was very nice and made me as comfortable as he could.
The prepping began by placing pulsating cuffs on my calves to help stop blood clots. The IV was placed on both arms. A nurse came walking towards my bed with a cooler and placed it on the table directly beside me. It read, "Blood Bank for Tiffany O'Neal". That's when I started to panic. I started to hyperventilate, but the nurse named Frank mellowed me out. My surgeon stopped by to check on me. He was very kind and reassuring. The moment he walked away however, I started crying like a baby. Finally, they gave me Versed (anxiety medicine) to get me to chill out. Then it was lights out. I did not remember a thing.
Final pre-op with the surgeon.
Well, today was an interesting day. I had my final pre-op with the surgeon today. He went over how he was going to make the incisions and where. If I remember correctly, the incision will start at T2 and extend to L2. It will be titanium rods and screws as well. Now, the doctor did say that he was doing selective fusion, which means he is basically choosing the best area to fuse since I have a curve in my Thoracic (upper back) and one in my Lumbar (lower back). He says he is not going to extend to far into my Lumbar because he thinks it will correct itself due to manipulating the Thoracic. Of course, there is a chance he will have too. Just depends....
The doctor said he will have me placed in ICU for 1-2 days depending on recovery. He will also have me up and walking the next day. I will be fitted for a brace and will possibly only have to wear it for 6-8 weeks. Just depends on how I am healing. A nurse will also come to my house everyday to check on my incision site.
Now, here's the great news. He informed me that due to the possibility of forming blood clots and the family history of clots, I have to have a IVC filter placed. This contraption is inserted into my main artery and filters out the blood clots. I will have to have this placed prior to the Spinal Fusion.
Yea...more stuff, but if it helps me in the long run, the better.
Below are some pictures that took of my xrays:
August 23rd, 2013
It caught up to me at work. The pain finally caught up to me to where physically and mentally I could not function. Yesterday was yet another uber busy day at work and I was assisting in a 4.5 hour sedation in an ergonomically odd position the entire time. By the time hour 3 rolled around, I was in awful pain. I was twisted in such a way at one point, that I actually could not breathe well and I began to get dizzy. I felt like was going to pass out, but I had to keep assisting.
At the end of the sedation, I was finally able to get out of the room to get some air. I could barely walk. Every step I took felt like the friction of a bunch of pebbles being ground into the pavement. I had to sneak out through the back of the building because I was hurting so bad. I cried to myself and when I got situated enough to go back inside, no one noticed. No one cared I think.
I had more patients to take and as the day went on, my body protested. My right arm became extremely weak. I kept dropping things and could not even open anything. But I need a paycheck so on and on I went.
When I got in my car I cried, when I got home I cried, and took a long hot shower. I laid flat on my back for an hour. I went to bed early as well. Today, it still hurts but not as bad. My back is sore all over and hurts on my right thoracic when I take a deep breath. Hopefully soon this pain will be a thing of the past.
5 weeks and counting....
Today is my son's first day of Kindergarten. I'm pretty sure that I was more nervous about him starting than he was. Walking with him to his classroom was unnerving and exciting. He looked like a deer in headlights when he saw all the other children. He ended up crying when it was time for me to leave and it broke my heart. My little baby boy is growing up. And yes, when I got to my car, I cried.
Today is a landmark for my family. Not only our son is a big man, but today marks an event on our schedule that brings my Spinal Fusion surgery closer. Today was the last of everything we had to take care of before all the preparations and pre-op testing began. So of course, I'm freaking out.
It is amazing how time gets away from us. One day you look around and your child was just born (I can remember it so vividly) and then poof.......he's 5 years old and your leaving him alone with a teacher that you can only hope will take care of him the way you do. Sigh....
I am dreading being wheeled into that operatory. I am dreading kissing my child goodnight the night before. I am dreading the pain afterwards. I guess I am more negative right now because now the clock is ticking louder. I keep trying to see the silver lining, but right now it's not as vibrant as it needs to be.
I set the appointment for the MRI that the doctor needed to perform my Spinal Fusion surgery. He requested the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar (basically my entire back) to be the main focus in the image. The doctor wants me to bend over like I am reaching for something in this MRI. Different way of doing it.... maybe it allows the doctor to see where all my nerves run and how my discs lay. Just a hypothesis...