Find part 1 here.
The neurosurgeon was only able to get my spine back in alignment to a 50% (slippage). I will take 50% over 75% any day but still, I was disappointed. I had high expectations. My L5-S1 was fused together with two rods and four screws. There was also a "cage" implanted with a bone growth type material.
It would take approximately one year for the fusion to, hopefully, take place - hence, the one year recovery.
She didn’t know about my goals.
When I was lying down, I could be at a slightly elevated angle. My head/shoulders could rest on two bed pillows but nothing higher than that.
I found that I couldn't lie on my sofa. It wasn't soft enough and caused pain. When I wasn't up walking, I spent most of the first three months in bed reading or visiting with family.
This photo was taken on February 5th, one month after surgery.
Using the bathroom while wearing the brace was a challenge also. I had a lot of anxiety about "bathroom issues" before the surgery but the nurse assured me that I would "figure it out." I did. I will just say that sometimes you have to learn new ways of doing things and it's not so bad after all.
I also had a walker positioned in front of the uuuhhhhh, hmmmmm, toilet. I was a bit unstable at times and this helped tremendously for several weeks. Well, to be honest, several months.
The ipad opened up a new world for me. I could attend church again - even my old church in Orlando. I could take classes online, keep up with the news and email friends.
This photo was taken on February 21st, less than two months after surgery.
My sister encouraged me to do a painting for something productive. She loaned me her easel so I could paint standing up. And guess what? It just so happened that my niece needed a cool painting for her room that was being redecorated.
Yeah, I fell for that.
I stood up as long as I could and then I would lean on a bar stool. Once the pain started, I would "call it a day."
Later, they asked me to teach future classes but because of my sitting/standing/pain issue, I had to decline the offer. They will never know how much it meant to me just "being asked." It made so many future days so much brighter.
Life without the clam-shell on my back was brand new. I had learned proper ways of bending and lifting. My posture was almost perfect.
I was concerned that during those three months, I would loose all of my muscle mass and end up being a wet noodle once I took the brace off. In the end, it wasn't so bad after all.
This photo was taken on March 26th, a few days after the "shedding of the clam-shell." These are a few of my first cakes. Sad looking but I was so proud of them. The best part of my 50th birthday was getting to make all those cakes. We had originally planned a trip to NYC for my 50th but, well, it didn't happen.
I will spare you the photos taken of my back on January 13th. I had five small incisions.
The numbness was almost gone by September. I was finally able to put my socks on sitting on the bed instead of laying on my back with my knee up to my chest. Big accomplishment.
I was on the road to a full recovery and I was so happy.
It scared me because I had followed all the rules from all the doctors and the physical therapist. I just could not understand why, suddenly, things would get worse.
I called the neurosurgeon and he ordered another MRI and X-rays. This time, I had to have "contrast" for the MRI because of all the metal and scar tissue in my back. This "contrast" stuff was not so good - at all. I sorta felt sicky/out-of-it for the remainder of the day. Thankfully, I was back to normal the next day.
I will tell you about my final visit with the neurosurgeon in part 3. Hopefully, it won't take me as long to write it as it did part 2. Writing about my back surgery is not the most "fun" thing to do. There are so many facts and little details involved that it is difficult to condense it all into just a few pages.
Each time I proof read, there is something else to add or something to take away. I could keep doing this for months. But today is the day. This is part 2, not the best I can do but the best for today. I really need to "let it be what is is" and go outside and play. Like I said before, sometimes being a type-A is not so good.
Until then, take a moment to be thankful for your health - no matter what it is.
Many times when I have been a little "down" because of my situation, the best way to fix myself is to do something nice for someone else.
It works every, single time!
A personal note of extreme gratitude: I would have never, ever been able to make it through this difficult journey without all the help I received from my wonderful husband, Chip, The Mommy, my family and my wonderful friends, Mary Beth & Bill. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do for me. I am extremely blessed in the "love" department. I love each of you more than you will ever know :)