Recovery is like a cha-cha you take lots of steps forward and then you go back. So I had been making progress with my neck. The imaging actually looked so well that I don’t need any more imaging on my neck right now. It’s healing properly! It’s fusing the way it’s supposed to, which is such a blessing! I was so glad to hear that after all the headaches with my back (more on that in a minute). I have had so much radiation from x-rays, cat scans and MRIs over the last 4-6 years that the doctors are getting concerned because I am young. So the neurosurgeon in January decided to only do a cat scan of my back, that my neck looked stable.
So we did a cat scan of my back and this time there is enough bone growth to consider me stable. It still has not fully fused (which is highly frustrating, but I’ll take what I can get) but there is enough bone growth that I am out of the woods finally. The hardware is stable, and they don’t feel like it will break off. There is some peace about that. When people talk about metal fatigue and how it could break and puncture you, it is a little disconcerting. However with my history I figure that’s the least of my concerns!
So the real problem I am having is with my shoulder. I think that when both of my arms were totally numb I possibly tore my rotator cuff. I didn’t know any better because I had no feeling and now that I have feeling back, it has been bothering me since about October last year. We have also been doing physical therapy on it since October last year. I will get better for a bit and then it gets worse again. So this past week it has gotten a lot worse for no apparent reason and I finally have broken down and made an appointment with the orthopedic doctor.
The neurosurgeon doctor and the physical therapy doctor both agree it’s time to see the orthopedic doctor about my shoulder. So we will see what he says, of course I could be wrong and it could be something totally different. I just want to get to the bottom of it and find out so we can fix it. I just hope I don’t have to have surgery, but this having surgery every year is getting VERY OLD! I stopped wishing for no surgeries because I have learned that is just asking for a surgery to happen, so I am just going to go with the flow and see what happens. All is well no matter what!
Same ole story my back STILL hasn’t fused and no one knows why! I am going to have a CT scan done at the end of the month to figure out how much bone has grown, but for a fusion that should have completed in 6 months and it’s been 24 months (almost 25 months) to say I’m disappointed would be a little bit of an understatement. I think the best part now is that we have to watch for metal fatigue…yes that means we have to watch to make sure the metal that was implanted last year doesn’t break. Oh joy! As if I don’t have enough on my plate let me worry about if they are going to need a soldering iron too….
I will be seeing the hematologist soon and two things will happen at that appointment a) we will discuss removal of the IVC filter because everyone is pretty confident I am not going to have some massive deadly blood clot and b) genetic testing to see which genetic clotting disorder I possibly have. Which I am almost coming up to my 1 year anniversary of my first massive deadly all the doctors told me I should be 6 feet in the ground date so the fact that I’m still walking and talking is a HUGE plus! I mean I rather enjoy being a pain in everyone’s BUTT! I said that to one of my doctor’s recently and all he could do was laugh and shake his head. No other response but laughter….I think that’s a good sign…right?
Everyone is happy I survived especially me! Last night someone called me by my deceased sister’s name and I corrected them. They looked at me and apologized and I was teasing them about that if I was her we would really have a problem because I know it’s getting close to Halloween…but we’re not THAT close yet! Then I said if they wanted to go pay her a visit she has a lovely view of the river! The person laughed and said it was good to know I hadn’t lost my sense of humor (they had not seen me recently, and knew I had been having some serious medical issues).
I still think we need to start a betting pool on if my neck is going to fuse before my back! I mean the back has a 2 year lead on my neck, but at the rate it is going, my neck might actually fuse first! We could do a 50/50 split and the other 50 could go towards my medical bills! (I am of course just kidding!) It will be interesting to see which heals first my neck or my back, in some ways I think my neck will heal first because I am skinnier, and I think my overall health is better right now. Sure I am on the blood thinners, but I think the difference in the weight will make a huge difference in the outcome (as much as I hate to say it).
Which speaking of weight yesterday I put on a women’s XL shirt for the first time in years, and I was super excited. I am really working hard at taking off the excess pounds slowly and healthy. I am seeing the improvements, and I also know from doing all the physical therapy that I am also building up the muscle mass as well so I am not just losing the weight I am also building up muscle which will be important for the long term!
Attitude of Gratitude can go a LONG way when you are dealing with a lot of health problems. Heck it can go a LOONG way when you aren’t dealing with a lot of health problems! So earlier this month we got repeat xrays on my back which at this point I think I could do in my sleep because I’ve had them done so many times the tech rarely has to re-position me, I usually know exactly how she/he needs me! I was frustrated when I saw the report that said no significant change since January (Healing SLOOOWLY). I saw one of my doctors who has been helping specifically with my back recovery this week and he confirmed that the fusion is happening but at a snails’ pace… he also confirmed that there has been little progress between January and present. He also showed me some other areas of concern on the xray, which were not new areas, and I teased back that one area in particular I was complaining about to him which is why we had recently changed focus in the treatment plan.
So what does this mean? A) I do know what my body is going through because I can feel it. The one issue I had complained about which is why we did the xrays in the first place and the xrays showed exactly what I have been feeling. B) We are going to have to keep doing the xrays to watch for metal fatigue because right now a few pieces of metal is what is holding my spine together (yeah let that sink in for a minute…) C) We continue with the physical therapy and D) Keep up with the supplements.
Mentally what does this mean? ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE! I could be on here whining about how life sucks and I should have never done the surgery and I was better off before, blah blah blah but I honestly don’t believe that. The leg spasms have decreased, I have lost a bunch of weight since I had surgery (the surgeries really gave me the motivation to start losing the weight and then keep it off), and I do believe that I will get better in time. I have an amazing team of doctors. I was talking with one doctor about the upcoming surgery and he said something about that my back hadn’t fused. I said if I had lost my faith in the surgeon I wouldn’t be allowing him to perform the next one, but I haven’t! I have total faith in the surgeon. The surgeon has done everything possible to set me up for perfect fusion, my body has just been SLOOOOOOOW to recover!
So I am going to keep on trucking, keep moving forward and keep looking at all the things I have in life to be grateful for, because at the end of the day…THERE ARE A LOT!!!
Yeah my knees are really bothering me no surprise. My back is bothering me no surprise. My neck is really bothering me no surprise. I am sitting on the couch with my feet up, spinal cord stimulator on, knees are taped because I was at physical therapy yesterday and hoping I can get some relief from the pain. Luckily because I have had several doctor appointments this week I have plenty of shows to catch up on! See looking at the positives!
I worked at physical therapy and I am hoping that we can get my knees stronger. I am getting frustrated because we seem to keep going back and forth between the two knees one gets a bit stronger and I sprain the other, etc. This sprain on the left is worse than they have been. I just want to give up, but I can’t! I know that I just need to keep wearing the braces, keep doing the physical therapy exercises and just see what happens in the next 8 weeks.
A positive attitude will get you a lot farther in life than a negative one. I think I need to start memorizing some new jokes however. I am starting to run out of them! I mean you can only tell the regular ones so many times before people know all the punchlines. I really do encourage everyone to keep a gratitude journal, and list 5 things that you are grateful for each day. Some days my list is harder to make than others, but I still do it because when you are focused on the good it’s easier to get through the day.
So I went to the spinal specialist yesterday. Last week I had xrays of my back taken to see how it was healing and then I had a CT taken of my c-spine (neck) because both of my arms and hands are going numb not constantly, just periodically. So on Monday I got a call from his office asking if I could come in 15 minutes earlier, and I said sure but I also had a sneaking suspicion that meant he needed more time to talk to me. So….
My back is FINALLY healing! He reported there is good bone growth. He was pleased with the xrays this go round which was EXCELLENT news I’ve been waiting over a year to hear this news so very happy with this part of the report. Seriously he says this to me my response back to him is “Hallelujah Praise Jesus!” He grinned because he knows its been a long road when it comes to my back.
We found out why my hands and arms are going numb, my C5 and C6 are bone on bone. There is no disc anymore between them. YIKES! So I asked him how long this has been like this and he said at least a year. So how I’ve gone this long and not realized how bad it was, it beyond me, but of course the last 2 and a bit years I’ve been dealing with really bad back pain so my body was focused on that. So I need another spinal surgery this year. Which at this point I want to laugh which I know is inappropriate response, but I really was hoping 2016 would be my year of no surgeries! The issue right now is that I’m still on the blood thinners, but we’re hoping I am going to come off the blood thinners in April, so since the C5 and C6 are already bone on bone he and I both agreed we can wait to see if I come off the blood thinners in April before scheduling the surgery. If I don’t come off the blood thinners in April then we have two ways he can do the surgery with me still on blood thinners its just a little trickier. We also will are going to take post op precautions for blood clots now that I have a history and all. So we have a plan for this I just was surprised when he said the neck was bone on bone. I guess when I do something I commit…..
My knee sprain doesn’t seem to want to heal this go round which is worrisome. Normally with bracing it the swelling would be totally gone by this point, but it is not and the knee is still really unstable with the swelling. So I am waiting to see what the orthopedic thinks about that. At this point I just take everything in stride because ultimately God is in control. I know all is well. I know that everything is going to work out. I try to look at the humor, I try to look at the positives of every situation because my life is better looking at the positives rather than focused on the negatives. I had a friend tell me once “Where your mind goes the energy will follow and where the energy goes the mind will follow.” I have to say that I much rather focus that energy in the positive and laugh and have fun than be in the negative!