24 June 2008
I'm not quite sure where to begin this post but I know I need to start with thanking each and every one of you for your prayers and well wishes. You have no idea what they accomplished and they may very well have saved not just my limbs, but my life.
In my last post, I explained how my surgeon and I agreed to "wait and see" before I had surgery. Since the idea of anyone cutting on my neck held little appeal, I was more than willing to try physical therapy and wait right along with them. I posted that on the morning of the 12th. By 2300 hours that same evening I had a new neurosurgeon and was admitted for some serious surgery on June 17th. (It took that long for them to figure out how to put "Humpty Dumpty" back together again.) I noticed the left arm symptoms increasing so rapidly on the 12th, that I went to the E.R. again...but this time, I went to our trauma center. They admitted me so fast because my cervical spine was literally collapsing on itself. I had progressed well beyond spinal stenosis. My nerves were literally being crushed by the vertebrae - hence the loss of motion in my hands. Had it continued for the original waiting period, I wouldn't be here typing this today. Remember that "wonderful" doctor I found? He never returned the pages from the trauma center. Not one of them. But it turns out that was a blessing in disguise. Now, they say it was luck of the draw, but I say it was God who determined that I would end up with one of the brightest neurosurgeons in the state. He ran a lot of tests and took a lot of pictures before deciding how to remedy this little problem and when he did it, he did it right. I now have 2 titanium plates, 8 titanium screws, 2 "donor"* disks and 2 units of O+ holding my neck together. The technical term for the procedure is "ACDF" - Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion.
I will spare you the gory details of those 4 hours since the important part starts when I woke up in post-op and was immediately able to use my left hand and arm and saw a 50% improvement in the right one. The latter will come back with time and therapy now that it has a decent blood supply again.
I *am* still on pain killers so I don't want to sit here typing too long, but I wanted to let all of you know that I'm ok and thank you for such sweet comments. As for your prayers...well, I was discharged Friday morning and am expected to make a complete recovery as far as my right hand is concerned well before Christmas. In light of that, I think it is safe to say that God listened.
And for that, my friends...I thank you.
*I'm going to post about organ donation as soon as I am clear headed enough to do so. I've been an organ donor since I could drive...I never imagined I would be on the receiving end of such a loving gift.