You ever feel like you are stuck on a hamster wheel? You work hard, get up push forward only to end up finding yourself right back where you started. As I lay here watching the time fly by tonight, unable to sleep because my nerves are just racked.
Last March 2nd I did the very same thing... I had my 2nd anterior cervical disc fusion (ACDF). I had a previous one back several years ago and did great. I was fused at levels C-5, C6 and C6-C7. The surgery went well and I was home within 24 hours. I was also right back at life after just a few short weeks and with the help of a few physical therapy sessions you really couldn't tell I had been fused. So preparing for my March surgery was pretty simple. I knew this time would be a little tougher but I was far from prepared. I spent the first few weeks in agony. Muscle spasms were awful, the shoulder pain was bad, but worst of all was my throat pain. At my post op appointment I expressed my frustrations and pain. I was told sometimes these things happen and with time it would get better. They explained I had some pretty major surgeries and there was a lot of arthritis and bone spurs they had to remove, plus removing the old hardware and having two more levels fused so it would just take time.
Months pass by and I'm still struggling with swallowing and eating, along with throat pain and my shoulder pain. I was noticeably losing weight. As time keeps moving I am having more problems, now my neck is back to causing pain and these nightmare migraines. I push through and manage through the summer just trying to ignore it and hoping with time things will improve. By September I have lost over 20 pounds and my family becomes more and more concerned for me so I give in and make a call to the surgeon. They decide I need a new MRI and let's look at what is going on. So I make the trek to Alabama and have the MRI and see the surgeon. I honestly I wasn't fully prepared for the words he was about to say. MRI reveals I am not only looking at a failed fusion but there is a compressed ligament, a lot of swelling, and my spinal cord is being pushed from the back. The words no spine surgery patient ever wants to hear... A revision surgery is needed to remove the ligament and damage, and he thinks he needs to add more bone to the exisisting fusion but this requires a posterior approach. Posterior is the one surgery that makes me nervous. I've had posterior lumbar fusion and the recovery was long, painful, and tough. At this point I am beyond ready to have my life back to normal.
So tonight I'm laying here waiting for the morning to come and head back to Alabama to have yet again another spine surgery, hoping that #9 is the magic number. I can't help but think of the pain of the last surgery and how difficult the recovery was, and how it failed and I'm left praying things go well, better than the last time even. As a parent you can't help but think about your kids and your family and worry that something might go wrong and how you just aren't ready for that. Is anyone ever ready for that though? I am so blessed with amazing kids and a wonderful husband and I know this is all tough on them too. Most of all though, I'm just ready to get through this and get off this hamster wheel.