I have attempted to write this post for 4 days now. This will be my last post before the infamous surgery. I can’t say I am too thrilled about it. I thought my anxiety was bad last week. However, this week, it has gone to a whole new level. After having a very public panic attack in the frozen section at Target, I finally decided to call my Doctor for a prescription of Xanax. I wasn’t sure I would end up taking one and having them on hand just in case, seemed like a good idea. These “freak outs” are happening more and more often and also becoming harder to control. I am trying to keep it together and focus on the kids. Too bad my doctor only prescribed 1/4 doses and only 6 pills. Which is a joke. I took one and it did absolutely nothing except give me a headache. Not sure if the two are related, but it didn’t work. So I plan to stay stressed and emotionally unstable until the night before when I can use 3 or 4 of them for it to actually work.
This week I was supposed to go to my last week of teaching ballet at work. I actually really wanted to go and dance for the last time before my life and body changes forever. Shit happened making that impossible and after crying it out and feeling really bad about not being there for all my students, I just have to accept the fact that going to class wasn’t in the cards for me this week.
10 years ago, I had a lumpectomy done for a benign tumor in my breast. That said breast has been throbbing and hurting for weeks. Tuesday, I had an ultrasound which luckily showed no new growths and is likely my rib cage and chest wall electrifying pain through the front because of my spine. Wednesday, we spent the majority of the day at the hospital running ct scans, ultrasounds and iv’s on our 6 year old for possible appendicitis. The night before, she had a 105 fever and it had been that way since Saturday. We found out she has a really bad kidney infection. Thursday was spent taking care of Emma making sure she is drinking crap loads of water and juice and peeing every hour so we can flush this bacteria out before she ends up needing intravenous meds at the hospital and before I go in for surgery. After the kids went to bed, Neil and I ripped apart the sectional couch and cleaned and vacuumed the house for carpet cleaners that were on their way as I typed this at 8:00 am. I woke up with a horrible migraine and back pain from said cleaning and I can’t take anything since I am 4 days away from surgery. I loaded the kids in the car and drove to Krispy Kreme while we waited for the carpet cleaner to leave. We come home and all of our carbon monoxide alarms were beeping. I frantically opened all windows and doors and fans by the alarms while the kids sat in the car. It was fun times.
My sister, who I haven’t seen in 6 1/2 years flew in from Boston for my surgery and to meet 3 of the 4 kids (She moved to Boston when Emma was 6 months old). It was nice seeing her and watching my kids meet the famous Auntie Laura, who my oldest is named after, in person.
This weekend is going to be spent doing more cleaning, making Emma drink more fluids and packing for the hospital. 3 more days and I will be in the thick of it.
People have asked if I am excited about surgery. Umm…hell to the no. I, in no way, shape or form, am excited for this surgery. I am not excited about 2 years of recovery and I am not excited by the fact that my spine will never bend ever again and this could end my dancing ability. What I try to hold onto is the pain will hopefully be more manageable and that after my recovery, I will feel better and more active. I hopefully will also have a waist again which is great from my fashion loving point of view because currently my ribs cage is sitting on my hip bone. Somedays, I really wonder if I should just cancel it. I am just so scared of the unknown. I hate relying on others for help. I hate not being in control. I then snap back into reality. The reality is that I need this surgery and prolonging it would be detrimental to my health. I am learning that asking for help doesn’t mean I am weak. It means I have a yearning to grow stronger. Too bad there is no such thing as X-Men because I will be the real wolverine after this.
My husband, Neil, thought it a good idea to add some links to a few videos that show a small part of what my surgeries will entail. I have not watched these, nor will I. However, for those curious to see an example of what will be done on Tuesday, please watch.
I am having a two stage procedure. The first stage is called an Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion or XLIF for short. This video shows the procedure being done on someone at one level, I am having it done at three. The video is not in its entirety and condensed but it gives a good representation of what this stage entails. The estimated procedure time for the XLIF is about one hour per level, so this should take the Doctor about three hours to complete. Click here for video
The second stage is a posterior spinal fusion. Once the first stage is completed they will sew me up and then position me face down on a special type of operating table for spine surgeries. This is where they will be putting in the rods and screws and trying to straighten my spine and twist it back to normal, as well as decompress areas where my spinal cord is being compressed or smashed, which is causing me all the pain, numbness, etc… The estimated timeframe for this part is 8-9 hours. There are two videos here. The first video is very short and the second is about 10 minutes. 1st video 2nd video
As I embark on this next stage of my journey, I would like to say thank you to all of you who have been following along, offering help, and leaving me positive messages. It helps more than you know. I plan to try and update my blog during my stay at the hospital. If you would like to be on the “text list” for Neil, please let me know. If I am unable to update the first few days, I will have Neil log in and post it.
Thanks again for your continued support.
Photos courtesy of Neil Wagner and Tara Marie Photography.