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.
7 thoughts on “Here I go…..No turning back”
Beautiful momma, sweet and strong woman I swear I extremely relate to your pre-surgery whirlwind of emotions since I also never wanted the surgery,(80 degrees) in fact I delayed it for 11 years because dancing was (is) my life, but when I was told that my lungs were in danger, even though I was still in denial I knew it had to happen. It’s been one month post-op and I’m not gonna lie it’s hard, and since I struggle with anxiety (I mean like I would have these sort of anxiety attacks at college, imagine) emotionally, you will find yourself going through things you may never went throug before but the scoliosis family is here and I truly believe that speaking life into this moments, can totally change the situation upside down. Since I’m a believer, I also think that worship can definitely change the atmosphere.
I would advise you to call people you can make you laugh and good music, it will be ultimately neccesary after the surgery.
It’s a whole new different way of living, who knows what this can wake up in you after this?
Big hug! xx
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I will certainly be thinking of you on Tuesday and many days after. It is a hard hard surgery, one that changes you massively but all in all for the better (even though post op you certainly will NOT be feeling that way :P). I have loved reading your honest words and hope you will update during the recovery if you are feeling well enough. I always wish I had written something to myself the first day I walked again- It is such a human moment. Much love. Sending you massive amounts of strength and peace. xxx.
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I breathe deep just imagining the several surgeries you will go through starting Tuesday. I have a scoliosis too, but so minor comparing to yours… Nevertheless the discomfort it gives me like the numbness, sour pains, weak feeling in the limb, and permanent sciatica helped me to figure out how wise you are to lead yourself toward this procedure despite how scary it seems to be. You are braver than you describe yourself I am sure. Like the swan figure that seems so zen as it glides upstream but underneath the glazed mirror of the water its legs are moving frantically against the current. You are so brave April.
Please be hopeful for the future. My little sister had to have a two hips replacement just after forty years old. The bones there were just rotten because she suffered from anorexia as a toddler. She lost her job and needed to recover for two years, staying at home. Her first big step outdoor so to speak after the recovery years was to take a road trip to Eastern Europe with a friend for a month and a half. Encouraged with the new experience and the sight of generous people in a depleted economy , she started to study for a new career . She used to be a medical secretary for a research professor at the university of medicine in Brest. Basically she had to coordinate the arrival and the dispatch of corpses for the medical students. Yuck!!!!
She turned the compass and started to study landscaping. She started to laugh again and really enjoy life. She now has a full time job in a landscaping company, she is the only woman there, and her job is very physical . But she lives it and is good at it. As long as her prosthesis last, she is the real deal in landscaping.
My little sis example gives me factual proof that for a passionate woman, the weaknesses of her body are something to take into account professionally , but once under control the dreams can leap forward and become true.
I have hope for you to dance again April. Big hopes! Think of the white Japanese cranes. Many parts of the cranes body are stif and straight , but the bird manage to coordinate all these parts into flowing and gracious motions.
For your mind, o you are so scared and rightly so, I have no power to make you feel better, but I will do the most for you anyway. I am committing your mind and your soul unto the care of the One who can take care of you. For His love and because of all the people who loves you, be well April.
With love, Marie-Anne
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April, you can do this, you will be dancing but it may be different. Ine thing is for sure, your family will have a happy, healthy Mum in the future. Sending prayers and love. Clare
Goodluck April !!! Following your blog and Instagram posts ! Your totally strong and hope you have a easy recovery ! I haven’t had my surgery yet but will be having it next year so it’s great to be able to follow someone who’s going through it now . Thinking of you and sending lots of love
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I have been thinking of you everyday April and today is July fixed I don’t know about putting my phone number on here to be on the text list because I don’t want everybody having my cell number but I am thinking of you everyday
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Thinking of you everyday April. I don’t know if some of my replies are going through because I got a new phone and don’t know what im doing. Id like to be on the text list.
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