Health update

Friday, June 17, 2011

For those of you who may be wondering, I did have surgery on May 20. My neurosurgeon discovered on my second MRI that the disc between my 3rd & 4th cervical vertebrae was completely gone and the bone spurs that had formed from the disc were really large and pinching the nerve - so surgery was the only option to stabilize my spine and relieve the pain. He took a piece of bone from my left hip and placed it between the 3rd and 4th vertebrae, and over time, that will fuse.

I'm really lucky in that I have a wonderful neurosurgeon that I trust implicitly. Back in 1989, when I worked at the hospital (where I had both surgeries), I always noted that his patients had smaller incisions, needed less pain meds, and had quicker recovery times - so there was no doubt in my mind who would do my surgery - both in 1989 and 2011.

My surgery took about an hour, and when I woke up in recovery around 9:00 am, I was completely awake - no grogginess, no nausea. I had some pain, but it was tolerable. When I left recovery (on a stretcher), I was taken to a room on the neurosurgical floor - and I was able to get off the stretcher & walk (well, okay, limp, LOL) to my bed. My nurse was awesome - she kept me supplied with Sierra Mist & Lorna Doone cookies. :-)

I was able to tolerate my pain with just one Percocet, even though I was allowed to have a pain shot. After dinner, around 6pm, I was able to go home!! How awesome is that??!! Some of the nurses were even surprised that I wasn't staying overnight. Seriously, I owe it all to my surgeon.

So now, I'm about 4 weeks post-op and I'm doing pretty well. I still have to wear the soft cervical collar when I'm in the car or doing something that requires a lot of bending, but other than that, I really don't have any restrictions. The first couple of weeks, I had to take a nap everyday, which was a huge change for me - I never nap unless I'm really sick, LOL. But so far this week, I haven't had a nap. I'm able to do things that I haven't done for 6 months - which is really nice. I still have some weakness in my right arm, but building up the strength will take time. I also get muscle spasms occasionally, so I have to be aware of how much I do and try not to overdo it.

One of the best parts is that my incision is pretty much unnoticeable. The surgeon cut into one of the creases on my neck, and now that the swelling & bruising are gone, I don't even have to use concealer on it!! Yay!!

Unfortunately, I'm still having problems with my lower back, and pain/numbness/tingling in my left leg and foot. I start back to therapy next week, so I hope that will help. As well as this surgery went, I do not want to have more surgery any time soon!

So that's pretty much it. Thank y'all so much for all of the prayers, get well wishes, cards, & emails. They were much appreciated!!