Tuesday, February 12, 2013

January 2013: Part 3 of 3

Got knocked down... but I got up again!!

Tuesday, January 22:

I finally got my MRI after returning from Phoenix yesterday morning. The diagnosis: Ruptured disk at C-6, C-7. The solution: Spinal Fusion surgery ASAP.

I pretty much knew after experiencing ruptured disks in the past that this was the case. Still, it didn't make the diagnosis/solution easier to take. Fortunately I have an amazing neurosurgeon and he knew exactly what to say to me.

His very first words to me were "Running DID NOT cause this!" He then told me that the irritation I had been feeling between my shoulder blades starting last summer was the first sign of the disk bulging. Because the irritation felt more like a pulled muscle I never felt the need to seek treatment, other than stretching and massage. When the pain began to get worse and I felt the first signs of numbness in my index finger I thought I may indeed have an issue with my spine. However, the pain came and went...disappearing completely at times...so I went back to thinking that I had a muscle issue that was somehow impinging on an arm nerve. 

The friends and family close to me know that I was making plans to see my physician about this as early as November but with my busy schedule not matching up well with my doctor's busy schedule I kept putting this off. There were no imminent signs of something so serious happening so I planned to finish my obligations with Allard through the January travel and then deal with it.

Well, obviously life had other plans. Dr. Roy suggested that perhaps the fall I took in NYC in October contributed to the disk rupturing but also said that the imperfections in my spine relate directly to my spinal birth defects and he fully expected I would have trouble with C-6, C-7 at some point. He was upset with me for not seeing him sooner but then understood when I described what I was feeling and when. By the time it ruptured I was halfway around the world practically so by then it was too late to schedule an appointment 4-6 weeks out!

Thursday, January 24th:

Because I was at home Tuesday and Wednesday without having to travel I finally opted for prescription pain pills. Can I just say, WOOOOO-HOOOOO!!! Finally, true relief from this pain. 

After the first good night of sleep in almost 2 weeks I was actually able to get a lot of work done (via computer) while reclining in my own bed these last 2 days. I finally told the entire PR team and my boss at Allard about my situation and everyone took the news extremely well.

Today is surgery day. On one hand I am totally terrified knowing full well the multitude of things that can go wrong with spinal surgery. On the other hand, I am totally ready to have this problem behind me and I have full confidence in my neurosurgeon and his team. 

My mom met me and Jim at Morehead Hospital a few hours ago and I was swept right in to be prepped for the operation:

Jim resumed his role of photographer-pro-tem while I am unable to carry out the duties of my position.  Here I am, ready to roll into the OR.

Like a true Deloria woman I am on the phone mere minutes after coming out of surgery. All went well and I am feeling no pain!


Hour by hour I am feeling stronger than ever, I am surprised how well I feel by the afternoon. Here I am with a bag my sister gave me for Christmas. I didn't exactly think my first time using it would be for a hospital stay but I'm happy to have a part of her with me.

True to my duties towards this blog, here's the menu I was presented. Sadly, I accidentally erased the photo I took of the "meal" I received: green beans that tasted much like the carrots also on the plate, bland kidney beans for protein and mashed potatoes that actually hit the spot.

My husband, the trooper. He drove me here early this morning and is the last-man-standing (okay, sitting) at the end of the night when all other visitors have gone. He got a hotel room only a few blocks away so he could be close by yet still have a chance at getting a good night's sleep.
Friday, January 25th:

I just noticed my new gold bracelet. Ladies and Gentleman, this is what having foot drop earns you!
My sister, Becky, commented that in my pastel outfit I was much more of a Spring Risk than a Fall Risk.
:-)
Growing up my mom always told my sisters and I that we need to "Eat the Rainbow" in order to make sure we get all the necessary nutrients. I was thinking that meant eating food of every color possible, but apparently we just need all the Yellow hues!

Breakfast the morning after my surgery: oatmeal. pancakes, biscuit and scrambled eggs. I didn't place the order or I may have opted for one of the other colors of the rainbow. The eggs were actually great.

Outside cover of my lunch menu.

I like the "vegetarian" menu...they simply crossed off all the options that had meat in them. :-) Well, it was kinda funny but it was certainly practical, although they probably didn't need to go through the trouble.

Can you believe it? I am released on Friday after feeling so strong and needing very minimal pain medication. So happy to be back home and feeling like a million bucks! (By the way, after seeing this photo I did ask my husband to replace the lightbulb above my head)
Saturday-Sunday, January 26th-27th:

I felt great considering everything I went through this week and spent much time on the phone and visiting with some good friends. I do feel like I overdid it a bit, though... I suddenly felt exhausted but other than that I knew I was on the mend.

A brief scare overnight on Sunday when I woke with pain around midnight. The pain was in my left leg where I have almost no sensation due to my foot drop/paralysis of the peroneal nerve. Concerned that the bluish lump on the leg could be a blood clot my husband raced me over to the ER where we spent about 4 hours.
Fun in ER.


My husband contemplating all the ways in which this ordeal could be better managed. Or maybe he's just wishing that my problems would not cut so deeply into his sleep time!
I was released from the OR after a test determined that a clot was possible followed by a subsequent painful shot in the abdomen with a potent but short-lived blood thinner. I needed to return to the outpatient clinic in 4 hours to have an ultrasound done...but at least we can sneak in a few hours of sleep before then.

Monday, January 28th-Tuesday, January 29th:

The ultrasound at 8:00am revealed a "dilitation" (tech's word, not mine) at the location of last night's bluish lump. No clot was present but it was suggested by the dialation still present in the vein that the blood thinner helped a possible clot to work it's way out without incident. I was told that it was a great decision to visit the ER and yet I was left thinking about whether I could have saved time and much money by waiting to see if it worked its way out on its own. Oh well, no way to know. For now, back home to work... NOTE: It was brought to my attention after this was posted that I spoke irresponsibly here!! It is ALWAYS the right choice to immediately check out a possible clot!!! The risks of danger far outweigh the inconvenience!! I let my frustration with my recent ordeal cloud my judgement with my last comment in this paragraph and I owe thanks to my friend Lisa for pointing this out! 

Aside from being exhausted I feel amazingly good and am completely off of all medication. I decided to get right back to work, albeit with frequent breaks and limitations on physical movement. Denny Kelly came to my house for our meeting on Monday as I am still not supposed to drive. We have so many details to work out for our 2013 campaign and we are all eager to keep moving forward with our progress. Tuesday was more of the same and I feel so much better now that I'm getting back on track with the job in addition to recovering so well from the surgery.

Wednesday, January 30th:

Great news!!

My checkup with Dr. Roy went perfectly! I got permission to drive and to take off my collar, although I am still supposed to take things slowly.

He also said that I can travel at the end of next week so I don't have to miss any of the Get Back UP campaign stops. I won't be able to run the Half Marathon there but incredibly I will be allowed to enter the mini-marathon (3-mile) option at the Rock N Roll St. Petersburg event. I have to wait and see how things go but if I continue to feel strong with no pain I can walk-jog the event just 2 weeks from my surgery date....I'm ecstatic!!

Here's the X-ray of my newest hardware:

A butterfly plate (left)  as it would look from standing right in front of me. This plate is held in place by four screws shown from the side view on the right. In between the vertebrae I have a "spacer" made up of man-made material and cadaver bone tissue. I hope he used Cheetah bone!!

Carol Paez' dog, Toto, sent me this adorable little floral buddy as I am recuperating. Who could stay sick with such an encouraging medical team?

Speaking of great medical teams... here I am with Janelle at Morehead Neurospine 6 days after my fusion surgery.  She and the rest of Dr. Roy's staff were absolutely wonderful and I can't begin to thank them enough. 

My miracle-working neurosurgeon, Dr. Mark Roy. If anyone deserves a Get Back Up medal it is him and his team ! Thank you for getting me and so many others back up and running so quickly!!

1 comment:

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