It has been a while since my last post. I have no reasons to give other than I was in somewhat of a funk. There was nothing new to say so I had nothing to say at all. However, all that changed after confirming I would require further surgery on my lumbar spine on August 07. In fact I have been toying with this entry since then. What really threw me off and is still making me feel ill prepared was the phone call I got two Mondays ago. I was expecting to have surgery around November or December, but they decided I needed it now and on August 27th they informed me I was scheduled for surgery on September 06th. On top of the surgery being scheduled early there is also the fact that I moved five hours away at the beginning of this month, so essentially I paid close to $600 to stay at a place for three days this month. Urgh!
I have had a few weeks to process the whole needing more surgery thing, so I am much more level-headed now than I have been the last little bit. I am still terrified, after all I have to go in for another spinal fusion, with all that entails.
For those of you who are new readers I will explain why this is such a big thing to me. – not that back surgery isn’t a big thing for everyone. I herniated two discs putting down a box of bleach in February 2010. At the time I was a physically fit twenty-four year old so my prognosis was positive. Go to physio and tone my core and the pain should subside. I threw myself into working out, getting my core strength up to 300% of my age range norm. After eight months of recovery with very little improvement I agreed to go for a surgical consultation where it was agreed my best course of action would be a two level spinal fusion with hardware.
I went for the operation March 03, 2011 and to make it minimally invasive my surgeon decided to use a coral compound instead of harvesting my own bone. While the coral compound has a fairly high success rate, I was one of the ten percent whose body rejected the coral and therefore my spine never fused. In order for this surgery to be called a success the vertebrae operated on needed to become a solid column of bone rather than separate discs.
Although I threw myself into rehab and physio once again and managed good results even with the non-union pain, which my GP described as one of the worst types of pain you can feel, my spine was never strong enough to really challenge myself. Seven months post-fusion I had reached a holding pattern once again. My pain level has been fairly constant since my nerves regenerated in my left leg and allowed me to feel the burning hot iron poker pain of my damaged nerves. Although it sucks that I have nerve pain all the way down my leg and out my toe, my L5 and Sciatic on the left side were dead before surgery and I had a hard time with things like weight-bearing and reflexes. So all in all feeling, even if it was pain, was a good sign and I thought that if I kept at it eventually all my pain would subside and I would be able to live a normal life again. All the signs were positive, and so I too tried to remain positive. I have tried so hard to maintain that attitude since.
And failed miserably.
I plunged into a depression whose depths I have not yet discovered and whose vulnerability I have yet to find. Despair, intense and unrelenting, rivalled my usual tenacity and ability to overcome. I was a shell of my former self, even the post-injury, pre-surgery self I had strived to nurture. With the last shreds of my self-preservation I reached out for help. I am still reaching out. I am still trying to find my way out of the darkness. But there is still the vilest villain, which will be my most daunting challenge yet, awaiting me around the next corner and I have very little faith my spirit will survive intact if I do not find pain relief with this surgery.
*I am in the process of writing another post about how I feel post-op but thought this one has gotten long enough. Stay tuned for The Never-Ending Back Story – Chapter 2 part B.
As always, thanks for reading!
xo – S.