Very quick update:
I am now scheduled for surgery this Friday morning at 8:30. I should be home a bit after noon if all goes well. This is actually a huge relief because the thought of trying to make it to Monday seemed almost impossible. I can make it one more day. Please keep those prayers coming!!
For a change, this post won't have any pictures. (Sorry Bekah!) Instead, I just wanted to get you up to speed on what's been happening in my little corner of the world and request prayers.
Since probably everyone who reads this has already heard, here's the scoop:
~ Sometime last fall, my left leg began tingling and buzzing and generally feeling "weird" (that's my super-technical word). I could tell it was nerve pain, I assumed it was the sciatic nerve and everything I read said that only time would make it better. So rather than freak out and run to the doctor, I waited...
~ Fast forward to late February. My leg was still tingly and I was having trouble getting comfy in bed at night, so I decided to take the conservative approach and see the chiropractor (whom I had seen once before when I had some neck issues). He ordered x-rays of my back and then told me that he was pretty sure I had a leg-length discrepancy based on the fact that my x-rays showed how horribly uneven my hips were. This led to a CT scan to measure both my legs.
~ In the meantime, I began doing the chiropractor's therapy every other day, consisting of a very gentle manipulation, deep tissue massage and electrical muscle stimulation. My CT scan showed that my right leg is indeed 11 mm shorter than my left leg, so I was sent to a podiatrist to get a shoe lift made.
~ About two weeks into the chiropractor's care, I suddenly went from a very tingly, buzzing feeling in my leg to all out horrible burning pain in the back of my thigh and butt any time I would stand or walk for a few minutes. I told the chiropractor and asked if it could possibly be a disc problem in my back, but he told me it was probably a flare up of the muscles which was common with therapy. I wasn't convinced, and more importantly, I was unable to do my everyday activities without significant pain.
~ Saw the podiatrist, had more x-rays, got orthotics (which I don't think I really needed) and a shoe lift. After 3 visits and 3 weeks, with no change in my symptoms, I left the podiatrist in the dust and decided to go to my family doctor and see what he could do.
~ I should point out that it was now April and I had resorted to grocery shopping with the electric cart because I absolutely could not walk enough to get through the store. The one time I tried, I ended up hobbling over to the shoe department in Meijer and sitting on the bench there until the pain let up. An employee twice my age asked me if I was ok and I had to ask her to get a scooter for me because I couldn't make it to the front of the store....at 35. Not cool.
~ Saw my family doctor who told me I was having muscle spasms in my back that were pinching the nerve and that time and Ibuprofen would help. I asked about possible disc problems. He ordered more x-rays, which didn't show him anything. Of course.
~ About two weeks later, I called his office and literally begged for an appointment because I was unable to stand for more than about 3 minutes without terrible burning pain. Got in that morning, told the doctor how much pain I was in and that I couldn't even take care of my family by cooking or cleaning. He stuck with the muscle spasm theory and gave me muscle relaxers and a mild opiod medicine to try. Neither even touched the pain.
~ Another couple of weeks later, I called and begged for a referral to a neurologist or whoever the family doctor thought could deal with this pain because I was miserable. He referred me to a neurologist and I went.
~ The neurologist told me he didn't deal with this type of thing, but I think he saw and heard my desperation and did a few neurological tests on me and noticed that my reflexes In my left leg were not good. He diagnosed me with a "s-1 radiculopathy" (which for normal people means pain referred from the s-1 disc down the left leg).With this official diagnosis, he ordered an MRI, which insurance finally approved (we had requested one almost 2 months earlier, and got denied).
~ Had the MRI which was horribly uncomfortable because I had to lay flat on my back with my legs stretched out straight, which makes my pain not good. It was a long 25 minutes or so.
~ Got the MRI results the next day which showed a "very large disc protrusion" along with some degenerative disc disease. Fantastic. Neurologist referred me back to family doctor to find another specialist to deal with this.
~ I eventually was referred to a neurosurgeon, but he was booked until mid-June. I got on the cancellation list. In the meantime, I saw yet another doctor who did an epidural steroid injection directly into my back. For many people, it provides great relief. For me, it made the pain exponentially worse and never got any better. Now, even sitting was painful. And so I began physical therapy.
~ PT felt great while I was in traction and getting electrical muscle stimulation. But as soon as I walked back to the car, the pain was back.
~ Fast forward two weeks to this past Saturday...I got a last-minute appointment that only God could have arranged with the neurosurgeon. He got right to the point and told me that I had a "Huge herniated disc" and that it was compressing the nerve root and causing all the pain. He recommended surgery....mircodiscectomy to be exact. He told me what I already knew....I tried all the conservative things and none of them had worked. I was absolutely miserable and couldn't hide it any more. I writhed around in the passengers seat all the way to the doctor and had Andrew wheel me into the office in a wheelchair. This is what I've been reduced to. And so I will be having surgery (my first ever, including my first general anesthesia) on Monday, June 2. I always thought I'd be so nervous about my first surgery, but to be honest, if they could do it tomorrow, I'd be thrilled because I am currently typing this while laying on the couch because I can't even sit up long enough to type a short email. I can't sleep, I can't get comfortable, I can't drive safely and I can't take care of my family. It's all I can do to take care of myself.
And so, if you've made it this far, I would greatly appreciate your prayers this coming Monday. The surgery will be around 7:30 in the morning and I should be back home later that same day. Please pray that this completely fixes the problems in my back and that the pain will be gone. Pray for the surgeons and anesthesiologists and anyone else involved. And please pray that everything goes smoothly and safely.
Monday, May 05, 2014
Well, I'd like to have begun this post above this picture, but apparently my computer is being contrary today! Anyhow, while I'm a bit late in continuing my wedding posts, I wanted to show some more of the 300+ pictures that I took last weekend.
As mentioned before, Katy and Austin were VERY brave and wanted to include all of their nieces and nephews in the wedding. That meant that Emily was the oldest, at 9, and the rest were under 5. I repeat, they were very brave!!
These 4 hooligans dressed up quite nicely! Too bad it was nearly impossible to get all 4 to stand still, smile and look the right direction at one time!
Ethan with Aunt Katy....one of my favorite pictures of the day.
All the lovely ladies of the wedding party.
Ethan looks like he's up to something here. He's always thinking...or plotting. Yesterday he told me I could call him "Ethan the Awesome" and I quote, "just call me when you need some awesome!"
I love Bristol's face down at the bottom. She had some great poses.
Speaking of poses....Addie was always ready for her close-up, while the boys were just doing their best to stay still.
And then, as if 6 kids wasn't enough, we had to get a picture with the youngest nephew, Grayson. He was much more interested in Katy's flowers than the picture, but this proves that he was there!
After quite a few pictures had been taken, Ethan came over to us and said, and again I quote, "Boy, they sure are working us hard!" I think this picture sort of sums up his feelings by that point in the day!
Grandma wanted a nice picture of all 5 of her grandkids. Well....this was all 5 of them together. I'm not sure it was the look she was going for. Bristol looks stunned, Addie is posing, Grayson is NOT pleased, Emily is just trying to stay focused on the camera and Ethan is looking at Grayson like, "Come on bud, we men have to do better than that!" :)
And here's Aunt Katy with her nieces and nephews. We had taken A LOT of pictures by this time. It's a wonder more people weren't in tears!
Still more pictures will be coming. I'm just taking my time! As always, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.