Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.
Barry has been with me through thick and thin and we have made each other laugh at the worst of times and there have been many moments that are so beautiful they have made me cry. I think that's all we can ask for in life is a sprinkling of those moments mixed amongst the ordinary ones.
Many of you have bits and pieces of the history of where I am today with my back. The first real signs of back pain happened after I fell from a chair with wheels that got caught in a rug at the Crisis Centre where I worked at the time. It hurt and as I do with most pain I downplayed it and went on with my job. It wasn't until I was pregnant that I started to feel a sore back all the time. Once again I downplayed that because who doesn't have a sore back while they are pregnant? Mine became so bad toward the end of pregnancy that I started to have pain down my legs and my legs started to give out.
Fast forward to being pregnant with Meghan, I had pain back but it became increasingly worse and it was in a very different position. This time although I had low back pain it was the mid back that was causing me so much pain. Everyone thought it was my gallbladder because of the intensity of the pain and it made sense because many of my family had had gallbladder surgery removed. The pain was in the right place, and after a scan we saw there were stones in the gallbladder. The only problem was after removing the gallbladder I still had the pain.
My first surgery was an unusual one. It was to release the spinal cord from a torn dura. My dura, a protective coating around the spinal cord, had ripped and the cord itself had pushed its way out through the opening. It was called a herniated spinal cord, not to be confused with the much more common herniated disc. It was a very rare surgery and one that would save me from paralysis. It was very risky and I was told the surgery itself could cause paralysis. When all was said and done, I had to learn to walk again. I'm an incomplete paraplegic. I had learned to adjust my life accordingly and was doing fine until last spring.
Last spring, I had been having low back pain that was getting increasingly worse over time. I ended up with a kidney infection which in a convoluted way led me to an MRI, which told me I had severe spinal stenosis.
By the time I was seen by Dr. Fehlings in August, I was in bad shape. I had so much leg pain from entrapped nerves I couldn't walk more than fifty yards. I was in pain all the time. I wasn't sleeping and was not living my life. He saw all of that and booked surgery for September 9th, 2014, planning to do the least invasive procedure under the circumstances. It still was a risky surgery dealing with nerves and cutting bone in the spinal area. It is called a laminectomy and I also had a foraminectomy with decompression. To avoid risk of infection I was released later that night. We had to stay in Toronto for the week and then were cleared to go home. Life at home was good. There was pain of course, and recovery was hard but okay. That was until I started to have pain in the leg again.
In seeing me for follow up Dr. Fehlings had explained that the area was much more fragile than expected and even though they had hoped the smaller surgery would be enough it was clear that the area was unstable and required hard wear to keep it in place. That's when the past surgery, the Fusion was scheduled.
A cage with the bone for bone grafting is in place between two vertebrae. It adheres to them and over time grows bone, thus creating a fusion of two or more vertebra.
In my case that cage did not adhere to the vertebra and has now moved forty to fifty percent out of place and is toward the spinal cord. It has to come out and be replaced without a cage this time. This time only the bone with be used. This is a procedure generally used in the elderly.
It will require all the same steps to prepare, MRI, CT scan, pre-admit. Then booking an OR when all of that is done. They say the surgery will be booked soon but I know how slow the system is so I won't hold my breath.
So in keeping with the anniversary. I want to say thank you to my husband for being there for me though all of this. I also want to thank my family and friends who have been there for him to help give him a much needed break or listening ear. I couldn't do this without him, and am relieved to know he is by my side as we prepare for the next challenge.