The surgery will take place on August 26th.
I have such mixed feelings about the date. I wanted the surgery to be done soon, knowing the risk I have, and as I have come to learn, the waiting can be very hard on everyone. Knowing it is so soon, makes me feel as though I won't have caught my breath from this surgery, when I will be right back there again. There are positives though, a short wait, fall to recover without snow, and I get most of August to sit on my deck.
It has been an overwhelming week for our family. Our resources have been exhausted in many ways from having spent five weeks in the hospital. Going back to neighbours and friends asking for a helping hand with our home, the dog and so on is difficult. People have been so kind. We are looking for solutions to all of the same things we did a couple of months ago. All of those assessments, and the equipment we rented, the plans we made, are all being redone. It's a lot to stomach.
All of that is happening and all the while there's a fear running deep within all of us. It is the "what if?" What if I come out of this surgery worse off than this one. What if the pain doesn't resolve? What if I can't walk? What if the autonomic disreflexia isn't controllable?
We just lived all of that so to say think positive or don't worry about it doesn't really take those images away.
We had put it all behind us, had worked very hard and I am walking. I am able to walk around our house without a walker, or cane. There are times, like the middle of the night when I need assistance, but for the most part I am independent. Outside I still need a cane to get to and from the car, and a walker for everything else. I have walked or exercised everyday since I left ICU. Most days I have not wanted to but once I got out there it felt good to be doing it.
I know for sure that despite having had a surgery only three months previous, I will be going into this surgery stronger than the last. The risks are higher with this surgery, for both infection and the resiliency of the spinal cord. We know that going in so everyone will be especially cautious throughout. I have absolute faith in my neurosurgeon. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be walking today. If I wasn't already confident in him, I recently say this written about him:
Dr. Michael Fehlings is Head of Krembil Neuroscience Centre’s Spine Program at UHN and a Neurosurgeon in KNC’s Division of Neurosurgery, and Vice Chair-Research, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, a Senior Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute and holds the Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration. As head of the Spinal Program, Dr. Fehlings leads Canada’s largest team of spine surgeons, responsible for more than 900 operations and over 4000 outpatient visits annually.
None of us know what we will face in our lifetime, or what our children and friends will have to face. Not knowing what is coming leads one to believe you cannot prepare for it. That's not true, I think I have been preparing for this my whole adult life. I am resilient for sure, but that is a decision I make every day. Resiliency is built over time, but it is a combination of many things. Here are my thoughts on what it contains:
Being forgiving, allows us to move on with strong hearts.
I love the saying, forgiveness means understanding that the past cannot be changed. Staying in the past, doesn't allow you to live fully in the future, forgive and move on.
Being open allows us new ideas and experiences. Flexibility is what makes life so challenging yet interesting, if you are open and flexible, things come to you that never would have otherwise.
Being confident allows you to move forward while your feet feel stuck in quick sand. Confidence is also a decision. It is hope and faith rolled into one. I am usually not one for a motto or catch phrase but I have to hand it to Nike, "Just do it" runs through my mind once in a while when I feel stuck.
Being compassionate allows you to give your strength to others, while building more for yourself. I have never given anything to another person, and not received as much or more back to me. It may not be right at that moment yet the moment of giving and helping can make you feel so good there is nothing needed in return.
And finally, being loving, allows me to be loved. Loving someone means that you care as much about their happiness as you do your own. That very fact makes compromising easier, and compromise is essential for a healthy relationship.
I cannot dwell on the "why" of this surgery, it just is. I am open and flexible to whatever needs to happen now to make this right. I am truly compassionate to those around me who have walked every step with me, including the doctors but especially my family. I am confident enough to just do it. I am fortunate to love and be loved and that is what will get me through this.