I’m back. So a lot of my friends and family know that since about November of last year I have been having trouble with numbness in my hands as well as weakness. My hands are important for me because I use them for everything. I have never had true sensation back in my hands but I’ve had enough to know when I’m holding objects. Lately, I can’t tell if I had a good grip on anything.
I went to the Neurologist to do a nerve study just to check out my connections in January or February. They used a needle with electrodes on the end all over my shoulders as well as up and down my arms. I won’t lie, it hurt but it was cool to see which nerves I had connections too without knowing. At the end of this nerve study I was told that both nerves in my elbows are pinched which would require surgery. I was extremely bummed that I would have to have surgery but it wasn’t going to be bad. The neurologist sent me to a neurosurgeon to get started with the surgery process.
I finally get an appointment with the neurosurgeon and tell him what’s going on and what the neurologist told me. He tells me because of my spinal injury he wants to do a bunch of other tests to check out my existing spinal fusion. So he orders a MIGS and CT scan with dye.
We arrive at the imaging center at 7:30 to check in and halfway through the process the lady says “I’m sorry but the doctor that was supposed to do your test is stuck in surgery.” So we got back into the van and left. The next time they go to preform the test no one told me that I had to lay back for two days after and we were leaving for vacation the next day so there no way to do the test that day either. So we rescheduled until after vacation.
Fast forward to after the vacation…
We get to the appointment at 7:30 AM. We went back to get started and they put me in the bed. After what seemed like forever, they took me back to get my spinal tap out of the way so the dye would have time to get all the way up my spine. I had to lay on my stomach which was extremely uncomfortable. My ostomy is on my stomach making it even more uncomfortable. I cried at the end because I was in so much pain. I still had to wait twenty minutes before I can get my CT scan and my X-rays. In each test I had to be on my stomach. For someone who cannot lift her head much on her own, I felt like I was suffocating. When everything was over, it was after 2 o’clock. We still had to go to the neurosurgeon to get the results.
We waited for about an hour before they finally pulled us to the back. The doctor came back and explained it to me that there’s bone spurs that have grown from my original injury because I was so young that’s compressing my spine. The doctor believes that this is what’s causing my hand issues. He also said that my C2 and C6 is fused to my injury which is C3, C4, C5. So my C2 through C6 is already fused. Two levels under my injury (C7 and T1) have the bone spurs so to be able to fix it they will have to fuse C7 and T1 to my already fused C2-C6. I’m not even going to lie, I cried my eyes out.
I remember the pain that came with my original spinal fusion, I remember what it’s like to have to wear a neck brace for six weeks, and I remember being miserable the entire time. I feel like just about the time I get two steps ahead, life pushes me back four steps so that I’m two steps behind again. In order to do this surgery I will have to take at least one term off, pushing my graduation date back even more than it already has been pushed considering I’m only taking one class at a time now. I won’t be able to do a lot of things that are necessary for myself until I get healed. I’m worried about having to sleep and watching Netflix with a neck brace.
I’m just scared all the way around about having to have another spine surgery. I was told that I’m going to loose some head movement but if I don’t have this surgery then I could be jerked around enough to paralyze me more. This scares me more than the surgery. At least with the surgery my strength will come back in my hands and I will be able to do more of what I was use too. I was cutting peppers out of my garden yesterday morning and was having trouble getting my hand to hold the knife. I just want to be able to do it myself again.
So here I am about to be preparing for a spinal fusion surgery, putting my plans on hold again but to be honest I could use a break to focus on other things.