Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Another Surgery and More Wound Vacs

I needed to have another surgery to loosen the hardware in my back. That was what the doctor decided after we had tried a couple of oral nerve relaxers. The doctor had talked about doing some injections to isolate specific nerves with a relaxer, but after thinking about it and knowing the kind of pain I was in from my hip surgeries he felt it was better to go in and loosen the hardware instead.

Meanwhile, I had been seeing the man, Tim, who had made my back brace for my original hip surgery. He had been trying all different kinds of braces, cushions and other devices to reduce or remove the pain from my hip surgeries. Every time I had an appointment at the City of Hope, I met with either Tim or his assistant Art for another fitting or to trade out items that didn't seem to work. We tried so many over the course of a couple of months and NOTHING worked.

The surgery took place on June 9, 2010 and was a success. When the doctor looked at the hardware, he saw that my nerve was caught between the screw and the plate causing the nerve to deaden all the way to the toe. Once this had been adjusted and I was in recovery, I woke to having feeling back in my toe. This was a wonderful feeling and was good news and progress despite my feelings having given up my job in May.

This time, I was only in the hospital for 5-6 days. My nurses were some of the same ones I had been having each time I was an inpatient at City of Hope. I was released on June 14th to go home with my parents again. This time around I didn't pop any stitches or have any blood coming from the incisions. However, when I had my follow-up appointment with the doctor several days after being out of the hospital, I began getting an infection on the surface of both incisions and had to go back on a wound vac AGAIN!!! Wound vacs were becoming my best friend, so-much-so that when we would go out we called my portable pack "my buddy."

On July 14, just 30 days after being released from the hospital, I was taken off of all pain medications from my back surgery. The following day, July 15, the wound vac was removed. This would be the final time we had an appointment with our friend Diane. Again, bittersweet! I was incredibly grateful to have "my buddy" gone since I had been with him for most of the year. But, we had to be intentional to see Diane at this point. We would no longer see her twice a week for an hour-two hours each time. We were sad to have our time with her cut off. Diane had been such a part of our lives, and such a wonderful person to me and my parents. This would be a difficult departure from our routine, but my incisions looked beautiful!

The unfortunate thing about these changes was that the pain in my right buttock and hip still had NOT been solved and I had been taken off of the pain meds.

The following Monday, July 19, I had X-Rays taken. The results were read by a radiologist that was not at all familiar with my case. We received a call from the pain management doctor I had been seeing advising me to go on bed rest until I could see my surgeon. We made an appointment to see him, but that was not until August 3, 2010. 15 days! I had to be on bed rest for 15 days! Why? The radiologist read my X-Rays as my prosthetic being loose.

LOOSE! What did that mean? Was I going to lose my leg now? The surgeon had told us that if anything happened to the prosthetic, that it could not be repaired and I would lose my leg at that point.

I was not only in a state of shock by this, but I was scared! I think it is important to make sure you understand I hadn't lost my faith or trust in the Lord from this. I was looking at this with eyes wide open knowing the Lord can and could heal me. But, being human, this was a scary situation.

So for 15 days, I was in bed, in my wheelchair or on the sofa watching television with my dad. I had done everything that the surgeon had told me to do. I was careful with everything. I didn't fall, I didn't turn or move my leg past the 50/30 degree motion he said I was limited to. I followed all the instructions for nearly two years now. Why is this happening? I was left to wonder about this until I heard from the doctor.

Two days before I was to see my surgeon was my birthday. I had recently found out that an ice cream parlour restaurant I had birthday parties at in the '70's had reopened a couple of shoppes in our area. It was a little bit of a drive for us, but I wanted to have something to look forward to. So my parents, grandparents, cousins and a good friend, Jane, all went to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants for my birthday dinner and dessert. (Note to all, only get dessert. You're too full to enjoy it if you eat dinner too.)

We had a great time. It was fun to remember things of when I was young and having parties with friends, hear about how horrific it was for my parents to manage all those little kids, talk about the humongous desserts they had on the menu and how the employees had to run around the shoppe with these desserts on stretchers to guests tables. Funny thing is, nothing has changed. They still do all of those things and have those same desserts on the menu. One is called The Zoo and feeds 1-10 people, another is called The Pig Trough and is for one person to finish on their own (both pictured below).

After a great day of reliving a childhood memory, we ventured to City of Hope to meet with the radiation oncologist. The new one, not the putz who was mean and rude. This new guy was nice and friendly. He had answers for everything we talked about and was a lot more forthright about what would happen, what could happen, what to really expect and how to combat the bad things. All-in-all my family liked this oncologist and I felt more comfortable about radiation as a whole and using it as part of my treatment. We would hear back from his office on when to come back for positioning and beginning treatment. Meanwhile, we wait.

The next day we went back to City of Hope again to meet with the surgeon this time and find out what was going on with my prosthetic. Dr. Femino walked right in the door shook hands in greeting and promptly said, "Your prosthetic is fine!"


Basically, the radiologist didn't know how to read the X-Ray of a device like mine. Dr. Femino had to teach him how to read this type of device as to not make this mistake with another patient (or me) in the future.

The past three days had been really positive and boosted my morale. This was good in my time of healing.

Next blog..."Phototherapy."

"I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old." Psalm 77:11

Our memories drive us onward, whether good or bad. My choice is to remember the good. The good of the Lord in my life. That is why I write this blog. I choose to remember the greatness of the Lord in things that have happened on this journey. The Lord is my constant through these troubled times and I KNOW I can count on Him to be with me every step of the way, sometimes carrying me when I cannot walk (or run) on my own.

What was a time in your life that brings back really good memories? Share with us.

The Zoo for up to 10 people

The Pig Trough for one person

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