Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm having spine surgery

E-mail I sent to a bunch of people you don't know (and of course, I am editing out the identifying bits for all involved). And no, surgery wasn't the first option presented to me; I've done physical therapy, chiropractic, yoga, stretching, massage and acupuncture. This was a ten-year problem.

Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2007 6:43 PM

Hey, y'all,Everybody except my parents is in the bcc of this, so don't think I'm talking to the voices in my head. They're on vacation. The voices, that is. My parents are at home. And my mom got a job today! Yay! I think it's a temp gig, but it's a JOB. My doesn't-know-what-'retirement'-means dad already has a job. But he's retired. He has the job so he can buy more golf clubs and big screen TVs without getting in trouble for it.

A couple of you who are receiving this are folks with whom I've not chatted lately, but you're geeks and stuff and you might find this interesting.

So I have a herniated disk in my cervical spine (neck), between C6 and C7 for the curious in the crowd. I don't recommend it. It hurts and it makes your hands numb. Anyway, I'm having surgery, and I'm participating in a clinical trial for an experimental device if I pass all the entrance criteria that the FDA slaps on the study. It's a randomized study, so I have a 50% chance of getting the device and 50% chance of getting traditional spinal fusion surgery- I won't know until after the operation when I wake up with either metal or fake bone in my neck. Please keep your fingers crossed that I get the device, because spinal fusion is, well, fusion of the vertebrae. My dad says his was a piece of cake and he still has range of motion, but my dad is a cyborg.

Anyway, the reason I'm sending you folks this, aside from wanting to make sure that if I croak or end up something-plegic that you all know I love you (okay, some of you might fall into the "like lots and lots" category rather than the LOVE category, but you know what I mean), is that this device is really interesting. I'm putting a link to it and the study in here so you can check it out. In the picture it looks huge and dull, but in reality, it's very small, the artificial disk in the middle is about the size and shape of an aspirin, and it's chrome (well, it contains chromium), so it's really shiny.

[URL removed for editorial anonymity and all that shit]

Also, that's my doctor's website if you wanna know more about who's gonna be sawing up my spine. He's French. I try not to say anything French in front of him because I don't want him to make fun of my accent. Besides, I don't really have a lot of call to say things in French. I made sure I wore American perfume to the appointment today on the miniscule chance that he asked me what it was- I didn't want to have to pronounce "L'Eau D'Issey" to a French guy.

Here's the manufacturer's site (the artificial disc manufacturer, not my perfume's manufacturer):

I still have to look at that site, actually; I've just been too busy to check it out. Also, my Internet connection appears to have puked, so you may not get this for a while. You won't know that, of course, because by the time you read that, you'll have this e-mail. Whatever.

Gotta run; I'm up to my eyeballs in work and have a ton of stuff to do tonight.

Oh, and as far as testing and whatnot- I had an MRI Friday. X-rays today. I have some kind of calibration X-rays Thursday morning, and possibly a CT scan then, as well (definitely a scan, just don't know if it's happening Thursday). I'll have some blood drawn and possibly a bone density X-ray of some sort, and I'll have to answer a gazillion-point-five questions for the study entry criteria. The surgery will be ASAP, which will not be before the end-ish of the month as I'll be out of town and so will my French doctor. In my world, "end-ish" is now a word, so don't pick on me about that one. Ditto for "South-er". I made that one up when I was in Chicago last month.

On Friday when I had the MRI, the imaging center gave me a couple of Xanaxes so I wouldn't freak out in the freaky tube they shove you into. I discovered that Xanax has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. None. Nada. I could at least have gotten a buzz out of the whole experience, wouldn't you think? Nope.

Total side note of the "woo hoo" flavor: I have to go fix Itzhak Perlman's server when I get back into town. I'm so cool. :-P

Gotta go pick up some painkillers; you have no idea how long it actually took me to type this because of all the rest breaks.

P.S. For the medical professionals in the crowd, either present (Cuzzie S-----) or future (my sister is collecting another degree, this time in nursing), here's the radiologist's description of what I have: "a focal right posterolateral disc herniation resulting in prominent epidural defect". Neato! I'm defective!

P.P.S. Yes, Dad, this is the result of me "swinging all those heavy suitcases around" and hunching over computers for years. And from carrying heavy crap around my house. Yes, you were right. :-P

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had this same surgery 1 1/2 weeks ago. I also did not get a private room. My first clue that this room might be hell in disguise was a maintenance man fiddling with the thermometer when I arrived. It's January and 6 degrees out and the room was like a desert. I swear that room is the cause of global warming. I also got a roommate in the middle of the night who claimed her pain was an 9 while she drank her 2 liter bottle of coke and ate cheetos and proceeded to watch an all night special of Johnny Depp movies with all the lights on. So much for resting in the hospital. She did call for the nurse for me as every time I drifted off to sleep something in my throat relaxed which resulted in loud snoring and then choking. Was extremely scary and annoying. That was the worst part so far. I have had practically no pain or numbness. I've not had a need for a pain pill so i guess they have cured me. The picture of the womans neck looks exactly like mine complete with permanent blue marker and glue. Anyway I stumbled across your blog at messageboard.spine-health and wanted to say it made my day. You are a pretty funny gal. Hope you are well and your bionic neck has cured your woes.

Mary in Omaha