Archive for July, 2008

Is that a scalpel in your pocket, or…

July 31, 2008

It is confirmed, on August 19th I’ll be having spinal fusion surgery. We met with the neurosurgeon last night and after the discogram report showed “essentially complete loss of disc height and dye material leaking posteriorly and anteriorly bilaterally” in L4/L5. L5/S1 is right behind it in terms of degeneration. So, they will be fusing two levels, three vertebrae. Once again, Dr. Sunshine was very “real” in telling me that this is a very painful surgery. It involves a bone graft, screws and rods. God love Dr. Sunshine for spreading his rays of happiness and light! Because I’m really sick of this subject and I’m certain you must be sick of hearing about it, I’ll give you the quick rundown on what this all means:

  • Four days in the hospital – wake up in a brace that I’ll wear for 10 weeks
  • Four-six weeks off of work; no driving until I’m off the pain pills
  • Physical therapy will start around six weeks

He said that this operation should improve things by 75% and hopefully we won’t have to deal with more issues of this magnitude for another 10-20 years. Finally, Dr. Sunshine said something positive!!! Just kidding. He’s great and I trust him completely. Mike and I are both excited and nervous to get this over with and I’m just looking forward to being normal (keep all the sarcastic comments to yourselves) again. We’ll keep you posted – and until after the surgery the rest of the posts will hopefully be centered around these comic children of mine!

POLL: knappy or snappy – your vote counts

July 26, 2008

There’s one thing Mike and I agree on without question – our kids are cute. Marian can work the long hair or the short hair. Hers is thick and straight-ish. She’s lucky as hell but curses it every time we have to brush it. Apparently is has some magic feature where even after we’ve just brushed it, new tangles form instantaneously. Either way, she’s swimming every day at camp this summer and with the chlorine and the brushing and the crying – she’s opted for a shorter style.

So, this poll really involves the young, knappy headed Michael Sly. Mike loves it when Michael’s hair is long, messy and surfer-like. Long or short, Michael already is a lady killer with more “game” than his dad ever had. I too like Michael’s tousled locks, but think a little shorter is ok. So, the kids had haircuts last night. Here are the before and after shots. You tell us what you think of mack-daddy Michael. Leave us on a comment on this one – longer or shorter…

BEFORE

AFTER

Hopkins – oh how you torture me

July 26, 2008

Is anyone else watching this show? It’s like Grey’s Anatomy except that it’s real (and there’s a lot less sex). It’s a six week documentary of the doctors and residents at John Hopkins Hospital. For some reason, I am drawn to these shows and can often be found watching such programs on the Discovery Health channel as well. However, the last two episodes of Hopkins have involved children and parents going through things I can’t imagine. So, I sit crying and feeling terrible for these people. I also feel so lucky and blessed that we don’t have any of these horrible things in our life. Finally, I feel scared that any of our lives can change for the worse in an instant. I want to bubble wrap my kids to secure their safety until their 100th birthday, at least. This is no way to live and yet I ask myself if I’ll watch Hopkins next week. The answer, though I can’t explain it, is most likely, probably…definitely. Mike thinks I’m a raving lunatic on this topic. He wouldn’t even watch ER back in the day or Grey’s Anatomy even though it’s “make believe”. So, I will continue to torture myself and he will continue to think I’m a nutcase. We are perfect for each other!

Perhaps I forgot to mention how I’m not so smart…

July 24, 2008

…and then, perhaps it just goes without saying. But, to add to the crippling (I’m exaggerating a bit) back problems I have, I also have to have knee surgery. See, it all started when six months ago the back got bad again and the doctors said surgery and I said, no, I think I can do therapy on my own. Then, with it hurting every day I decided I would still live my life and do what I want. I figured I would get better or get worse. Then, softball season started and we have a very fun and very undefeated team and I really wanted to play. So, I strapped on this huge back brace for each game and I gave up playing infield so I wouldn’t have to bend over as much. Four games in to the season something bad happened to the cartilage in my right knee while I was running to first. I’m sure I was overcompensating for the back and that’s why I hurt the knee. So, I was scheduled to have my knee scoped and fixed on June 28th, exactly two days prior to having to call an ambulance because my back was so bad that I couldn’t stand. So, now the question is – which to fix first. I’m thinking knee because I would think I’ll need two solid legs to stand on if I’m having major back surgery. So, there. I’ve fessed up as you’ll all find out sooner or later. No worries, I’ve been yelled at by everyone I know (except those on my softball team). I’ve learned my lesson. Listen to your body Molly. Take care of yourself Molly. Don’t be so reckless, Molly. Got it! Hear you loud and clear. But, next year I’ll be the bionic woman after all these surgeries – so look out world!

I’ll leave you with this. It happens so rarely I had to grab the camera. My children. Playing quietly. Together. For more than five minutes. Call the records books people!!

Nothing’s getting by this kid

July 23, 2008

This picture is from Michael’s first season of soccer, so it was last year and he was a new three year old. There is no rhyme or reason for me to post it here other than I just saw it in my photo file and I laughed out loud. So, thought you might enjoy a giggle too. I’ve actually never seen him so serious in all my life.

Just a quick note to all y’all

July 22, 2008

I have been hearing from so many of my long lost friends and family since I started this blog. I’m thinking it’s the best thing I could have done at the best time. It’s been so wonderful hearing from all of you and getting the updates on your lives as I continue to update you on ours. I’m just feeling the love (and no, it’s not the drugs) and wanted to say how happy we are to have such a great community of people in our lives, no matter how far away you live.

In fact, this blog has inspired my ten year old niece Megan to start one of her own. Stay tuned as she’s a great writer. I’ll link to hers once we get her up and running! Maybe you should start one too!

And the cat came back (isn’t there a song about that?)

July 20, 2008

After Mike and Michael walked and called for Seamus, out of sheer concern mind you, he came sauntering back into the yard later while they mowed the lawn. He had that strut, ya know, that cat strut like he owns the place. Well, he’s not strutting anymore. Wait until you see what we did to him. Now Seamus, Mr. Too Cool for School, all your little cat friends will know that WE. OWN. YOU! Oh, and wait until the squirrels, raccoons and possums see it – they’ll be heckling you from the trees and the garbage cans. Don’t go making us worry about you Seamus. We have a lotta love to give and with Griffey gone it all falls on you. I think it’s safe to say that Seamus isn’t thrilled with the new accessory we bought him. But again, it’s all out of love and concern.

Seamus, Seamus wherefore art thou Seamus?

July 18, 2008

Seriously, never a dull moment in the Sly house. Seamus, the one year old(ish) cat of ours has been missing now for over 24 hours. Is an indoor/outdoor cat ever really missing? Probably not, but he’s never been gone this long. Michael forced his father to go out into the neighborhood for a walk to find this rotten cat. Here’s his picture. If you’ve seen him, call us. He’s actually a cool cat because he’s remarkably dog-like (he learned from the great Griffey).

I don’t know if the garland gives it away, but this picture is about seven months old. Seamus has grown quite a bit, filled out – looking good. A man on the move…

That discogram was a walk in the park!

July 17, 2008

Yes, a walk in the park it was. However, the park I’m referring to has burning glass in place of grass and I’m rolling down the hill (like we did as free spirited kids) while it’s raining a lovely acid/salt mixture. Sorry, I’ll stop with the drama. It was indeed an extremely painful experience but I can honestly say that I had expected it to be worse. I told the doctor my rationality was that if I can walk after the test then I’ve certainly felt worse pain. Crickets…. He said nothing and just looked at me like I was a foolish girl. Mike and I both started laughing. I think their team got a kick out of how much joking we were doing about the whole thing. In fact, while I was in the procedure the joking continued. At one point one of the needles had already been placed and he started doing another one and this one hurt WAY worse.

Me: Hey, woah, what’s happening now?

Dr: (very nonchalantly) Oh, I’m just pushing through some muscle and piercing the disc now.

Me: Have you ever had this test done so that you know how your patients are feeling?

Dr: Well, no.

Me: Ok, then you aren’t allowed to say, “oh, I’m just….”. And I do think you should try this so you will have that bond with your patients.

The medical team got a huge kick out of this and then the doctor tried to tell me he had something similar. We were all very curious and then he said he had an epidural before. The nurses and I let him have it. No comparison, my doctor friend. Dr. Sripada and his team were awesome though. They made a horrible procedure go by very fast and they amused me along the way. I also made sure to tell him that I poked fun at him in my blog and he was ok with it.

I felt so happy when it was all over. I have two bad discs instead of three which is good news, though I had hoped it would only be one. We’ll meet with the neurosurgeon on the 30th to determine if I’ll have to have the spinal fusion surgery. As for the after effects, I’m really having a hard time with the pain now. It’s going to last up to 72 hours. Didn’t sleep much last night but hoping to improve today. Mike has been my rock and he said if he could have he would have done the procedure for me. He hates feeling helpless. After I got home he went and dropped the kids off with some friends and brought me pain meds, a Blizzard and People magazine. What’s not to love? Then, when the kids got home they ran to give me hugs. While Marian was hugging me she said, “I just want to stay right here in this hug forever”. I melted. Now I need to get her another pony! Then they jumped in bed with me and we snuggled and watched 101 Dalmatians. They were very sweet making sure that each time I moved I was ok and that they weren’t hurting me. I’m a pretty lucky gal to be blessed with such a great family!! Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers, offers to help with the kids and for the dinners too. Though this is a big part of our life right now I don’t want it to dominate this blog. I’ll try to keep you all posted in a much less wordy fashion as things change. I blame my drawn out stories on the Vicodin!

Shaking in my boots – for real

July 15, 2008

Tomorrow I’m doing to have a discogram done on my back to determine if I need to have a fusion surgery. What’s a discogram, you ask? Well, the doctor said “it’s very, very painful”. S-U-P-E-R!!

They stick these crazy long needles into the very center of your disc. Then, they shoot it with dye to try to re-create your pain and see all your tears. This fluid is injected to cause an increase in pressure and pain. No pain medication is allowed because I need to feel the pain and describe it to them in detail with each disc they test. Lucky for me, they are testing FOUR. 

So this picture shows the needles being poked into the center of the discs. One of my discs is so severely degenerated that the kind doctor doesn’t even know if he can fit a needle into it. Oh, and he also made sure to tell me that after the needles are in the real pain starts and that’s when patients typically start saying, “OW, OW, OW, OW, OW!”. He explained that this sort of reaction isn’t very helpful. Point taken, doctor. He would rather I tell him just how excruciating the pain is and is it the same kind I’m used to just bad pressure. Needless to say, I’m nervous and I’ve never been this nervous about a test, or a surgery or even giving birth. He said I will be able to walk after the test and two weeks ago I couldn’t walk at all – so, in my mind, I’m sure I’ve felt worse pain. The reason for all this fun is that I have Degenerative Disc Disease that is apparently of the severe sort, especially for someone my age.

I’ll report back tomorrow, or maybe the next day…it all depends. The sayings of my dearly departed Aunt Joyce (and all the other Irish of my parent’s generation): “Offer it up, dear”, “Suffer in silence”, “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. Blah, blah, blarney, blah!