Archive for the ‘My aching back!’ Category

A lot can happen in a week

September 1, 2008

I’m sure I will ramble incoherently because so much has happened this week, and I am still on some fairly strong pain medications. Apologies in advance. First, Mike got a great promotion at work which is really exciting. He’ll be able to learn an entirely different function of the business and he’ll have at least five direct reports as an Operations Manager. That was the first bit of excitement. The second is that I had my pals Pat and Lacy drop their Golden Retriever off one day this week to keep me company. Her name is Laya and she’s very cute. The thing that killed me is that Seamus (the crazy cat) seemed to think that Laya was Griffey. It was sad and sweet all at the same time. Seamus kept following the dog and trying to rub up against her. Normally, when a random dog enters a house run by a cat the cat will either hide or give the dog a few swats with the paw. None of that from our friend Seamus, who clearly misses his pal as much as we do. Here are a few pictures of Seamus trying to get Laya to start acting like Griffey.

 

Hey, why you running from me dog?

Hey, why you running from me dog?

See, I knew you loved me

See, I knew you loved me

Moving on to the next fun thing, Michael turned four yesterday! He gave up the paci’s that he still used at bedtime with no trouble at all. He’s a big kid now, afterall. He is way too cool for himself. He is obessed with Star Wars and skateboards. I think Ryan Sheckler and Tony Hawk better watch their back, cause this kid’s got skills. Look, he’s popping a wheelie within three seconds on his Sponge Bob skateboard!

And finally, I’m healing really quickly (if you ask me, anyway). Today I even snuck out with Mike and the kids to go get new school shoes for Marian and Michael. Marian starts first grade tomorrow and Michael starts 4 year old preschool next Monday. Before I get all the emails telling me that I shouldn’t have snuck out, I did take my walker with me. Yes, you heard me correctly. I wore the back brace (on the outside of my shirt) and used the walker. I was a sight for sore eyes. I’m sure you can picture how cool I was looking and no…there won’t be a picture posted below.

Oh, and lastly, I’ve become completely obsessed with the show “Lost”. I watched all of the first season last week and Mike went and rented season two. I can’t wait!

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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!

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!!

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!

July 4th holiday fun and start of this blog

July 11, 2008

I thought it would be fitting to show you what my loving family was up to while I was bedridden last week. In fact, the day I started this blog was on July 4th itself. After taking the kids to a little parade down the road Mike headed off to a friend’s family house on a private lake. Mike has fun with water sports but he can take it or leave it whether it’s the lake, ocean or even the pool. I however, am obsessed with water. I’ve done it all: swim team, lifeguard, scuba diving, waterskiing, tubing, snorkeling, jet skiing, wave running, sailing, sea kayaking and windsurfing. The one thing I’ve not yet tried but still hope to is surfing.

 

I made Mike promise to take lots of pictures and I’m ashamed to say that I was ridiculously jealous when I saw them. In my defense, I was on day nine of being bedridden and I was crabby to say the least. Mike told our friend Casey (the driver of the boat) that this would have been the kind of day that I would have killed for. So, as jealous as I was he felt the pain for me knowing that I was missing it. The one thing I’m thrilled about is that the kids are really starting to get into the water sports too. They are VERY tentative at first but once they feel secure they are all over it. Here’s a few pictures of the Sly family (minus me) whooping it up on the 4th.