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Archive for March, 2009

After the Myelogram Hell week, the surgeon said that he is confident that lumbar laminectomy/discectomy surgery is all that is required. He sees no indication for fusion. So, that was the upside of Hell week. I am having some massive anxiety over the thought of surgery. However, I do believe that this is the right decision at this time for me. My life has deteriorated over the last year into something I do not recognize nor enjoy at all. I am just hanging on till I wake up Monday after the surgery is over!

I was highly irritated, OK, made as hell, last week at the surgeon’s office, but the surgeon himself is wonderful. He called me Monday and talked to me on the phone for over 1/2 hour. He answered every question I had and did not rush me in the least. Then I was given the neuro anesthesiologist’s email address. I emailed him some questions, and he called me Tues evening and talked to me for almost an hour! We have emailed back and forth about a dozen times in addition to that. Oh, and gave me his cell phone number!! I actually work in the healthcare business and know that this is NOT standard operating procedures for physicians! I am totally impressed with them and feel completely confident in their abilities. I just seem to have this terror about something I can’t quite put my finger on. It has to do with the time up till I’m put under rather than the actual surgery itself.

I’ve started my own prep work. I’m using David Lanz’s Christophori’s Dream CD and visualization. I can have my iPod in my pre and post op suite, so I hope I can get myself in a meditative state (or at a minimum a notch or two calmer) Monday morning before being given the anesthesiology.

I have my eye on the prize: dancing again! I’m thinking Samba lessons….

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Well, decompression didn’t produce any real changes in my pain and nerve problems. It might have if I had discovered it a year or more ago. Finally after a couple of weekends of just about constant misery I decided to consult a neurosurgeon about my back. He said surgery was a definite, but the upside was he was certain he could help me. After talking and discussing all my symptoms and reviewing my MRI from Jan, he said he wanted to send me for one last test before giving me his surgery recommendations, a Myelogram. He was going to be on vacation for a week, but I could have the myelogram on Monday, and he would be back the following Monday and give me results.

According to him and his staff, the myelogram is not all that different from a steroid epidural. Since I’d had 3 of those in last 2 months, I thought no big deal. Oh my God was I wrong. The procedure itself isn’t bad. They inject a dye in your spinal canal and do x-rays and a CT. None of that was too bad. I was told by the doc’s office that I should take it easy rest of day after procedure, but would be fine to go back to work next day. Imaging center said I had to be on full bed rest for 24 hrs, only getting up for bathroom and could sit up to eat for 30 mins, 3 times that day. Huh. Discrepancy. Who to believe?

I did my bed rest that day and got up next day for work. Had a headache which proceeded into full blown migraine. I was already at work teaching a class and almost passed out. I actually laid down on a table in the training room while my students and co-workers brought me my phone and packed up my stuff. Called imaging center and they said I had to get home immediately and be on strict bed rest for 24 more hours. Only up for bathroom. Called my husband to come get me, left car at work and went to bed. That was Tues. Got up after that 24 hours and seemed OK. This was Wed afternoon. Next morning (Thur), migraine back again. Guess what imaging center said? Surprise, surprise, back to bed for 24 hrs.  They also said they would call in a pain med. It took me 4 calls between imaging office and doc office and 8 hours before anything was called in. I was told twice that it would be called in within 30 mins. Nice, huh?

That night (Thur) called the answering service b/c migraine got worse. Talked to radiologist on call. He was only one in 4 days that had given me much information at all. Seems the hole that is caused by the needle that injects dye sometimes does not close on it’s own, causing migraines. Bed rest is first line of treatment, to see if it will heal on it’s own. After almost 4 days of total bed rest, it did not seem likely. A blood patch is the next thing they try. This involves starting an IV in one arm, using that IV to draw your own blood and then injecting your own blood into your epidural space. Usually this gives instant relief from the migraines. But it is another procedure.

Next morning (it’s Friday now, original myelogram was on Monday), the radiologist from night before calls to see how I am doing. He is concerned because if I want to try the blood patch, we need to get it scheduled since it’s close to impossible to do these on the weekend, and it would have to be in the ER, etc. I decided I had to have the blood patch because the migraine was not any better and I had missed an entire week of work as well as life in general. My husband also missed whole week of work and cancelled a trip that was planned for over 6 months.

I went through another round of “who’s on first” between the imaging office, the doctor’s office and a second imaging office where they same radiologists work and who had done all my epidural injections. Everyone kept telling me to call the other office. It was a freaking circus! The only one who was trying his best to help was the radiologist that was on call Thursday night, and he wasn’t even working on Friday! I finally got in for the procedure.

The IV part was horrible for me. Any type of taking blood, etc is usually that way. They got IV going (they give you fluids as part of this whole thing) Once that was started and the throbbing of that stopped, someone came in to see if she could get blood out. She couldn’t. Figures. The first person who started IV came back with the radiologist and was able to get blood going, no problem. I asked if I could have her back for actual procedure. Guess who I got? First one who couldn’t get blood! She said the other person had told her exactly how to do it. Real confidence builder!

By this point I was a wreck. They did not have any anxiety meds, no pain meds, nothing except injectable lidocaine which they put in your back before the other injections. They had me turn over on this tiny steel table I had been lying on for an hour and a half while still hooked to the IV. Then took the blood, then injected it in my back. Felt like my hips were going to explode. I cried through the whole thing.

After all that and the rest of the IV was done, my lower back and hips hurt enough like never before, but migraine was gone. That was yesterday. Today lower back is some sore, migraine is gone, only slight headache now and then.

The neurosurgeon returns on Monday. I don’t even know the results of the freaking myelogram! I wonder if it will be worth the thousands of dollars in lost work, and medical bills? And how do you even begin to estimate the cost of the loss of days of mine and my husband’s lives?

My trust in what the neurosurgeon may tell me about surgery, recovery, etc is now sorely diminished. Not to mention my confidence in his office. Everyone told me to call someone else. No one seemed to know what they were doing!

I am in a real quandary knowing what to do. I also have a lot of anger that I don’t know how to release. Screaming or beating pillows is not really an option at the moment. I cannot risk a headache right now! Hoping this angry post might help a little!

If anyone ever says they want to do a myelogram on you, run like hell!!!

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