Monday, May 30, 2011

Big Year For Me

It has been a year since I posted nearly! How bad is that? This has been a super big year for me. Last November I had successful scoliosis surgery. When I was 13 I was diagnosed with scoliosis with a noticable curve in my back. The curve was not at a degree that warranted surgery. So in 1968 I was fitted with Milwaukee Brace which I wore for the next 2 years. Over the years, I'm 56 now, the curve progressed to  60 degrees by 2005. The doctor I went to discouraged surgery because at the time my symptons were not bad. In 2008 my father became sick and eventually went to a nursing home. Mom and I spent all of our time taking care of him and by that time I was beginning to have severe symptons. My father passed away in March of 2009 and I simply couldn't put the family through my surgery right after losing Daddy. I called the Southwest Scoliosis Institute in June of 2010 and scheduled an appointment to talk with the surgeon. I wasn't able to get an appointment until last August. At that time we were offered options that did not include surgery but the future was bleak. We decided on surgery since my back was now at an 80 degree curve and I was in pain all the time. I managed the pain with ibuprophen and muscle relaxers. No narcotics. After a plethora of tests that confirmed my spine was crushing my left kidney and possibly compromising my pulmonary system as well. On November 16 I had 8 and 1/2 hours of reconstructive surgery. It was successful. My back was pefectly straight. After a week in Baylor Regional Medical Center Plano (which is the most fabulous place on earth) I was transferred to Baylor Rehab. for a week where I went through extensive physical therapy. I then went home to my Mom's house to recuperate for the next 3 months. We never thought I would be there that long but I was and Mom and I became even closer than we did during the year we took care of  Daddy. It was a luxury that others don't have so I am blessed I had the opportunity to recover there, especially during Christmas. I spent Thanksgiving at rehab. and the food was not that great! I walked with a walker for a month and wore a brace when I was up. I also do a back treatment with a device that fits around my back and electronically helps my back to fuse properly. At one month I went to visit Dr. Michael O'Brien, my surgeon, and he told me not to use the walker and to start walking by myself. I was supposed to walk and be able to ride in cars for 3 months. I did little else as Mom was such a good caretaker and we had such a special, magical time together. Two weeks ago, I celebrated my 6 month anniversary of the surgery. That same week I filmed a commercial for Baylor Medical Center Plano. That was so much fun and I'm blessed to be able to share my story and express my gratitude to everyone that has helped get me through this. I've been counseling prospective patients by phone and sharing our story on the Southwest Scoliosis Institutes's Facebook page. I went to see Dr. O'Brien a week ago and he said I'm doing very well. My xrays look good and I've grown 2 3/4 inches!!! The one complication I am having from surgery is due to the extensive nerve damage in my left leg. My left foot has been swollen since November although it is much better and I have alot of numbness in my leg and the top of my foot and toes. We decided to put off testing and possible surgery and try a new round of drugs which I am currently taking. I'm hoping these will do the trick, but I am willing to consider surgery next year sometime. We will know more and make decisions at the year anniversary. But I am so happy to be at the point I am at. I rarely have any pain at all and can now do so many things I couldn't before. The surgery was life changing. And I thank God He put me safely in the hands of Dr. O'Brien.