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Back Issues

I done fucked up.

SHIT IS NOT OKAY!

Remember that back surgery I had last January? How I herniated two discs, because they were susceptible due to degeneration? Yeah… my back has been hurting lately. I’ve been feeling weird pains in my right calf. I’m getting worried. I haven’t done anything too risky, I just haven’t done anything too cautiously either. I’ve been doing my back exercises lately, but now I’m worrying that it’s too late. I’m worried that it’s starting again. Honestly, I don’t know why I’m posting this right now. But as I sit here googling “exercises to prevent herniated discs”, I’m tearing up. All I can think of is how miserable I was last year and how I cannot return to that way of life.

Lesson for the Day: Never forget your weaknesses. Rather, focus extensive time on making them your strengths. Or else they could come back and bite you in the ass.

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Just for funzies, here's my incision with the glue covering still on. Not sure if the lump is visible, but yeah.

Last Wednesday, my surgeon removed the bandage they had put in place after surgery, leaving a grotesquely disgusting glue covered incision mark. As soon as the doctor left the room, I turn to my mom and ask how it looks. She gasps and tries to sputter out some reassurance. Apparently, she expected it to be smaller. Once I got home and was able to inspect for myself, I realized it was the glue that made her gasp. It just looked bad. During my in-depth inspection, I noticed a lump. Instantly, I remembered a quote of of my friends always liked to say, “There was a lump on the back of my neck… Inside the lump…. was my twin.”

Thankfully, it is not my twin. It is either the start of an infection (oh yes please!) or fluids leftover from surgery that will re-absorb into my skin. My entire day today has been spent fixating on this lump. Don’t ask me why, but it really, truly, and deeply disturbs me. I had planned on a scar, I had never considered a lump. So, as I sit here desperately trying to find another class to register for, I am instead consumed with thoughts of what is really happening on my lower back.

Lesson for the Day: When you get surgery, ask for all possible results. Don’t go in unaware like I did.

How do you say goodbye to this face?! (Picture courtesy of one of my wonderful friends)

Yesterday was the big day. I packed up my bags, kissed Bemis on the head, and waved goodbye to my family as I headed back to school, my tiny dorm, communal showers, and Judy. While I assumed starting classes again might be a tad tiring, I didn’t think I would be this stressed out.

Let me explain… When I figured out that I would actually be getting the surgery, I had to e-mail the Dean of Students. Of course, he was non-responsive and left me to figure out the best way to communicate with my professors. Three out of five answered and were a big help, one never deemed me worthy of a response, and one basically said “fuck off”. I chose to drop the last two. The former professor’s class was known to be difficult and missing two weeks could make me fail anyways. The latter was just a conceited prick, making the thought of enduring his class sound less fun than a paper cut in the eye (which I will let you know has happened to be). After I e-mailed my professors, copying the Dean of Students as I did so, was when he reached out to help. I informed him of my dropping two classes and nothing was said.

Fast forward to last night… I’m carrying in bag after bag, random item after random item, all by myself. My parents had been willing to help, but I knew they had enough to do at home and after Judy’s nice text over break about working on being better friends, I assumed I’d have some sort of help. Yes, I did bring a lot of bags. Mostly because all I had were a bunch of tiny bags. Partially because I took way too much stuff home, including my comforter that fit into its own garbage bag. During one of my trips back to my car, I stopped to say hi to one of my friends who happens to be an RA. She tells me how she’s stressed out, and I make a joke about my nine hours. She stops. Apparently, my nine hours keeps me from being a full-time student and therefore, could majorly impact my housing. WTF. Why didn’t anyone feel like mentioning this to me beforehand?! Yes, I knew nine hours was a slacker load. However, it’s not my fault they didn’t want to work with the cripple. Also, my mom and grandma both spent a ton of time telling me I shouldn’t push it due to my recent surgery. I planned to take a CLEP exam to keep up hours anyways, though.

Go to Google Images. Type in stress. Laugh your ass off.

So now, here I sit… waiting on the oh so helpful Dean of Students to reply to my e-mail. Otherwise, I’m showing up at his office tomorrow. Sometimes, it’s really hard to keep my head up and focus on the positives. Guess I’ll start looking for another class. Oh yeah, that requires a late-add form… which involves the mother effin’ DEAN OF STUDENTS.

Oh, and did I mention how Judy took it upon herself to mock me and my nine hours, within probably two hours of me being back in the dorm. Not only did she not help me, the girl who recently had disc material sucked out of her back, but she had to let me know she was better than me because she’s taking seventeen credit hours. Whoop-di-fuckin-dee. Can someone please explain to her that she’s healthyy?! And that unfortunately, I have the back of a seventy year old?!?! All of her bitchiness in the past 24 hours led to a historic event. My mother used the c-word for the very first time. I do believe it was much deserved.

Lesson for the Day: Sometimes life sucks. Just find a bright side. For example, I walked into the lobby to see a list of students in our building who got above a 3.5 GPA last semester. I saw my name, but not Judy’s. HAH.

Yes, I documented everything down to the IV in my drugged out state.

If you have been keeping up with this blog at all, you know that I had back surgery a week ago. Since I came home from the hospital, I have only left the house twice. I’m not agoraphobic, I like getting out of the house. This has pretty much been killing me. Last Monday, I should have been heading back to school. Instead, I would be sitting around the house. I was starting to feel a little bit what you could call “depressed”.

So when I woke up Monday morning to find my parents and younger brother standing over me with a scroll in hand, I was a little confused. Through my blurred vision, I opened the scroll and saw the words “Happy birthday, Mama!” with a picture of an English Bulldog that had been cut out of a  newspaper. I say, “That’s really mean of you.” And turn over. You see, I’ve been asking for a bulldog for years. This past year, I’ve been repeatedly asking for a puppy or to breed our lab (four years old and still not fixed, I know what my mom wants to do with her). Every time, I was laughed away. However, this was no cruel joke. I was going to hop in the car to meet a man halfway to choose between two females, so then on Tuesday morning, my birthday, I would wake up to my new puppy.

Bemis, or Beamy, or Chunky, or Piglet, etc.

Now, I have a lovely little snorting ball of joy named Bemis. She trots around, sniffing everything as she goes. It’s the most adorable thing I have ever seen. I couldn’t be more in love with my little puppy. Loud noises scare her, quieter noises make her tilt her head. I’ll be out front with her cooing, “go peepee poopy” (yes, I am now that person) and a truck will roll by, instantly she turns sideways and bolts to the front door. A once timid dog is now beginning to show her true, more headstrong personality after a week of living with us. She has in turn changed me into the overprotective parent who screams every time any sort of danger comes near her. Our four year old lab, Marley, the attention whore that she is, doesn’t know how to feel about the situation. She was always the baby, and now her flopping and whipping her head around violently is no longer seen as cute but rather a danger for Bemis.

Lesson for the Day: You get back surgery, you get a puppy. Simple as that.

 

My grippy socks and blood clot preventing mechanism. So sexy.

Okay, well here’s a quick update. Yesterday, I got a micro-endoscopic discectomy. There were more words involved in that title, because the nurses kept asking me what I was getting done and every time I had to pause and think and say discectomy? They didn’t seem to get that at 4 am my brain wasn’t fully functioning, particularly because I was having a mini panic attack about getting an IV and later back surgery. The easy part was how they had to ask me my full name and birth date. I don’t see why they couldn’t just stick with that question. But no, they had to complicate it with big words that my normal brain can’t even comprehend.

I looked like a damn fool with my shaking legs as one nurse inserted the IV as another held my hand. I didn’t ask her to, but I think she sensed that I needed it. I went into surgery at around 5:30 am and in total it took about an hour. A bit longer than he expected because it turns out that I had a lot more herniated disc material than expected. Overall, I’d say the surgery was a major success. My leg pain is gone and the only remaining issue is slight numbness in my foot. That’s to be expected as it’s been numb for six months so it will take some time to return full feeling. The incision is about an inch long, maybe more according to my grandma. The thing that really sucks is the major sore throat I have from the breathing tube. It feels like they were like, “OH SHIT! Almost forgot the breathing tube” as I was on the table and shoved it down as fast as they could. Plus, now I’m randomly coughing things up. Not cool.

See, not big at all.

Now I basically get to lay around for two weeks, with occasional walks around the house to prevent blood clots. I’m not allowed to sit at a 90 degree angle for more than 15-20 minutes, so car rides are out of the question. The worst part is no shower til Monday. I’m hoping dry shampoo can last me til then.

So yeah, that’s all I really have to say about the surgery. I survived. I got a gift basket and a flower arrangement so far, pretty spiffy. I’m feeling special as everyone calls my family for updates. But now, I’m going to return to my lovely couch so that my mom and grandma don’t come home to find me typing this sitting at a 90 degree angle.

Lesson for the Day: If you decide to document your hospital stay, try to look more attractive than I did. I look like a drugged out mental patient in almost all of them.

My dad says I walk like the Hunchback.

I just wanted to give a quick little update on my back situation. My surgery is scheduled for 6 am on Friday, the 13th (dum dum dummmm). Everyone I have talked to or heard from has said that I will be amazed by the instant relief when I wake up from surgery. The only pain I will feel is from the surgery itself. Uh, where were these people six months ago when I chose to go the chiropractic route?! I’m not sure I would have chosen six months of pain and trying over instant relief. The recovery time isn’t long either, the surgeon said I could be ready to go back to school in one week. That’s insane! I can’t wait for the shooting pains from my sciatic nerve to stop and for my gimpy walking to come to an end.

Anyways, today I have to go get blood work done to make sure everything will go smoothly. Yesterday, I got up to date x-rays and an MRI reading. For those of you who haven’t had an MRI, be glad. I’m not very claustrophobic, but that space could make anyone hyperventilate. My first MRI was done this past July. I was completely calm and relaxed as I laid down on the flat board, positioning my ear plugs. As I was sliding in, I made a big mistake. I opened my eyes. The ceiling of the tube was less than the length of my hand from my face, and I have very small hands. Thankfully, the tube opened up more the further in I went. My feet were the only things sticking out into freedom. Although I should’ve relaxed at th fact that there was more space for my face, all I could focus on was how there was absolutely no escape. So the whole time I prayed there wouldn’t be some freakish power outage. But through the soothing sounds of Kiss FM and the tech working, I made it. Luckily that MRI took about five minutes from the moment he took me back til the second I walked out.

Except I was faced the opposite direction. Headfirst, unsure of how far I was in.

Yesterday’s MRI took a lot longer. First of all, I had to wait fifteen minutes when I got there. Then I was walked out to the mobile unit and told it would take 20-25 minutes. In the machine. Uhhhh… what?! I guess the last time I got a stud and this time I got the third string. Also, there was no music offered. Just loud zings, bangs, and crashes. This machine was slightly different. I was only pulled in up to my knees and was told there was another opening near my head, though I couldn’t bend to see it if my life depended on it. The bad thing about this one though, was unlike the other one, the shape of the tube inside didn’t change. from my head to my knees, it was all about a hands’ length from me. No. Way. Out. I managed to stay calm, but then it happened. What always happens when you’re told not to move. My nose started itching. My ear started itching. My cheek started itching. Almost every part of my body needed to be scratched. It was hell. But I made it out alive.

Now I get blood drawn in a few hours. In the past, I would freak out. I’ve gotten better with needles. I’m just hoping they only need one vial and don’t try to drain me. We’ll see how that goes. Until then, I suppose I’ll do what I’ve been doing all week, go watch a movie on the couch only to pass out half way through. My life has gotten significantly duller. Hopefully, my birthday next week will bring some excitement.

Lesson for the Day: MRI’s aren’t fun, at all. But if you take deep breaths and focus elsewhere, you might just make it out alive.

It has been decided that I will get the laparoscopic surgery.

Fingers crossed...

The pain has increased so much since my trip to Pennsylvania, specifically in my leg. I managed to go back to work for a few days, though it got progressively worse. In fact, the last day I had to get a ride to and from work so I could take pain killers to make it bearable. I think by calling off yesterday and today, I’ve officially severed ties with that restaurant. Sad because I’ve been there for a year and a half since they first opened their doors, but understandable as I haven’t been the best employee.

So now it comes to this. Monday I will go see the spine specialist and beg for him to find a way to fit me in for surgery that week. Then my grandma will fly down to assist my mom in my recovery for the next two to three weeks. I’ve tried various ways of avoiding this procedure, including the cortisone injection, acupuncture, and continual chiropractic visits. While my chiropractor has helped immensely, it’s not the final solution we had hoped for. Currently, I can barely last more than a five minute car ride without pain. My only hope is that my professors are willing to work with me so I don’t lose the schedule I so carefully planned out and that I don’t get too behind.

I don’t know why my progress stopped. I don’t know why the trip to Pennsylvania set me back so much. I don’t know why my back even had to have problems to start with. All I know is that it’s happened. It has happened and this is something I will have to deal with all of my life. I’m just hoping that surgery is the correct option. All I can do is pray that I’ll heal as fast as they promise and things will be alright in the end. I’m a little scared, a little nervous, a little worried. But I know this will all turn out as He wishes.

Lesson for the Day: God has a plan for everything. Sometimes it’s not easy to understand, but just trust and hopefully things will turn out right.