To those of you who have been asking, thank you for your concern and patience. I wanted to make sure I had all my ducks in a row before posting what will hopefully be my final update before they “fix” me.
To bring everyone up to speed, I was recently admitted to the hospital for the better part of a week because of my back. Yes, again. I lost control of my right leg (both numbness and weakness this time, which is always dangerous and scary). The nerve damage was so severe that I had a bout with incontinence as well. Lovely I know, but that’s how bad it got. The science behind what happened is simple. I was paralyzed from the waist down on the right side, and that paralyzation included my rectum. I’m way too open sometimes, I swear… But now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Or whatever.
Anyway, they pumped me fulla steroids and pain meds and kept me comfortable until my neurosurgeon finally made it in to see me. This is the same doctor who did my previous two emergency surgeries (2011 and 2014) to relieve pressure on the S1 nerve cluster, which is the root of all my problems. Dr. Flotte told me the same thing he told me after my last surgery. “There’s nothing more I can do for you. But you need a fusion.” He’s now handed me off to Dr. Taylor, who works with him at Coastal Neurological Institute, and I have an appointment on July 7th with him to set up surgery for later in the month.
Why haven’t they done this before now? Well, that’s complicated. I’ve never been able to heal for long enough so that the surgery could be scheduled. I always reinjured myself before they could get in to do a fusion. This time, I’m somewhere in the middle. It can actually get worse this time, whereas, in the past, I had been past the point of putting off emergency surgery. I’m right on the line. As long as it doesn’t get worse in the next few weeks, I’ll be five-by-five for a fusion.
What is a fusion? In the simplest terms, it’s a bone graph that turns an active joint into an inactive one. Imagine encasing your finger in concrete. You can no longer bend your finger and it’s effectively protected. That’s what they’re going to do with the bottom half of my spine. Four discs will be fused, and I will, almost literally, have a stick up my ass. No more bending or twisting at the waist. No more a lot of things. Alas, I have no other options.
The endgame is this: I will be “fixed”. The discs will no longer be able to bulge and rupture. The nerves will not suffer any new damage. I will be cured. My mobility will suffer the greatest hit, but I should regain the use of my leg once the nerves have time to heal.
Now for some hard truth. I’m fucking terrified. I have no idea what to expect and that scares me. I don’t know that I’ll ever again be able to sit for prolonged sessions of writing. I don’t know that I will ever sit comfortably again period. Nothing will ever keep me from telling stories, but I’m concerned that something as simple as sitting down at my computer might prove to be challenging. I guess I could relearn the nuts and bolts of my craft. I’m still young. But I’m still worried, too. I hate giving dictation, and writing while lying down just feels wrong. Luckily, I have an amazing family. My wife and kids are as supportive and understanding as ever. We’re one of those families that only manage to get closer when faced with issues. Nobody knows how fortunate I am more than me.
I guess what scares me the most is the not knowing. I won’t have any cement answers until I start my recovery. I’m not a guy that enjoys maybes. I like definites. And right now everything is about as indefinite as it can get.
Until next time,
*hugs and high fives*