I recall in the Fall of 2007, when I posted that I finally had my surgery date for my tethered cord...Nov. 21.
Today, I got my date for my CranioCervical Fusion. April 28. It has a nice ring to it. It looks good, if you know what I mean. On this, the first day of Spring, April 28 looks, well, fresh and springlike, denoting rain showers and flowers and trees budding forth. New life.
I feel very good about this surgery. I've been a long time waiting for it...it's been five years since I broke my neck and suffered AtlantoOccipital Dislocation. I haven't had any surgery for those things yet...finally, now, I will. It must be God's timing.
If you'd told me back in 2004 that I'd have to suffer with pain for five years until I finally had treatment for the drastic injuries I'd experienced, I'm sure my mind would not have wrapped around that. Back then, having most recently been very active, very healthy, very strong, I couldn't imagine being laid up in a month.
In fact, I recall that when I got back online for the first time and pecked out an email to send to family and friends, I'd told them I'd broken my neck, but to not worry, I'd be back to normal in a month.
No, back then, I was being told that it would be a long recovery, but I would be fine.
There are people reading this who, amazingly to me, have been right there beside me every step of the way. Folks who lived close by and who brought cooked dinners to my house for my family for a month. Others who supported me through emails, as I dealt with confusion about my brain injury. In fact, I believe April 28th is the day, 5 years ago, that my wonderful, 18-year old border collie, Ty, died, and my dear friend Margo stayed with me on the phone, me sitting on the kitchen floor with Ty, she talking me through it all, for hours while I waited for the vet to arrive who would put the old dog out of his pain and misery.
Alot has happened in those last five years. It has all been a fight and I do not really believe the fight is done. In fact, it could just be beginning. But, to get treatment, to get to this point of having hardware installed in my skull and spine to hold my head up, has been tied up with a ton of self-advocacy; prayer by the bucket-loads; and the strength of my many friends and family.
My sister in NH has been rock-solid through all of this, listening to me rant about this and rave about that...coming to NY to be with me for the TC surgery and again to help me get through my follow up appointments. Our emails fly back and forth every day, year after year.
So...I have much to do to get ready. I need to figure out exactly who will be my travel companion, who will be at bedside. Who will take care of me post-hospital discharge if I do not get into the rehab center. I will wake up from surgery with a halo ring pinned into my skull, supported by a vest. Pin sites will need to be cleaned every day as long as I wear it, for 3 or 4 months.
I remembered tonight that I will need to shave my hair all off before I go to NY. I don't want any problems with my hair getting into pin sites and infecting them. I bet my husband will enjoy working with the clippers on me when that time comes!
I have a lot of tests to have done here locally before I go. Cardio and blood/urine tests and such. I hope to get in to see a Neurologist in Portland at OHSU to discuss my needs when I get home from surgery. And to discuss the possibility that I have Autonomic Dysreflexia.
I am so far behind in emails that I'm about to give up trying to catch up. I am blessed with so many friends.
Yes, today was the first day of Spring, and here in the Columbia River Gorge, it was an iconic day. The breezes carried wafts of new, green grass on the hills. It just "felt" different today. And I felt different.
For so long, I admit, I've feared this surgery and the halo. Feared the pain. But now, I am getting this nudge to cowboy up and let's get going with this. I'm looking forward to it, even to the halo.
I see that I will have the halo off in August...my hair will be starting to grow back. And Fall will be a blessing. Hope looms on the horizon and fills my very pores.
Thanks for standing by me through it all. As I go along, I'll keep updating here. When I started this blog back in 2007, I thought it might be interesting because I'd be in a halo soon. I thought it might be valuable to write of my journey through the time of being shored up in such an apparatus. Then, as time went along, the surgery kept being moved ahead, further out of reach.
Now, I'm almost there, to the starting point I'd imagined 2 years ago, where I'll be recording the triumphs and challenges of life in a halo. Thanks for coming along for the ride.