Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A strange thing, HOPE!

It's taken me a bit to get on here and get my blog up to date on what happened at the neurosurgeon's here goes:

The minute I walked into the tall, tall building that houses the medical offices of OHSU (Oregon Health and Sciences University), I felt "right" somehow. It had to be a "God-thing" because I had a couple of tough experiences there a couple of years ago...but nope, everything was going well.

My neurosurgeon was on time, and when I and my husband went in, I was first interviewed by the kind physician's assistant who had interviewed me before, when I first visited that office in 2009. She visits with you, and then goes back to the surgeon and tells him all about what is wanted, expected, etc, so that he can be ready when he walks in. I had told her that I was ready to put it all into the surgeon's hands: if he says yes to a surgery, I will make a decision on the spot to have it done. If he says no, I'll walk out and not seek surgery again.

Therefore, it was not a surprise when he walked into the exam room and got right to the point: yes, you still need surgery and so, first, we'll get new imaging, and once that is done, I will go back to see him and we'll discuss if surgery is still the right thing to do. He wants to just fuse the C1 and C2. I asked him if he'd fuse to the occiput (skull base) and he answered that he prefers not to unless it's very necessary. He said that when he gets into the surgery, at a certain point, he can check it all to see if there is movement where there shouldn't be, and if so, then he'd fuse to the skull base.

My feelings about it are that I prefer he does go ahead and fuse the skull base, but I trust his judgment. I also feel that the fusion of C1 to C2 is certainly warranted since the last MRI where the radiologist reported movement of the C1 to the left, which is not good.

He was soooo nice, and said a few times that I will do really well with this surgery, that he will be helping me a lot, that alot of my symptoms will resolve. I am so happy!

So, right now, I'm waiting for my workers comp insurance to give the go-ahead to have the surgery, and then I can move ahead with the new xray; new MRI (regular) and then the SPEC scan which is an MRI done after a radioactive substance is injected into my veins. He said he was really liking his experiences with the SPEC. I had it last time and no problems.

I'm very excited about this. First of all, as soon as he spoke his words, I got misty-eyed, and tears came from my eyes. I realized as I went home that there was something HUGELY different in my life. Something felt so very changed to how I felt from the time I broke my neck, 7.5 years ago, until the surgeon spoke those words a couple of weeks ago. On the way home, it hit me what it was. HOPE. I have hope, something I have not had for many years. This surgery, believe it or not, will be the FIRST surgery ever that I will have had on the C1/skull base area, since I shattered it all April 9, 2004! The surgeon said it was high time someone helped me out. Lord, please bless this wonderful man!

All of your prayers were felt, believe me. The surgeon was like a new man, completely different from how he was 2 yrs ago. There was a sense of JOY in the exam room, when the center of attention, ME, was infused with happiness and joy that I would finally get stability at the craniocervical junction! The PA was laughing and happy; my husband was cracking jokes, per usual; the surgeon was joyful and tears were streaming down the cheeks of my face as that single emotion, HOPE, which had been missing for so many years, took up residence in my brain.

Thank you for everything and I will keep you posted.


Anonymous said...

I'm crying happy tears for you dear sister in Christ. Hope is a sweet, sweet thing, and it makes the 24/7 pain much easier to bear. I appreciate your posts so much. Prayers from Alaska Lisa

By His Grace said...

Lisa, I can let you know how this all goes, and who knows? Maybe this would make a good facility for you, and it's not all the way across the US, tho I know it's not THAT close to Alaska!! I'll keep you posted, dear one, and say my prayers for you!

Chuck Martin said...

We're "Hoping" and "Praying" this is finally the answer to your's and everyone's pleas for you.

Faith, Hope & Love,
Chuck & Laurene

Anonymous said...

I suffered a Jeffeson's Fracture in January 2011. I went 6 months in a collar until my neurosurgeon concluded the fracture would not heal. During that time I was not permitted to work or drive or even lift a small bag of groceries. I had fusion surgery C3-C2-C1-skull in July of this year. I am now driving, running, even lifting weights and am hoping to start skiing again this winter. The only things my surgeon told me I could not do is sky dive and ride roller coasters. It is annoying that I can only turn my head about 30% of what I used to, but my surgeon says with time more flexibility will result-- but I can still turn my head more than when I was in the collar. With the fusion, my surgeon says that my neck is now stronger than it was before the injury. Please know that I am praying for you and want you to know that with God's help, there is life after the neck collar and after surgery.

By His Grace said...

Lisa and Chuck! Thank you so much for your encouragement! It has meant so much over all these years!

anonymous, thanks so much for what you wrote to me! You have given me added reasons to hold onto the hope I now have. I am so anxious to get the imaging and move ahead with a surgery date. I'm so glad things worked out so well for you. Can you imagine? YOU had good doctors who cared about you and wanted to do what was best. You only had to be in the brace for six months. ME, I've waited 7.5 years (of my life) to finally find a surgeon who will do just the common sense thing that should have been done 7 years ago!!! It's really such a bad thing (I can't think of nouns and such this morning).

anonymous, how did you break your C1? and did you suffer any brain injury?

Again, I'm so glad you found me and so glad that you are doing so well. Praise the Lord!


Anonymous said...

My surgeon is Gerald Rodts, Jr. at Emory Spine Center, Emory Hospital. He is without question one of the best surgeons in the country for this type of surgery, and told me he has probably done more of them than anyone else, at least in the Southeast. I suffered a very bad fall and landed on my head, fracturing the C1, cracking my skull, a concussion, and subdural hematoma. I have been told by many in the medical community I was fortunate to survive. I am blessed. I feel so badly for you that you have been in the collar for so many years-- I hated the thing even for 6 months. I know how you feel about fearing surgery, as I did too-- I had never even been in the hospital, let alone have surgery, before my injury. But I can tell you that the surgery itself was pretty much a non-event. The last thing I remember was being in the OR looking up at the ceiling and then before I knew what happened, I was waking up in recovery. I was only in the hospital for three days, and had to wear the collar for 8 weeks post surgery. I do still suffer some pain, particularly when lying down and turning over, but I am on NO pain medicine. There are risks with surgery (any surgery) that you should discuss with your doctor, but I concluded to take the risk and trust in God and of course my skilled surgeon. I wish for all the best for you and a good outcome.

Anonymous said...

I just read a 12/23/11 post on the World ACM Support Group that described wonderful hospital care by Dr Oro, his staff and his hospital. The poster noted the great TCI surgeons but horrific hospital care. It's my memories of the horrific NY SUNY hospital care after 5 great surgeries (1997, 2007 & 2008) by TCI surgeons that have me refusing to get the additional surgeries I need.

I'm an anesthesia doc's nighmare and also get no relief from 90% of post op meds and instead have painful allergic reactions to them. But if I could go to a great neurosurgeon and great hospital I would go through the post op nighmare again.

I'm excited and hopeful that you might get surgery by a wonderful surgeon and at a wonderful hospital. God and I both want the best for you and I'm praying He'll move His armies to make that possible real, real soon.

Lisa in Alaska

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, we should write "off-blog" know my email, don't you? If not, I'll post it here. I have sort of experienced some bad stuff with Dr. O...Not me personally, but with a close friend who wrote every detail every day to me...and she was let down in a big way...I don't like to post anything really negative about a doctor...but....I want to share her experience with you. Basically, the hospital, surgeon, care, staff are all top notch until you are past surgery and need follow up due to complications...then she had a really bad time with him and that has led to some permanent problems for her. I HATE to have to say that right when you are finding a slice of hope after reading the WACMA post. But, one cannot obtain too much information, I do not think. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, your fears about surgery due to your experiences in NY~!! I have had that for several years myself, and from reading this blog, you know that working my way thru the fear has taken me several years and a lot of prayer and faith. These docs just do not know one iota of the damage they do to us (not just NY docs)patients, the emotional toll that is often permanent. I am praying for you, dear Lisa!! I do want you to have surgery if that is the Lord's will for you, and as you know, figuring out just what H is will is is tooo difficult to bear sometimes. Let's talk soon, via email, 'kay? love you and Merry Christmas, dear sister!

Lisa C said...

Yay for HOPE !!! So happy to hear things went so well for you. You richly deserve some peace with this and I pray it continues through the surgery and recovery!

Hugs and Blessings~

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