Thursday, April 30, 2009

16 days...

Hey everyone. So its been a little over a week since my last post but lots has happened. Last friday, I saw the pain specialist and it was an extremely productive appointment. She changed and added some medications and scheduled me immediately for some procedures. She knows the ultimate goal is to get my pain as minimal as possible by the wedding. On monday I had my first medial branch block. A medical branch block is like a typical nerve block in the sense you are trying to "block" the nerve impulses but more invasive because of the area they work on. On the front of your vertabrae, you have joints called facet joints. Off of these joints are tiny little nerves called facet nerves or medial branch nerves. On monday and wednesday I had this procedure done on my l eft side. It is done under continous xray while I am mildly sedated. I am place on my stomach, put on a little bit of oxygen and monitors and they insert 4-5 needles with lidocaine and steroid into the medial branch area. The recoveries from these procedures is short but I get very very sore. On Monday I also had14 trigger point injections of botox into the muscles of my neck and shoulders to help with my muscle spasms. The next step is on Monday where I will have radiofrequency done on the left side to essentially burn the end of the nerve fibers. Then we will probably repeat these procedures on my right side. We wil most likely be cutting it very very close to the wedding but we are just trying to make my wedding an honeymoon as enjoyable as possible. If these procedures work, they can last for up to 3-6 months. I have had to apply for short term disability because I have been out of work for so long and have run out of sick time. I have mixed feelings about this but it was the best decision as I deal with all this.
In other news, I have officially moved into the townhouse Harrison and I are going to live in for our first year of marriage. My mom, dad, and harrison moved everything while I was instructed not to lift anything heavier than a pillow and just offer moral support. This was very hard for me to just give up all the control and let them do literally everything. I am so thankful for my wonderful parents. My mom has been in Nashville basically the past 2 or 3 weeks with me for all my doctors appointments and procedures. She's cooked, cleaned (both places), run errands for me, and pretty much been at my beck and call.
We are down to 16 days till the wedding. Its so hard to believe it is so close. The engagement has flown by. I am so ready mentally, but physically i'm not quite there yet. My hope and prayer is that in 16 days I will be close to pain free....even if it only lasts for a couple weeks to get me through the wedding week and honeymoon. I literally havent been pain free or even close to pain free for almost 4 years and the past 6 weeks or so has been mostly miserable. I do feel that I am making progress and I feel blessed to have found a doctor who is so proactive and really understands the sense of urgency and the goal.
Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me. I really do feel that the power of prayer has helped, especially emotionally for me to feel more positive, hopeful, and experiencing less worry. Many many thanks. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Countdown begins

So we are officially less than a month away from the wedding. I can not believe how quickly our engagement has gone....i just hope the next 4 weeks go by as quickly. I am so ready to be married to the man I love. All the final details are falling into place. I think the wedding and reception are going to be absolutely beautiful and so much fun. My hope and prayer is that I am feeling ok with little pain to deal with.
As far as my neck, not much has changed. I'm still going to PT 2 times a week. Last week I was still having alot of pain and not feeling any relief from the steroid injection so I called my neurosurgeon and after waiting for 3 days for a call back, they finally called and said that as of right now, it doesnt appear that I am a candidate for surgery...(Thats also what I heard 2 years ago, then after my surgery, my neurosurgeon admitted he was wrong). I was only able to work 12 hours last 8 hr shift and a 4 hr shift. This is very discouraging for me. I feel like I am letting down my managers and the baby and family I have been taking care of since January 1.
This week I have an appointment with a doctor at the pain specialty clinic at Vanderbilt, then I will see my neurosurgeon again. I'm interested to see what the pain specialist can offer me in lieu of traditional pain medication. While the medication helps, I can not take it while working and it makes me kinda loopy so I definitely dont want to take it on my wedding day.
Harrison and I are both in the process of moving. Last week Harrison was making small trips to take things over to our townhouse (it took 4 trips just for our gifts!!) and this weekend he painted the master bedroom and upstairs hallway. My mom has been in town packing my stuff, and organizing and unpacking our gifts. I'm going to officially move this weekend and harrison will move the week before the wedding when I am already in Knoxville. It will be nice to come back from the honeymoon and already be moved and unpacked for the most part. I havent been able to help move very much at all because I am not allowed to lift. I mostly point and direct and offer moral support. Again, this is hard for me. Please continue to pray for my neck and for me to let go of control and let people help me. This is a challenge for me because I do not want to burden anyone. My mom and Harrison have both been so amazing, helpful, and supportive. I dont know what I would do without them. I am truly blessed. I will probably always need help lifting and carrying anything that weighs more than about 10 pounds (groceries, heavy laundry, etc) which is hard for me to admit. I asked Harrison if he still wanted to marry me, knowing that he will have to help me with things around the house for the rest of his life, and without hesitation, he said "of course I do." I am a very lucky girl to be marrying such an amazing man.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


So since my last post, alot has happened. I had an appointment with the neurosurgery group on Thursday April 2. The doctor I was supposed to see was out of town, but I saw the nurse practitioner who was wonderful. She went through all my MRI slides with me and explained there could be several possible reasons for my pain. First, My C4-5 disc (the one above my surgery site) is pretty bad. A normal cervical disc is supposed to look like a long oval. It is supposed to be very white on xray because it is supposed to be filled with fluid. Well, mine is long and flat and gray so I basically have no shock absorption in my neck. Second, my C 4 vertabrae has changed shape because of the change in my disc and I have bone spurs off my c4 vertabrae. The NP said eventually it is most likely I will have to have surgery. Its just a matter of when. The last possible reason for my pain is beause of a partial fusion. Basically, they were worried that my first surgery didnt really "take". That instead of having one solid bone, that i could have areas that did not fuse or grow together. The only way to tell that is from a CT scan. So I scheduled a CT scan. The NP also wanted to start physical therapy and do a round of steroid injections. So I made those appointments as well. She also told me not to work the following week and to basically do nothing to see if we can get this under control. Luckily, my work is very understanding. The following weekend was a very busy weekend. Harrison and I had a couple shower, and our engagement pictures done, we picked out tuxes, i met with the florist, and I had a shower for me. It was a fun weekend but very hard for me since I was in alot of pain. I didn't want to be all drugged up for the parties so i just kinda grinned and bared it. Between everything we did, my mom was addimant about me resting. My mom and I left Knoxville on Monday morning and head back to Nashville and straight to my 1st physical therapy appointment. On Wednesday I had my CT scan and my steroid injection in my neck. On Friday I got a call from the doctors office and the nurse said it "appeared" i had a solid fusion but the doctor is out of town and wont get back until Monday. So I have to wait for an official read. The cervical steroid injection made me sore for a couple days but i still really havent felt much relief. It can take up to 5-7 days to feel relief so I'm hoping it will still help. I really want to try to work some this week but i just have to see how I feel. I'll start going to physical therapy twice a week. I'm just praying something we do helps. Lord knows I just want to feel good when I walk down the aisle in 5 weeks.