Wednesday, February 1, 2012

not-quite-six month check-up

I confess....I had a lovely spike in views today after Julie included my review in her The Night Circus book club post.  Thanks, Julie!

But this is really a medical post.  I had an early version of a six-month follow-up from my surgery today.  If you are a new reader, I had an anterior lumbar spinal fusion (L5/S1) on August 8, 2011.  The surgery followed two years of increasing pain that I'd first chalked up to gym soreness but eventually became much more severe. 

Anyway, the goal is for the bones to fuse (hence the name "'fusion").  The doc removes the disc (mine was one of the worst he'd seen in years...and he does like 5 a week so that's a big statement) and puts in a titanium cage ($32,000!!!  luckily mostly on the insurance co).  Ultimately, though, it is my body that does the work and the bones need to grow over the cage to make one solid fused chunk o' vertebrea. 

So, today's appointment did show bone growth (last set of images was in November).  Not fully done yet, but seems to be on track.  I still have pain and it can spike pretty high (esp after the health issues that took up 3/4 of January) but that seems on track too...I still hit a 7 but spend less time there.  I'd worried the appointment might be cancelled b/c the doc had a family emergency but the nurse practitioner saw me.  I find NPs to be AWESOME in general....I think nurses are often better at the bedside manner stuff and NPs have an extra level of medical training beyond the normal RNs.  She said all looked well (and that she wouldn't get the surgeon's head swollen by telling him how good it looked!) and was encouraging in general.  I've made HUGE strides in cutting the pain meds....really tough since the body becomes dependent on them even when they are for "real" reasons and not "recreational"...and hope that by the next appointment I'll be pain-pill-free. 

Back in May.  If all goes well, that's the last of the follow-ups and I can put this saga behind me.  I totalled the bills that came in for 2011...the bigger hospital one actually only came in January ($750 co-pay, bill was about $52K)....over $5,000 in co-pays for docs, images, and labs.  I'll need to get CVS to give me a printout on meds and get some documentation from X on insurance premiums since I do expect I'll be able to meet the tax deduction floor.

1 comment:

Annabelle said...

I'm glad things are going the right direction! Healing from chronic problems always seems to take so much longer than is reasonable, but I'm sure you'll get there. I remember a time when I hit 7 all the time, but I almost never get there any more. It's definitely something to be grateful for.