Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pre-Op -- Bloodwork Done, Mental Prep in Progress

I confess...I got scared.  And I'm not the scared type.  I don't tend to get a ton of nerves, though that also means I don't get super-excited either.  I'm not sure why.  It may be control-related....while I crave control, I recognize when I don't have it.   If I can control it, I fret.  If I can't, I usually don't.

So I guess that actually fits quite well.  I had my pre-op appointment yesterday and the big day is August 8.  I'll be having an anterior lumbar fusion at L5/S1.  They use titanium and a bone growing medicine so I don't have the problems associated with a bone harvest (and titanium means it doesn't interfere with things like MRIs and should be okay in airport scanners and such, though I get a note in case).  The anterior part means they go in through the belly.  This does mean another surgeon is involved to help the back doc get to the spine, but it is actually much easier than going in the back since that means dealing with a lot of muscle.  They can actually go in between the abdominal muscles (I think there are some in there under the not-muscle!!) and that all makes healing easier.  I'll be in the hospital 2-3 days and then stay with my Dad and step-mom for a couple days (in Lancaster, PA).  Mom and Step-dad will be there for the surgery and next day...though I'll see them in recovery, not pre\-op since Mom will be nervous too and is self-aware enough to know it would add to my stress beforehand so is letting MM, Dr Dad, and step-mom take that shift.  MM will be there Mon and Tues and then may go work a bit since I'll have folks around and he will come pick me back up Friday or so. 

I've had five surgeries so I'm a vet, but this is a much bigger deal (prior were two ENT-related and three pelvic laporoscopies for endo) and the first overnight.  As with the prior ones, I am not really worried about surgery itself.  I tend to trust that doctors can do their jobs, especially since I'm a pretty straight-forward case.  It's an unusual day for me, but it is a regular day for the doc (well, maybe a little different since he's got his partner's daughter on the table).  I am, however, beyond needle-phobic.  I think that's partly b/c I had several childhood bugs that left me really dehydrated and necessitated IV rehydration.  I don't have great veins (they hold up for little things but not for IVs) and they would be even less friendly when I was dehydrated so it often took several tries leaving bruises on my arms and eventually ending up with the IV in a hand.  I always warn the IV giver and find they are usually better than I expected, though the last one (for one of the tests) was pretty awful.  I am totally a watcher (control again) but just remind myself that I get some meds to help me relax as soon as it is in.

But the part I'm really dreading (and, fitting my theory, the part I can control) is the recovery process.  I was a bit surprised to find they usually tell people to wait TWO MONTHS before resuming a full time desk job.  I have some nibbles on the would be a slow enough process but the other will require some maneuvering.  I might suggest a trial period of PT work...clearly for the purpose of proving I rock since I'm a non-traditional candidate.  One of the quirks that people might not know about back pain is that sitting is actually pretty much the hardest thing, way more so than standing, and it will be a while before I can handle long spells.  Luckily, we just upgraded the cable package in the bedroom :)

Then there's the gym habit.  Truly, the gym addiction.  They very much encourage walking, but I'm pretty sure they don't mean my 9mile, two hour, marathon treadmill dates.  They haven't yet said much about limits but it sounds like it'll be pretty obvious I can't do much at all (and they'll give more details after).  I need to reframe things a bit.  I'm used to working through pain.  As a chronic pain fighter, I'd never workout if I waited till I was pain free.  I've also fought through it because the workout was not going to be hurtful...neither the endo nor the back injury itself were made worse by activity.  That won't be the case after surgery....balancing the right amount of rest and movement will be crucial to proper and speedy healing.  I'll also have a brace to wear when I'm out of bed for more than a quick bathroom jaunt.  Maybe keeping that sweat-free will be another aid in taking it slow.

I am contemplating a blog revamp post-surgery but haven't really decided yet.  I follow a lot of blogs and find the best and most-visited have some regular flow to them.  I'm pondering a thrice weekly schedule with Monday Musings (assorted ponderings, bullet point fun, pain/ED/body image stuff, and my take on random issues), Wednesday Weekly Reader (I loved the Weekly Reader...this will have reviews when ready, updates or just general book-related rambles other times), and Friday Finds (stuff I'm digging whether fancy or dollar-store style).  Does that sound cheesy or interesting?  I can always try it and revert back if it fails....I was into the idea at first but I'm feeling more in doubt now.


Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun said...

I always get most nervous about things like you too! I've never had huge surgeries but when, for example, having to deliver kids people always said the labor would be the hardest. For me seeing a needle/IV in my arm bothered me more than any contraction and I hated the recovery process.

You certainly sound ready and strong for it though! I hope things recover smoothly for you and the job situation all works out as well. :)

Lee said...

Good luck with the surgery.