By Kerry Smith.
There is much that I have thought and written about in my journey. Every bit of it seems exhausting. I am tired. Today, I am saddened and I am watching all of it change in front of my eyes. It is almost as if I am not even in my body. Three weeks ago I had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. It turned out well. The next day the pain started. It has increased each day.
One week ago this past Thursday I visited my neurosurgeon because the pain just kept going on and on like the energizer bunny. He ordered X-rays to start with and I walked to his office. He came in, visited with Karen and came straight to me. He is a rather conservative doctor often stopping me from having surgeries I didn’t need. He did a couple of tests and then looked me in the eyes and said I am calling in a specialist. It looks as if your Scoliosis has progressed to the point where we will need to fuse you up into your rib cage. We will first need to get an MRI. He
then asked, what is going on with your neck. I told him that when I lay down on my left side, I wake up with extreme pain and numbness in my left arm. He then added that I want to see it as well so lets do an MRI on your neck as well. Karen cried and I sure wanted to. About a year ago he told me that he would need to do a fusion on my neck if it continued create issues. Both my lumbar and cervical spine are fused. Four levels in my lumbar spine, three in my cervical spine and whatever in the heck my neurosurgeon next proposes will not make one promise of pain relief.
There are two things to note here: Fusions more times than not do not stop with the last level that has been fused. This is called Adjacent segment disease when the segments either above or below the fused segment goes bad. The second thing is that lumbar fusions can cause scoliosis to progress as well. Oh, a third thing: Colonoscopies can cause herniated discs. I was shocked to read that this was actually a thing. I didn’t know it was a thing. It is. I was picked up and turned three times and I am not sure if the attendants in turning me caused what I found out this past Thursday and that is I have two discs herniated at my lumbar level directly above my lumbar fusion contributing to the crook in my spine and two herniated discs above the fusion in my cervical spine.
Tonight, there is not enough pain medicine anywhere to alleviate the pain I am in and I have no idea what I am going to do. I just don’t. If I am completely fused in my cervical area there will be no turning to the left and the right in my neck and only a little bit looking up or down. Then in my lumbar region, fusing me up into my rib cage will stop me from bending in many ways. Between the two fusions I will have some thoracic discs left and I am wondering why not go ahead and do a full length fusion, right?
I have no idea why or what I am writing right now. I am simply, as the author Fredrick Buechner writes, attempting to, “Simply sit down and open up a vein.” I am opening up a vein alright. This week I see my pain doctor who will propose doing nerve blocks and I will visit my neurosurgeon who will suggest a fusion of some sorts. It now has all come to a stop or a comma, a semicolon, or a period. Maybe one or the other or a combination of all. Tonight, I am tired.