This has been a horrible week for me, mostly emotionally. Last Wednesday, I met with the surgeon and had come to the conclusion that the best option for surgery would be to remove the whole disc and fuse the vertebrae. We scheduled it for the following Thursday, to give me a week to get things situated. I felt okay with it at the time, then immediately the anxiety and panic set in. I wasn't necessarily worried about the surgery itself, but how it would impact the rest of my life. I wondered how it would effect massage, if I'd be able to lift and hold babies, even if I'd be able to hike with the weight of a pack. I just felt very unsettled and terrified. I literally was a nervous wreck. I bawled and bawled for 4 days straight, with such fear and dread for my future. But knew that if I didn't go through with the surgery, I could very possibly lose all nerve function in my right leg. And that would have affected my future even more than the surgery. I just felt stuck.
Monday, I get a phone call from the Surgeon's assistant saying that my insurance company denied the pre-authorization, stating that my eligibility date for that surgery wouldn't be until Sept. 1. Not knowing if I'd even be able to walk by the first of September, I hit an even bigger panic. At this point I honestly felt that everything was in it's power was working against me, trying to slowly maim me. September would have been too late. I knew it. After calling and unsuccessfully bawling out the insurance company (in a state of panicked rage), I had remembered another option that he had mentioned that would fix the problem in the leg, but not the whole problem. At the time of negotiation, it didn't seem like a feasible option for many different reasons, so it was pushed aside. Now it felt right. Made a few more phone calls, and by Tuesday, that other surgery had been authorized, and we were still on for Thursday.
The anxiety and panic had left me. I felt so much calmer.
Now, looking back, I can see how that denial was a huge blessing. Even though I'll still be living with back pain, I'll have the pressure taken off the nerve. Somewhere down the road, I may need to go back in and have the vertebrae fused, but for now, I honestly feel that this may be all that I needed. With "downgrading" the surgery, it changed me from an inpatient to an outpatient surgery. It also cut my down time in half, so hopefully I'll be back to work in the month. And most importantly, Dr. Moulder pointed out that fusing the vertebrae would just open the door for my already slipping L5-S1 disc to completely herniate. Which would put me right back into the situation I was in, which would put me into requiring another major surgery. So for now, I can live with the ache in my back. I've been living with it for years. I'll live with it for more. But the nerve compression is now gone, and that was causing the bigger problems.
Now that I look back, I thought the world was against me. No, the world was trying to save me. And the panic and fear was my first clue. I didn't need the fully invasive surgery. For now, this is all that I needed.
And, today is the first day that I've actually been awake for a good portion of the day. I'm still coming off the effects of the morphine and demerol, and have plenty of lortab and phenegran in my system, and I feel like I'm rambling, so I apologize if I've repeated myself multiple times, and don't make sense anywhere else. I feel like my brain is on a 10 second delay. It's quite amusing, actually. I'm just happy that I'm able to focus on my laptop, and most importantly, that I'm posting from the comfort of my home and not a hospital room. Yes, I am blessed.