Let’s see. The biggest thing that’s happened since my last post is Mr L. finally, finally, after two and a half years of being hunched over and in severe pain from a back surgery that was a massive failure underwent a complete and total spine reconstruction a little over a week ago up in Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. Mr L. had been through 6 back surgeries in the past with the last being in 2009. That surgeon as we were told by the surgeons at Duke, did a “hack job” on his spine. My dear other half has spent almost the last 3 years in more pain than any one human being should have to endure despite being on so many pain medications, enough we were told to “put down small horse”. He also has spent the last almost three years unable to stand up straight. He looked like the hunch back of Notre Dame. It’s been a terrible three years in that sense for him and for me. Our lives pretty much stopped. He was unable to do much, walk much or go anywhere. We saw countless doctors and surgeons here in South Carolina until, finally, one of them came clean with us down at MUSC and told him that what he needed was his spine completely reconstructed and there was not one doctor in South Carolina qualified to do a proceedure like that.
So I jumped on the internet (Google is your friend) and started researching. I found a very experienced, professor of orthopedics at Duke and up Mr L went for an appointment. We were told by the staff that this doctor works helping people from all over the world and if he felt he couldn’t help Mr L. he wouldn’t have even got an appointment. Within 10 minutes of the appointment everything that had to be done was mapped out, surgery was scheduled for November 20th which just happens to also be my Daddy’s birthday ( may he rest in peace through the mercy of God) and Mr L was sent home to get himself ready. Preparing for surgery meant that Mr L had to come down off some of the pain medications he was on. This was no small task. The incredible pain he had been in is something you probably wouldn’t believe unless you saw it first hand and the thought of dropping the pain meds that at this point were only ‘touching’ the pain slightly was a horrifying thought but it had to be done.
I can not tell you how proud I am of Mr L. He cut his major pain medications by more than half as requested by the surgeon at Duke, He went through the withdraw without complaint, the pain escalated even higher which I thought at that point would be impossible, and through it all Mr L hung on. A lot of people may have ended their own lives long ago with the constant unrelenting pain he had but Mr L said he hung on for two reasons. The Lord and myself and I thank the good Lord for always keeping Mr L close to Him because God knows I am not ready to be without Mr L yet.
I can’t tell you how much stress we’d been under since learning what had to be done to him and when and where it would be done for a few reasons. Firstly, If you have a weak stomach you may want to skip this part. They had to open Mr L’s back from his tail bone to just underneath his shoulder blades. Next any metal that he already had in his back from prior fusions which was at this point no longer attached to his spine but just flopping around in there was removed. Then they had to cut out a wedge of his spine and break it in one spot as the spine had grown into a bow shape which was why he couldn’t stand up straight. Once that was done, they straightened the spine, ran screws and small bars up the entire spine on each side and then implanted two huge stabilizing rods on either side that also run the length of the spine. Seven and a half hours later and Mr L’s spine was straight for the first time in three years. While they were in there by the graces of God they also found one of the root causes of most of his pain that never showed on any films or scans. There is a sac at the end of everyone’s spine. That sac houses all our nerve endings that come down our spine. It was found that the surgeon who hacked Mr L’s back in 2009 not only tore that open but it was almost shredded and those nerves were constantly exposed and once again due to the grace of our Lord, the surgeon at Duke was able to repair it. Praise God!
Mr L spent almost 4 days in ICU with all kinds of pain meds, pain pumps, IV lines all over his body, in his neck, hands, arms, even his feet. Surgery was on a Monday and they had him sitting in a chair for a few moments by Wednesday. They released him to come home on Sunday of that same week. Unfortunately, while there they also gave him a parting gift of a C-Diff infection which is common to pick up in a hospital but it can also be dangerous if not down right deadly for some. Thankfully one more time to God, Mr L’s infection was extremely mild and almost negative on the test but still present. In light of that he’s been on antibiotics since which is fine with me because it’s also highly contagious and with my own poor health if I were to contract something like that, for me, it could be extremely dangerous.
I am happy to say that Mr L is now an upright person again. He stands straight and tall, he walks upright again with the help of walker yet. He actually looks different to me now. He has a long road ahead of him as far as recovery. Physical therapy is coming in three days a week to start , then they will wind down to two days then one and after that he will go to a local place for the rest. I can not tell you how good this is for myself to see him doing so well.. As I said before, it’s been a really rough three years for both of us.. I will also tell you that I give all the credit and glory to God for not only getting us both through the last three years, but also the surgery itself which went perfectly. I know that all the prayers from friends and those unknown were heard and answered. Lou and I many months ago both gave our lives over to the Lord and we depend on Him for our every need. We know that He is in control and we would not have it any other way.. For with the Lord anything is possible.. We only ask for the grace to be able to accept and do His most Holy Will in all things..
It seems this post has gotten longer than I thought so I will stop for now and post more tomorrow.. Mr L spent Thanksgiving in the hospital but that was just fine with us.. How was your Thanksgiving? What did you do? Were you able to spend time with loved ones?
Before I close I really need to thank everyone who has prayed for us and continue to do so. Thank you to our friends whom without we wouldn’t have been able to get to Duke all the times we needed to and back home again… Good friends in this lifetime are sadly, so very rare but when you do indeed find them they are more precious than gold..
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13