Thursday, June 13, 2013

I can drive again!

I had my 6 week post-op appointment with Dr. Roh today, and it was all good news! I am now officially allowed to drive, swim, do low-impact cardio, wear heels, and sleep on my stomach. (Those things might not sound like a big deal, but they are!) 

It was funny because when Dr. Roh saw that my tattoo was just slightly crooked he got all mad at himself and was like "Aww, come on! Your crown! I thought we had it!" And he called his assistant in and he was like "Matt, look at this, it's off by like a millimeter! Man..." Apparently they have a lot of fun piecing together people's tattoos so when they end up crooked they are very disappointed with themselves. Haha. But he said as soon as my incision fades to back to my skin tone that means it is fully healed and I can get my tattoo touched up. So, no big deal. 

Still don't know when I'll be back to work yet. My next appointment isn't until August 8th, so I'm assuming that's when I'll get the go-ahead to go back to work. 

Anyway, without further ado, I got my new xrays! As you can see, I am part robot. I found out I am also apparently part zombie, because they used cadaver bone for my fusion. Gross.

My kyphosis is down to 65°. Not back to normal range, but he said my spine was really stiff during surgery so that's the best they could do. Oh well, it's better than 87°, and at least I know that it can't get any worse now. And my scoliosis is pretty much non-existant, yay! My official height is 5'6.5", so I gained an inch. And the weight keeps falling off... I'm down to 128 lbs. Before surgery I was close to 140.

All in all I am feeling pretty good. I am glad I am allowed to do more things now, and Dr. Roh said in a couple months the muscle soreness will go away and I'll be feeling a lot more back to normal. I got a prescription for physical therapy, so I will be starting that as soon as I call and set it up. That'll give me something to do. Should help get me moving again and strengthen my back and core muscles.

Things are looking up. Just gotta find ways to kill my boredom now!

Bent but not broken,

Friday, June 7, 2013


Its been a couple weeks since I've posted. I am 5 weeks post op now. Time is a blur. Day after day of doing nothing. My life seems to have no purpose right now. Most of my day is spent wishing it were bedtime so I could just get into bed and sleep away the boredom. I hate recovery.

Most of this talk is probably spurred by my withdrawal symptoms. I finished my Percocet a couple days ago and had to switch to the Norco. Turns out emotionally I am having some pretty killer withdrawal. Physically I am okay. I may have a little nausea here and there, but mostly what I'm battling is anxiety attacks and depression. I am naturally an emotional person, so having all this extra on top of my regular rollercoaster of emotions is a bit much. It's not a good feeling to not be in control of what's going on inside your head. I know I have no reason to be sad or upset right now. I am comfortable at home with my dog and my fiance and I am recovering from a serious surgery. There is no shame in that. And yet I kind of feel like Rapunzel. I'm trapped in my little tower and I'm being prevented from seeing and doing so much. It may sound sad but I don't remember what it's like to feel occupied and happy. Even though I try to visit family and have friends over and stuff... Ugh.

I don't know what I'm saying. Jon is out getting me a movie so I can have something to occupy my time. I'm just so bored, I feel like my brain is melting out my ears. I hate this. I have no more joy or spirit. This surgery has officially sucked everything out of me.

Bent (and feeling kinda broken),

Thursday, May 23, 2013

3 weeks post-op

I realized I shared before and after photos from a back view, but I never did a side view! So here that is. I am really happy with the way everything turned out. :)

I am 3 weeks post op now, which means 3 more weeks until my first appointment with Dr. Roh since my surgery. I hope that when I go he is able to show me my post op x-rays so I can share those! I'm sure they look bad-ass. I am part robot.

I'm having better days now. Some days are better than others. I am weaning off my painkillers so it's nice to feel semi-normal again. I still have pain but it's not as severe, and I am becoming more self-sufficient. I actually went to the store with Jon today to pick up Tangled because I feel an intense need to watch that movie. Haha. And Nair because well... 3 weeks of not being able to shave my legs has led to interesting results. At least I have a sense of humor about it now, right?

Anyway, pizza's out of the oven and ready to be consumed. 

More later. :)

Bent but not broken,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cabin fever!!

photo from Tumblr

I. AM SO. FREAKING. RESTLESS. I don't know what to do with myself lately. I don't feel well enough to actually DO things like crafts or coloring or even reading magazines or watching movies. All I do is lay around and then get on the computer for awhile. Then lay around for some more and get on the computer again. It's so frustrating. Deep down inside me I know better days are coming soon. I can feel it. I can feel it when I pass the time to take my painkillers by like an hour at a time without noticing. I can feel it when I am taking a shower, that I know I would not have been able to do these things last week or the week before. Recovery is so slow you hardly even notice it. I have lost most of my steri-strips now. All that's left are the ones on the far bottom of my spine where my drainage tube was inserted. My scabs are starting to come off. Everything is really looking how it should. So how do I know if I am feeling how I should? It's frustrating. I want to feel better. I want to do things. I want to have energy and life again. 

Someday soon these things will come. Right?

Right. That's what I'll keep telling myself.

Bent but not broken,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I've seen better days

I am just over two weeks post-op now, and this whole experience is so mentally and physically exhausting. Some days are really pretty good, but most days I feel like I need to put on a brave face and tell everybody that I am okay even though I'm not, so that nobody worries about me. I don't like making people all scared and concerned when they don't really need to be. It's just so hard to put up that front all the time and I keep having mini meltdowns. Today was definitely one of those days.

Being on so many prescriptions is not fun. I'm on narcotics, muscle relaxers, nausea medications, laxatives, supplements, you name it I've got it. It all makes me feel terrible. I know they're necessary, but they're terrible. It's like I'm damned if I do, I'm damned if I don't. If I take my painkillers I feel like I'm going to float away and throw up at the same time. If I don't take my painkillers, I feel like my body is tearing itself apart. Trying to find a happy medium seems almost impossible. I am trying to wean myself off of some painkillers to try and regain some semblance of normalcy. I don't like not feeling like myself. Today that caused me to have an anxiety attack. So I cried, took a shower, ate some soup, took some painkillers, passed out for four hours, and felt better when I woke up. I'll probably be repeating that cycle soon.

Most of my steri-strips have fallen off of my back. I think it's a combination of me finally showering, and me rolling around in bed that is loosening them up. Now that they are mostly gone I can see my tattoo is quite a a bit crooked now. Boo. I am disappointed about that. I am hoping my tattoo artist will be able to fix it a little or make it look somewhat more normal somehow. I don't know if that's possible.

I'm gonna go nap or something now I guess. I took my meds and I'm feeling weird now again. So goes my life.

Bent but not broken,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

10 days post-op

I can't sleep for the life of me right now, so I guess it's probably a good time to write a blog entry!

As of yesterday (Friday) I was 10 days post-op. Every day leading up to this so far has been filled with meltdowns, tears, restlessness, lots of pain, and fudging around with medications to figure out a combination that would work for me. I was started on Norco, which wasn't doing much by itself other than making me sick. I have been wearing anti-nausea patches since the night before my surgery, and in they hospital they started me on anti-nausea pills as well. Once I determined the Norco wasn't working for me, I called my surgeon asking for a new prescription and he put me on Percocet. That alone still was not enough so I called again and had to add Valium as a muscle relaxer to the mix, which I think is finally the magic combination. I just started the Valium yesterday on top of my pain and nausea meds, and I was able to do SO much more than I had been in previous days! Yesterday I think I spent more time up and about than I did laying in bed. I am now able to do most things without the help of my walker. I can get in and out of bed as I please, walk around, get myself snacks (that are within reach, anyway) sit at the computer, and I even cleaned the kitchen a little bit! Everyone is saying that moving around is the key to recovery, so I've just resigned myself to the fact that I need to do more of it. I will try to do the same tomorrow. I might even take my first shower tomorrow! We'll see. If not tomorrow, then Sunday. My incision isn't looking as gnarly as I thought, and the only actual part of the incision that causes me pain is at the very bottom where they had plugged in my drainage tubes. Not a pretty sight. I also have to take laxatives daily because the narcotics slow down your digestive tract. And on top of that I am also taking Prilosec for heartburn, and Calcium pills to help my fusion heal more quickly. I am so sick of swallowing pills by now! 

I have to say though I am really pleased with what I can see of my correction so far. My scoliosis seems to be completely gone (since it was pretty minor to begin with) and my kyphosis has been reduced considerably. I still have a bit of a hump at the top of my back where it meets my neck, but I am hoping that is a postural thing that I will be able to work on with exercise and physical therapy in the future. I don't have an appointment with Dr. Roh until 6 weeks post-op, so it'll be awhile before I can see my xrays. But for now, look at the awesome before and after that I do have right now! 

Before & After

Look at the difference! I finally have a normal waistline, everything is more even, and I don't have such a large hump anymore! I am so excited. I can't wait until the swelling goes down and the steri-strips come off so I can really see what I am working with now. I even had Jon measure me. I started out at 5'5.5", and when he measured me yesterday we got around 5'7.5". I think I grew two inches! I'll know for sure at my 6 week visit when they measure me and everything.

Even just looking at that picture I would say that all the shit I've gone through in the past couple weeks has been totally worth it. I know it's not over yet, but I am starting to really think I made the right decision. :)

I'll keep updating as things progress.

Bent but not broken,

Monday, May 6, 2013

Nighttime, nurses, and needles

Surgery and hospital are over! My surgery went will with no complications, yay! I felt great the night of my surgery once I got into my room. I was soooo high on anesthesia and everything, I was like "Hey, this isn't so bad!" And then the next day was a brutal awakening. The nurses woke me up at like 8 a.m. for x-rays, which meant I had to get out of bed and get wheeled down to the xray department and then stand to have xrays taken. So not fun. The rest of Thursday and Friday were pretty bad too. Totally got no sleep because nurses kept coming into my room like every hour overnight to check my blood pressure, heart rate, circulation and movement in my feet and hands, give me pills, flip me over, fix my IV, blah blah blah blah blah. I got unhooked from my catheter, drains, and IV yesterday, and after I got on a good pill schedule, they let me go home.

All in all this experience so far has been really crazy. I never thought I would be in this much pain. I guess I thought modern medicine would make me feel great and I wouldn't have moments where I want to cry because it hurts so bad. But really there are moments where I want to cry because it hurts so bad...

I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not seeing it yet. 
I still haven't seen my new x-rays either!

I feel like I'm just typing nonsense now because my meds are kicking in and they make me drowsy, so I guess I should stop. I'm sure I'll be updating frequently now that I'm home all day for a long time. So yeah. 'Til next time..

Bent but not broken,