Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Day at a Time

Well, Brandon's gone until late Saturday night and so, I really am taking it one day at a time. It's so hard without him. If I think about it, my only thought is "how am I going to make it!?" So, I try not to.

I had my appointment with the anesthesiologist on Monday. It went well. He attempted to put my mind at ease- it's just very hard considering what I went through with my last surgery (I had post-op aspiration pneumonia.). They are going to take a few extra precautions this time and hopefully, there will be no complications. I go in for my "casting" tomorrow and I still have not gotten an answer about the blood. I'm pretty annoyed about that. Anyway, I'm busy preparing our home and family for what is sure to be a long, hard time. I'm so thankful to my friends and church family. They've really taken the lead with all this and have started a volunteer calendar for feeding us, helping with childcare, cleaning, etc. They rock!

Brandon got me a mack-daddy laptop as a kinda surgery gift. It is uber-cool! I have a huge 17" HD screen, backlit keyboard, Blu-Ray player, DVD burner among other things. It also has PhotoShop. I have been wanting to get into PhotoShop for quite some time and plan on becoming a pro (it's not as easy as it looks!) while I'm laid up. Here's my first piece of art. Back home in good ol' Lake Charles, LA there is a large area South of town that was once owned by my grandfather and his brothers. I grew up in the middle of this area. One of the streets (very near my old house) is a road named "Gossett Rd." named for our family (Gossett being my maiden name). Well, my brother, Scott, went by last week when he was in the area and here is what he found:

For whatever reason, the wonderful city of Lake Charles replaced the street sign with a misspelled version! In Scott's words, this is an absolute "travesty"! Most people probably don't care, but to us, this is our family name and it has two "T"s! So, here's what I did to cheer Scott up:

So, if you live in the area, write your police juror, congressman, governor, whomever. This has got to be set straight! Meanwhile, I'll be practicing my PhotoShopping. Just wait 'til you see me with perfect skin and 70 pounds lighter :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm Way TOO Emotional!

I'm not an emotional person, normally. I don't cry at just anything and I'm pretty good at handling my emotions. Until now... this whole "back" thing has really messed me up. I'm fighting back tears all the time. I really think I need to just sit down (with Brandon) and have a good cry. I need to grieve for this whole process. It's incredibly sad to finally give in, but I know it's the right thing. I'm getting worse daily (I didn't think this was possible.). How I wish things didn't have to be this way! For now, I wait to see when the flood will come. It will probably be when some of my dear friends from church come over Tuesday morning to meet with me about ministering to us. We have a WONDERFUL church family! They will be helping us through all of this and are wanting me to give them a wish list of sorts, of what we need done. I don't like asking for help and this is going to be difficult for me, no matter how much we'll need it. I love these people though. They really are our family away from "home". Hopefully the flood won't come while Brandon's out of town this week, although this is pretty likely too. Oh yeah, that's another thing. Brandon is going to be gone from Wednesday morning to late Saturday night! GREAT timing!

The kids start school tomorrow and I have my pre-admit appointment at the hospital and my appointment with the anesthesiologist. I'll let everyone know how it goes. Oh, and I'm going to beg the nurse to not make me donate blood again! Wish me luck :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Well, I successfully donated my first unit of blood yesterday. My blood pressure was 101/65 so, much better but still kinda low. It was a horrible ordeal. I got really sick and blacked out. They had to lean me back in the chair, put ice on the front and back of my neck, put a fan on me, and give me something to vomit in. I have never felt like that in my whole life and had no idea I would react that way. I do not want to do that again! I'm going to call my doctor on Monday and see if there is any way one unit can suffice. If not, I'll just have to suck it up next Friday.

The kids go back to school Monday! This has been one of the longest summers ever! Probably because I've been laid up for most of it. Their orientation went well and they both seem to have really great teachers. We're all excited.

I have my pre-op appointment at the hospital, with the anesthesioligist, on Monday, my casting for my brace on Thursday, and lots of other odds and ends to get done this week. I'll catch everyone up when I can. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Time To Try Again

My white blood cell count is back to normal and my blood pressure has been better the past few days so, tomorrow morning I am going to try to donate again. Hopefully...

Monday, August 18, 2008

So Much Going Wrong!

This weekend was absolutely insane! Saturday the boys (Brandon, Scott, and Cole) moved Scott to Waco. Mom, the kids, and I went to get my first blood donation out of the way. Well, when they did the pre-assessment, I had a low grade temp and my blood pressure was 88/56- borderline dead! The nurse even had a supervisor come re-check it and talk to me. Needless to say, I was not able to donate. I feel fine, other than the extreme pain in my back, so I have no idea why my bp would be so low. I go to the doctor on Tuesday to repeat my labs and hopefully my bp will be normal. They told me to stay in bed because they're worried that I will black out, but I really do feel ok. If I'm not able to give my first donation by this Saturday, I won't make the surgery date so, we're really hoping it works!

Well, that was just the beginning. Mom and Cole went to church with us on Sunday morning. We had lunch after and then they headed out, back to Sulphur. About an hour later, I got the call. The call that everyone dreads- "there's been an accident". It's hard to even type this without bursting into tears! They were on Hwy 90 in a real rural area and Mom blacked out (the reason is still unknown). They veered off the road and hit a guardrail and flew about 50 yards into a field. They hit that guardrail with the cruise control set at 70 mph and Mom still unconscious! We headed towards them (as did Scott, who was in Lake Charles. No one could get ahold of my stepdad until much later!) We were told they were being taken by ambulance to the hospital in Liberty (yes, Liberty, TX has a hospital. The smallest hospital EVER). We beat them there. It was so sad to see them each come through those doors on backboards and stretchers. After a long afternoon, they are both going to be okay. Cole has a sprained knee and some cuts. Mom has some pretty bad contusions, cuts, and burns (from the airbag) and a concussion, but overall, they're alright. The bigger concern now, is why Mom passed out. I guess we'll find that out eventually. For now, the whole thing is nothing short of miraculous. God was with them in that car. Everyone: police, witnesses, EMTs, cannot believe they essentially walked away. Somehow, Mom hit the guardrail in the dead center of the car and the engine came up through the center of the console. If she had hit it to either side, one of them would be gone. I am so thankful for God's hand in all of this. I really don't know how I could cope with losing one of them. It's unbearable to think of.

Well, hopefully things calm down this week. I'll keep you posted :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Add One More

I got a call from my PCP, and my blood work from Tuesday is back (I wasn't even thinking that I would hear anything. They'd be normal, and passed on to my surgeon.). Well, my white blood cells are elevated so, I have to go in again this Tuesday and have the labs repeated. So, add that to my list from yesterday. Is it possible for me to have to have any more blood drawn?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

September 9

...that's the day. I have so much to do before then, something made even more difficult by the fact that I'm in a ton of pain. So, in now just shy of four weeks, I have to accomplish the following, plus some:

  • get Aubrey's flowergirl dress altered
  • get the kids school supplies
  • back to school orientation
  • get the kids in school :)
  • come up with some sort of "schedule" for post op care of me, the kids, and our home
  • donate blood twice (for myself! this disgusts me!)
  • pre-admit at the hospital
  • get fitted for my back brace
  • have an appointment with the anesthesiologist
  • join a gym for my post op rehab
  • cancel anything I had scheduled for the next 6 months (like my class reunion, our family church retreat, Christmas! this makes me sad!)
  • insert anything I'm forgetting here :)
In the past few days I've already had a physical exam, lots of lab work, an EKG, and a chest x-ray. This is just the beginning...

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Verdict

Went to the doctor this morning. My MRI shows the same problems: a bulging, herniated disc at L5-S1 and bilateral foraminal stenosis at that level. The disc is now bulging more severely into the neural space on the left (this is what is causing the severe nerve pain on my left side). My disc is nearly bone on bone and for some reason won't just rupture. It's been bulging for at least 15 months. Dr. W. basically said that, after reviewing the latest MRI, it's his opinion that I'm not going to get better on my own and since it's a mechanical problem causing a nerve problem, the steroid epidural injections would be of no help to me. So now, it's just a quality of life issue- it comes down to how long I can put up with the pain. I can't anymore. So, I began the pre-op process today (it's very involved since it's such a complicated surgery and takes about a month to complete everything). I will know a surgery date on Monday morning, but it looks like it will be the beginning of September. I'm really nervous, but I know it is the best thing. I really can't go on like this. I don't think most people could have lasted this long so, I'm okay with saying "UNCLE!" It's going to be a long road though. Dr. W. will take a bone graft from my pelvis and fuse my lumbar at the L5-S1 level and then decompress the neural space on the side of the vertebrae. He will then insert screws and rods on the sides to stabilize the fusion. I will be in the hospital for four days and then be able to very slowly return to activity. A complete fusion of the bone will vary in time and is dependent on many factors, including genetics, health, how well I follow instructions :) , etc. It normally takes between 6 months to a year. I will be in a custom made back brace until that happens and unable to bend or twist. I will be able to walk, stand, and lay, but cannot sit for longer than 20 minutes three times a day. I will only be able to ride in the car on very short trips starting week two (such as church and the grocery store) until month two when I can go a max of twenty miles until fusion!

Well, that's the low down. I'll post when we have a date. Please pray for us. It's going to be a difficult time, but I am so eager to feel better!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm Here

It's been awhile! Things have been really busy. So, here's a quick update...

We had Blaine's birthday party Saturday. It was great- Brandon's parents, his sister, Jennifer, her hubby, Donovan, and their sweet toddler came in, as well as my mom and Cole. I love having family visit!

My brother, Scott, arrived back in the States Tuesday afternoon (in the middle of a tropical storm!) after a year in France. It was so great to see him and it's still great to have him here! My mom and Cole came back to visit as well as Scott's girlfriend. So, we've pretty much had a full house since last Friday. I absolutely LOVE it!

Brandon and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary yesterday! I love that man!!!

Some one looked at our house Tuesday night (once again, in the middle of a tropical storm!) for the first time since May! They are really interested, but haven't made up their minds yet. I'm hoping this works out. It's crunch time!

My back is awful. I had a terrible weekend, in that respect. I am back on the 'roids now and go to see Dr. W tomorrow at 7am!!! I'll be leaving here before sun up! I'm really anxious about getting my MRI results. I'll post and let everyone know what the verdict is as soon as I can.

Hope everyone else is well. I'll post tomorrow :)