My journey to this point has been a long 23 yr long road. When I was probably 12 or 13 I had a roller skating injury. A pepple got stuck in my roller skates. And bam, down I went right on my tailbone in my parents driveway. I remember my dad and Uncle Jim putting me on one of our bedroom doors and drove me to the hospital with my mom in our station wagon. I believe they told my parents that I just really bruised my tailbone.
But who knows, that and a few cartwheels and roundoffs from our diving board that I hit my back on the diving board (accidents) may have started my life of back pain or I already had a problem from birth. My father and my youngest sister both had a low back fusion from spondolythesis. Either way the real trouble came in 1994!
In 1994 Mike & I was working at the Palmetto High School Band Booster Concession stand while all of our daughters played instruments in the Marching Band. I picked up a 5 or 10 gallon bucket of pickles and swung it from one side to the other and I felt and heard a pop!
After the Football game I went to the ER. They told me that I had ruptured a disk. They made an appt with a neurosurgeon. I went to see this Dr and he told me I needed a diskectomy. I flatly refused to have back surgery. So he said, kind of arrogantly "You will call me when you have had enough". So he prescribed a few things that may help me "feel better". So I had sound waves treatment, exercising (I hate exercise, always have probably always will), massage therapist came to my home several times in a month. When I was in my pool was the only time I didn't hurt. The worst thing was I couldn't put on my own socks and shoes. I was only 24 yrs old.
After 3 months I called that neurosurgeon and told him I was ready to have the surgery. That helped me for about 5 yrs. then I realized I was taking more and more advil and tylenol, like a bottle a week. So I sought out other treatments...shots, massage therapy, chiropractor, water aerobics, etc and then the doctor switched me to Ultram which worked for many years (prob abother 5 yrs).
But in 2000, while I lived in Louisiana, I started to have pain all over and in 2005 I found out I had Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia I started long term very strong anti-biotics for almost 2 yrs. I injected B vitamins and was also taking many other vitamins. When they tested me after 18 months and I still had Lyme I stopped all the anti-biotics. I didn't know about the Barometric Oxygen Chamber treatment back then, which probably would have beat this disease.
So my back pain and pain all over my body got worse every year. In 2005 I finally decided to start taking actual pain meds (narcotics) instead of surgery because I was told that I had "failed back surgery". There were 3 different doctors that administered combinations of drugs. The first 2 were horrible and gave me meds that shouldn't have been given together. I had wild and horrible side effects but I was at least able to get up out of bed and do a lot of something everyday. Sometimes I pushed my body too hard by constantly picking up heavy boxes or moving furniture around by myself. Plus ALL the moving we did !! So many moves in and out of homes due to Mike's jobs. I packed and unpacked 12 moves in 30 years.
I saw so many different doctors and they all had different explanations for my pain while others basically made me feel like I was a Hypochondriac.
But the reality of sharp pains in my back and legs plagued me everyday and when the narcotics didn't make the pain go away anymore, it was time to have to go to an Orthopedic surgeon. So I asked some friends in my church and was given Dr Randolph Nelson's name in Raleigh. Raleigh seemed far away but Mike and I both made an appt with him for back to back appts.
When Dr Nelson walked in he chuckled and said are you in competition with each other for the worst back? And then he said who has the worst back? Mike said he has the worst back. Dr Nelson looked at Mike and said "you would be wrong then." I chuckled but then got nervous. The doctor looked at me and said you need a fusion. I was so shocked by that, I just said are you sure? I didn't ask him anything else. He explained why and basically said "your back is a mess". We talked about what Mike needed and I told him I will pray and think on what he said. His reply was, don't wait too long, this will only get worse for you. We left.
Mike needed a knee replacement and a low back surgery. I decided lets get Mike through his surgeries so he "can" take care of me. I went to my medical records and I saw the words on a report from 3 years earlier (sometime right after my sisters surgery) and it said the word he used "spondylolisthesis". I looked on other records and it said the same thing. Crap!!! I called Donna to ask about my Dad's back surgery. Now I knew I was going to have to need this surgery. I was instantly filled with fear about who was going to help me. But i knew I had 2 daughters and my sister and mom to help Mike. I knew he couldn't do it. No way, he was the least compassionate, least able to deal with this in the long term.
I started to pray and I started to ask my family yo be here for me. One by one, no one could come. Except Suzi was going to come uo for the 1st two weeks! Phew. Thank God. Then she told me she couldn't come either. My heart dropped like a bomb. In the meantime Mike and I were having heated discussions because he woukd get mad at me that I didn't trust him to do this. He was right. I wanted anyone else but him. We kept doing devotionals everyday and when he prayed he would say Lord help me be a great care-giver for my wife, please do not let her cancel this surgery. I could hear the hurt in his voice and face (when I snuck a peek).
I prayed and I started to get everything done that I could on my long pre-surgery list of to do's. After a week of saying I was going to cancel or hoping someone could come here there was a huge storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean called Irma.
The whole week before my surgery I was on the phone or the weather channel on TV and on internet. I was begging family and friends to please get out. I begged friends of ours to evacuate! I did very little on my list and I wasn't thinking much about my surgery. I wanted to start this blog a couple of weeks out but I forgot until the night before.
Suzi and David did come (I was so relieved) but they got here Saturday evening and left early Tuesday morning but I was so glad I could spend a couple of days with her. She assured me that Mike wanted to prove he would do this taking care of me and do it well. She believed I was going to be ok. I still wasn't sure but I was still praying.
3 nights before my surgery Mike and I fought and I felt immediately, see this won't work. But I was crying and praying and I heard a still voice that said "Give me your burdens and heavy heart and rely on me". Was that Jesus' words? Then I remembered the scripture that says. Come to me all who are weary and heavy-ladened, and I will give you rest". I NEED TO LEAN ON GOD, who will NEVER fail me.
I talked with my sister Kathy somewhere in that last week and I asked her about Mike taking care of me. Her advise was priceless. Believe he can and he will. And love him, thank him. Keep expectations very low. He won't do things the same way as you, but thats ok. Show him respect and he will give it and so on. Best advice. Oh I am not saying we had it all together that first 2 weeks, no there were alot of bumps but he was also caring for both dogs that got sick upon my returning home. And 1 week from my return he and I got up every 2 hours 24/7 which made us both grumpy. But once I realized that I am not in charge and that he needed his sleep. Without it he was miserable. This last week or more have been the best. I am hoping and praying that We can keep our relationship like this (not care-giver/patient) but respectful, loving, being each others cheerleader! God is smiling right now.