Welcome to John's CaringBridge website. John and I (his wife) have decided we wanted to use this site to keep family, friends, co-workers, and his Lumberjack athletes updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Many of you know John has been suffering with back and neck deterioration for a few years. This has progressed to the point he can no longer wait to take the next steps.
John has met with Dr. Wahlquist a back and neck Dr. at Summit Ortho over the past month making plans, doing tests, exams, MRI's and more. On Nov. 5th it was decided surgery could not wait any longer. On Nov. 9th Brenda was asked to come to the office to meet with Dr. Wahlquist at the Dr’s request. To help put the final plan together and go over the details. Nov. 23rd today John received the approval and surgery date of Dec. 2nd.
John needs to have multiple vertebrae around c5, c6, and c7 fused along with a few other procedures including decompression of spinal cord and nerve roots. An Allograph will be used in his spine. He will have as much arthritis as safely possible removed. Also what bone spurs that are able to safely be removed.
Currently, there is no space for the spinal cord and nerve branches to go out. John’s spinal stenosis has gotten so severe. This has been made worse by the “failure of the discs at c5, c6, and c7. This is causing John's arms to go numb, He has 1 thumb that is starting to lose movement at times, his hands are becoming clumsy and he is starting to drop things. This is all related to his spinal cord not having room, his discs being deteriorated and worn down to slivers or nothing along with bone spurs on the vertebrae.
After surgery it will be up to a year before we know if John will be able to have a full recovery from the damage that has already happened in his hands.
John will be in the hospital overnight. Actually, he is having the surgery done at Summit surgery center. This can happen with a hospital surgery shut down. Surgery will be about 2 ½ hours long. The dr. will be going in through the front of his neck and moving his esophagus to the side and other vital “things” to get the vertebrae. This will be painful. He will also have a hard time swallowing and talking. I have lots of plans and recipes for healthy soups and protein ice cream.
John will be able to lift no more than 10 pounds for 3 months. No twisting or turning the neck.
Then up to 6 months lifting only 25 pounds or less. After that it will be evaluated.
Right after surgery John will start walking. We will walk often throughout the day. This will help John’s spinal cord not adhere to the scar tissue from the surgery.
John will be out of work on disability for at least 6 weeks. He will take a 1 week vacation for recovery. Then 5 weeks work disability. With the reduced pay due to being on short-term disability we have decided we will not be going on vacation before John’s surgery. We decided it would be best to save the money.
I asked how long before the back needs to be done? Because the Dr said the lower back needs to be done. He said he can not do it until the neck is done because if he turns him he could paralyze him. He wants to do surgery on the back in 6 months. John is thinking next fall or winter. All we know for sure is John’s next surgery will be soon after he recovers from this one. John will need to have this surgery done before the problems he is having in his legs and feet become permanent damage. Since these problems have already started, the surgery wait time can not be long.
John hopes when both of these surgeries are done he will have range of motion back. Maybe even be able to golf again!