Friday, August 7, 2009

Mom's Surgery

Mom called Monday to say she would be having surgery on her neck/back on Tuesday afternoon... Talk about short notice! Evidently the surgeon was able to squeeze her into his schedule, but the message got to her only the day before her surgery.

In 1995 Mom had back surgery on a herniated disc, which the doctors originally diagnosed as bone cancer. Once they got in to check it out, they realized it was just an abnormal-looking herniated disc. Whew! Our life was pretty much a roller-coaster ride for a few years there... At one point they were just sure she had lung cancer, too. Nope. I guess doctors tend to assume the worst when they're dealing with a cancer survivor! I think we were all a little nervous, considering her history.

The surgery went really quickly once they started. Three. Hours. Late. I wonder, did God want us to spend a little more time praying, or what?! The operation only lasted about an hour and twenty minutes. What an enormous blessing to hear that things went well after all that waiting! Hopefully no medical professionals are reading this, because I'm sure I'll butcher some of the technical parts in this process...

Basically, they went in through her old scar on the front of her chest. They cut out the bad disc, removed several bone fragments that were pushing on her nerves, inserted a titanium plate and added pieces of cadaver bones to grow over the plate. The bones will eventually connect with other discs in her back, limiting her mobility, but greatly reducing the pain she has been experiencing. For years she has had migraine headaches, tingling in her right arm, and severe back pain. She had been considering spinal decompression therapy, but two weeks ago she was told that there was only one millimeter of tissue protecting her spinal cord from permanent damage, and she decided it was time to go forward with the operation.

Wednesday afternoon Hannah and I were able to take her home, but I was really surprised they let her out so quickly. She'll be wearing this oh-so-stylish brace for about six weeks. I'm sure she'll be good and ticked off that I posted the picture. :) Just remember - I love you very much, Mom. You've been a blessing to my life in more ways than you'll ever know!