So, I got my surgery date...July 6th. Yup, you read right...TWO weeks from today!! Ack!! I'm nervous and anxious to get it overwith. At the same time I'm trying to remain optimistic that this will help with my constant pain. I go for pre-admission testing next week.
The surgeon I am seeing specializes in the thoracic spine. He is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania dept of NS, which is ranked amongst the top in the country. He said he'll be making a posterior incision, removing a small piece of bone covering the disc on the right side, which is the side my herniations are on, and remove the portion of disc that is compressing my spinal cord. Fortunately there is no deflating the lung or chest tube involved. I'll stay overnight in the hospital 1 to 2 days, depending on how much pain I'm in. Being that I live an hour and a half away from the hospital, he said he'd rather me stay the extra night if I'm in a lot of pain.
I asked about the risk of re-herniation, and he said there's about a 5% chance. Unfortunately, if I were to have a re-herniation, he said that we'd be looking at doing a fusion, which obviously is a much more extensive procedure. He said that the thoracic spine, when operated on, is not as stable as the lumbar spine, so going back and doing a repeat discectomy would not be an option. Fingers crossed that we don't have to cross that bridge, though.
He said that he expects I should experience 95% relief within a year, but he doesn't believe it'll take that long for me to see results. He seemed optimistic that this surgery is the answer to my problems.
So, I just need to get clearance from my cardiologist, being that I have a heart condition that can cause arrhythmias, but I don't think that'll be a problem. The NS office is going to call them to obtain that. Then, next Wednesday or Thursday, I have to drive to Philly one more time prior to the surgery for pre-admission testing. I hope these next couple of weeks go fast. Fortunately, I was offered a desk job as a telephone triage nurse at a local hospital, and I'll be starting shortly after the surgery. I'm extremely excited to start my new job, so that should help to get me through.