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Fair Warning: this might be a long, winding confused mess of a post!
I am about a week out from my revision surgery to address two broken rods and non fusion issues. It's really been such an emotional and physical roller coaster.... I am torn between the knowledge that not every spine fuses to plan possibly resulting in rod fracture and the certainty that this is not the norm and maybe my surgeon made a simple mistake. Either not enough bone added in the first place or perhaps not enough sanding of the bone to make the new stuff fuse. Either way it really doesn't matter, does it? I mean I'm here and the reason may not be important. I'm just kinda pissed off! Normally my logical side wins out, and I remind myself that this does indeed happen. Do I somehow think it shouldn't be me? I assume because I'm healthy and follow the rules, I will be the quickest recovery on earth. Come on! So, "woah is me" baloney aside, I may just want to vent. And let's face it...this is the place, am I right!?!? (High fives all around).
Both rods broke within 13 months of the initial surgery (July 2017). Did I expect this? Not at all. But, I do understand from my research, that sometimes a non fusion occurs. Because the non fused part of the spine is acting like a joint, the constant bending can cause the rods to break. Oh and they aren't titanium like I've been telling anyone who will listen...they are cobalt and chrome. My surgeon said titanium would have broken before cobalt. O.K. Got it. Since July, I have only had communication with one of the Physician's assistants. Every fear I expressed (if the rod is broken is there a possibility I am not fused? can I break the second rod?) was met with assurances that my fears were unfounded, when in fact my concerns were appropriate. My frustration has been with a situation that has not allowed contact with my surgeon. I was finally able to speak with my surgeon in mid September, on a Thursday. During our conversation he did a fairly good job of explaining the situation and said he could perform an urgent surgery the following Monday or Tuesday. So, no warning basically. He ordered a nuclear medicine bone scan which involved injection of a radioactive isotope into my veins, followed by a 3 hour delay and then a scan. The scan highlighted areas of the spine that were still healing or trying to heal. Basically both rods were broken at locations of non fusion. This just wasn't apparent from the CT scan. The surgery was scheduled for Monday and although we had discussed what my surgeon was most likely going to do, that changed somewhat once I was on the table. Basically, I had a swath of bone that didn't fuse, which involved both sides of the spine. So he added bulkier rods on the left to bridge one break and replaced part of a rod on the right with a beefier rod while removing the pelvic screws on that side to relieve any tension. I look like Frankenstein's Monster. I mean at least I had symmetry before!
Although the pain was substantially less this go-around, the side effects were so much worse! I honestly didn't feel like I was going to make it for a day or so there! Blood pressure and oxygen very low, blood loss high. I was passing out, vomiting, and not breathing well. I think the Dilaudid just slowed my system down too much. Oh and I simply couldn't pee! I spent a couple of days hobbling around the hospital wearing two gowns (one a cape), a blanket, and bright red hospital socks, with a catheter bag (nay box!) hanging from my walker! Awesomely good times.
I still spent five days in the hospital and I'm fairly weak and slow but hopeful. I briefly had some sort of an epiphany almost a spiritual awakening if you will. I got home and realized that as long as I could pee, life was not worth stressing over! And I've tried to hold onto that feeling but oh, it's fading fast!
So, my real question to every lovely soul here is: how do I avoid feeling that all of this could have been avoided? I am angry that I have to pay for a revision surgery. I have had to deal with regular recovery pain, failed fusion pain, broken rod pain, new nerve pain and now drat...another surgery's worth of pain! My life has been thrown into reverse. I know, I know, I should just be thankful that I can pee...who said that???!!! But in my off moments, I am angry. Parenting suffers, work suffers, etc. And I'm just kind of oddly traumatized by the whole thing.
Simply writing this has helped me see the bigger picture so thanks for putting up with me....life really is good and I have to make an effort to find as many silver linings as possible. I will remain optimistic until I can't.
So good to kvetch..