Thursday, December 12, 2013

Decision Time

Those of you who are also my Facebook friends already know I met with a neurosurgeon this morning to go over the results of the MRI on my spine that I had a while ago.

The results clearly show the compressing of one disc and the compression on the nerve trunk that is causing my leg pain and tingling. This is all due to a condition called spondylolisthesis, when, in my case, the L-4 vertebra is tipped out of alignment.

The MRI shows that surgery is indicated if I so choose that treatment.  The surgery would involve a laminectomy of L-4, replacing the disc, and fusion at that point with rods and screws and bone grafting.  

I have been dealing with varying symptoms now for a long time. The kind of pain shifts, originally in my right leg and now in my left. Currently I have a minimum of pain but much more tingling down my leg.

It is tempting to delay surgery until I really need it - that is, until I am having much more pain.  But that tingling tells me that there could be nerve damage, and that is what I want to avoid.

This is a major procedure and the recovery time is about three months.  The good thing is that the best therapy is walking.  I'm good at that!

I have been getting some advice via Facebook, most of it pointing me in the direction of going ahead now and scheduling surgery, probably for late January. It seems there is quite a queue forming for back surgery after the new year.  I am not alone out there.  In fact my surgeon preformed three of these same surgeries just yesterday!

I'll sleep on it, but I'm pretty sure I'll be calling in the morning and getting signed up.

In other news, when I got back from seeing the surgeon, I went for a 3.85 mile walk before the rain started.  I loved the sunny weather while it lasted but I was getting tired of the freezing cold. The thaw is coming slowly and that's good for our roads.  

Yesterday I got photo cards made, and wrote and printed our holiday letter.  This afternoon we made two kinds of cookies - total now of five kinds.  

Tomorrow we're attending a Christmas brunch with school friends and then we'll pick up the kids from school for early release Friday and take them shopping for gifts for their mother.  We'll feed them dinner while Jill attends a staff party.  The kids will stay overnight with us Saturday night while Jill goes to another party.  There will be cookie baking for entertainment.  

We'll all go to an early Christmas with sister-in-law Jan and her partner on Sunday.  They will be going to California to spend Christmas with family there later in the week.  

I think I'll schedule some resting for Monday, and I may still be working on those Christmas cards and letters that are currently sitting on a tray, ready and waiting, but untouched.


  1. Never a fun decision to have to make, but I'm sure you know what is the best thing for you to do -- not only for you, but for your children and grandchildren. My thoughts are with you, Linda. You are an amazing lady and you deserve to have much more time to enjoy with your beautiful family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all the way!


  2. Facing surgery is not easy, I am sure, but listen to what your body is telling you. You are far too vital and active to be sidelined by pain. I think the pain has not slowed you down too much as yet though, Miss Energizer Bunny!

  3. I think you are making the right decision: do it now before there is any more damage. I applaud you for taking care of yourself, and since you are going to be able to walk in recovery, it sounds like just what the doctor ordered, so to speak. And it won't interfere with your ability to type, so I'm looking forward to you keeping me posted here. :-)

  4. I recommend surgery also. When I had surgery on my umbilical hernia last year, I was cured of chronic pain and suffering. I wish the doctors had diagnosed it properly years ago.

  5. I think your decision is made-you just need time to accept it...

  6. I'm sorry that you'll be having surgery that requires such a long recovery time but am happy that your pain will eventually be gone! My sister had back surgery and although the recovery wasn't the most fun she's ever had, she feels much better being able to walk and garden without pain!

  7. That is a hard decision to make ...I know you will make the right decision. My Aunt had a similar surgery and she is grateful to be pain free after a lengthy recovery...she wore an upper body brace for a long time so her back would heal. Sounds like the surgeon knows what he is doing and practicing daily:)

  8. I have stenosis in my upper spine that sometimes causes tingling in my left arm. I remember once going to a surgeon for analysis, but fortunately he said I wasn't a good candidate for an operation, and so far I've managed to control it with physical therapy.

    I know it's a big step for you (oh, sorry for the bad pun); and I wish you the best in making the decision and in whatever procedure you end up doing.

  9. Holding good thoughts for your surgery. I hope you continue to enjoy your holiday activities. You're a busy lady!

  10. Oh gosh, Linda! I'm so sorry you have to go through this. No fun. However, I know you'll be making an informed decision and then doing all the therapy properly. I can see your point about not wanting any nerve damage. It's a great thing that you're such a wonderful walker.

  11. Oh boy...that is scary... It is hard to know what the right decision is..... But you are in good shape so you will do well... But..always concerns.... Hugs to you

  12. I was so sorry to read this post but you must be relieved to know the complete problem and that there are choices. A very heavy choice to make but your active lifestyle and good physical conditioning should be a huge factor in a complete recovery. We well be right here with you.


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