On Track for Surgery
Friday, April 21, 2017
I had my first appointment with my spinal surgeon, well actually with his nurse practitioner. I have had a lot of bad experiences with doctors so I was super nervous about getting yet another new doctor but I really liked the NP. I hope that is a good sign. I don't really have a choice since he is the only doctor in the area that will do my surgery. He isn't even really in the area but about 45 minutes away.
Even though I just had x-rays the day before, the hospital near me didn't send them so I had to do them all over again. I have sat through 5 sets of x-rays in less than a month now. Three for me and two for my son. I feel like any more and I'm going to start glowing in the dark :) Seems like a huge waste of insurance money to repeat x-rays. Plus, it's very painful to get them because of how I have to be positioned. It was a good thing I got up early to exercise because by the time I got back home, I was completely wiped out for the day.
I love looking at x-rays, they are so cool. In the picture of my spine from the front, my spine looked like the letter s. When I looked at it I kept thinking s is for spine because it looked like something in a preschool book. It's times like these that I realize I spend too much time with children.
The NP told me that they thought I was a very good candidate for the surgery. Now I just have to meet all the insurance requirements so that I can get approval for the surgery. I hate all the hoops that you always have to jump through for approval of somethings but yet they have no problem with paying for unnecessary x-rays. She told me I was lucky because a lot of insurances won't even cover the surgery.
I was disappointed to find out that I actually will need at least 2 different surgeries. This is the first time I had heard this. I had thought it was all going to be done at once. That means two separate recovery times. I wish I could get it all done at once. As a mom, there is never a good time for me to be out of commission even for a day. I really don't even know how it's going to work. I just know a lot of planning and organization will be needed.
I wish I had more of a time frame for when I might actually get approved to help me plan. I'm thinking it's going to be at least two months but probably more. The best time for me to do the surgery would be the second half of June. We are usually on school break at that time, there are no more family birthdays or holidays besides the 4th. Plus, that way by the busy holiday season I would be able to do all the millions of things that I need to do. Then I could have the second surgery after the new year. Knowing how slow my insurance can be at times, I am thinking it is possible that I might not even be able to have the first surgery until next year.
Of course the longer it takes me to get approved the more time I have to lose weight which is also good. The nurse practitioner told me that they strongly encourage all their patients to lose as much weight as they can beforehand. Extra weight is never good for your spine. She did tell me that I didn't weigh enough to be considered high risk so even if I don't lose any more they will still do the surgery. So the doctor who told me I had to lose at least 50 lbs before they would do the surgery was wrong. It's just preferable that I continue to lose.
I'm really worried about gaining weight back after the surgery from being completely non weight bearing and unable to exercise at all for at least 2 months, possibly longer. After that I can gradually start again, but by that time I will have lost the muscle that I have been working so hard to build. I already lost the majority of my leg muscle over the past few years. I keep trying to remind myself that it will be worth it in the long run.
My goal is to lose at least 20 lbs more before my surgery. That will put me in the healthy BMI category. Everything after that will be a bonus. I'm really hoping for at least another 30 lbs. I'm very small boned (Doctors keep telling me that like I did something wrong or I can change it somehow.) so I was not designed to support extra weight. My long term weight goal would be for the bottom of my BMI healthy category, but I also really want to build up some muscles. It's hard to watch your body atrophy.
The NP told me that my surgeon is top notch and most of his patients have had great success with the surgery. He was actually trained by the people who designed this surgery procedure and their patients were part of the research group. Having someone mess with your spine is scary but knowing this helps me to be less worried. If I am approved and everything goes well, in a year I could be able to stand and walk again. I will be able to take my kids to the park, the museum, the zoo or just walk in the neighborhood. I love to hike. It used to be our favorite family activity and I am so looking forward to doing it again. I miss enjoying life with my kids.