I know its been a lot longer than I had expected but I didnt realize how hard it was going to be to look at a computer! So, I am going to update over the next few days to keep everyone back up to speed with how everything went down.
So let me start at the very beginning...
January 25th, 2010....the first day of the rest of my life.
The only way I could describe the emotions running through my body that morning were like a mixture of feeling like Christmas day but at the same time feeling like you were walking into a firing squad of uncertainity. 3am came very early as I had to get up to get a shower and get my stuff ready to roll. Ryan and I headed for Shadyside hand and hand. We were pretty quiet on the ride in, not really sure what to say or how to act. I got into the check in room and saw that Beijanni had 6 other surgeries scheduled, holy crap. They gave me an id number and instructions for Ryan to watch the board for updates on my condition. At about 5:30 am they called the first round of troops up to the floor. There were about 8 of us being escorted to pre-op, it was almost like a cattle call of sorts. I got situated in my room and within 5 minutes they were sticking me with needles. The nurse went to get Ryan to come up to sit with me, which was nice. At about 7 they came in to give me my transfusion, told me they had to wait about an hour or so and if all went well they'd be taking me back. In that process mom, dad, sally and my in laws had shown up. It was nice having them in there with me. I watched them take patients back and forth as I was being transfused, it was slightly nerve racking but what can ya do when your blood is too thin? Dr. Beijjanni stopped in on his way to his frist surgery and marked my head up, that was fun. At about 9am they came in and said that my transfusion had work and they were going to administer one more before they took me. So they started loaded me up again. The nurse came in and said I'd be going into surgery around 10 or so, so everyone left me alone to rest. 15 minutes later they were in the room ready to take me!! I about freaked out but thankfully everyone got upstairs to see me in time. I was fine until they wanted me to say goodbye to everyone, I guess that is when it hit me...I'm really doing this.
Thankfully my new best friend the nurse started putting some nice drugs into me so my tears were short felt....the last thing I remember is them taking me into the room and telling me I was in the best hands and was on my way to being pain free. I closed my eyes on that note.....pain free.
From what I have been told I was in surgery for 2 hours. Had a halo and everything...can you believe it? I mean you see it on TV but for it to really be on you is kind of crazy. When everything was said and done he had removed my C1, did the dura plasty and inserted the plate. Apparently I was an excellent patient, like we had any doubt. I remember waking up in recovery not being able to move my head and being a little on the freaked out side....it hurt pretty bad, that I remember. Dr. Younes (my hemotologist) came in to give me a hug and tell me that he was there the whole time with me. They wheeled me into ICU and I got very sick....I saw my mom and called out to her...I found out later that my reactions were the same as my uncle Jim when they took him into the Neuro ICU after his stroke, pretty weird, right? Everyone was there, I remember I couldnt see Ryan and I was yelling at Cody because my blood pressure cuff was too tight. It pays having friends in nursing because he made sure I had the best care that night! I dont remember much of the whole hospital stay, I was pretty out of it until Wednesday....
They sent me home Wednesday night and I think I slept for the next 5 days. Again I dont remember much, I know I was in pain but it was a different pain. The first thing I remember noticing Tuesday morning after surgery was when I opened my eyes colors were actually brighter. Can you believe it? I could see clearly, my arms didnt hurt and my neck pain was gone (well minus the giant incision n the back of my head).
Everything was going great until the following Monday. I suffered the set back everyone had feared. I woke up extremely incoherent and vomited about 10 times in two hours. Ryan and my dad rushed me to the ER where the doped me up pretty good and did a CT. My brain was severely swollen and there was a leak in my patch causing a meningitis. So, on stereoids I went. But for as awful as it was, it was the turning point, because come Tuesday morning I felt like myself again....
The recovery itself has been very different. The stereoids make me very emotional....and hungry!! It is very hard to take it easy, I can't even pour a glass of water. So this is still a trip and I still have a long way to go.
But I wanted to let all of you know that I have made it, and I am still fighting. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers through all of this. I am so lucky and blessed, its touched me in a way that I dont think anyone can understand.
So now that I"m back I'll update more often with how things have been going for me, its the beginning of the rest of my life...and I can successfuly say I have been 'pain free' for 2 and half weeks!