Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I CAN'T HELP YOU

Those of you who know me, know that the past few years have been difficult due to some pretty significant health issues. Really, prior to ten years ago, the only surgeries I'd ever had were my two C-sections. But I sure have made up for it. Tallying this list is always such fun. Let's see, there's the feet with corrective surgery and bunion removal, gall bladder, 3 rotator cuff repairs, 2 complete knee replacements and, oh yes, the grand daddy of them all, the back surgery of '04. Now that was really significant! It was only after realizing that my double laminectomy and fusion was not particularly successful that I continued to do research about the long term prognosis and...well, it ain't pretty. When you're in agony and somebody says they can help you with surgery, you respond with a barely audible, "ok." And that becomes the beginning of the end. Unfortunately, it's not the end that you'd hoped.

After you're screwed (literally) and caged and fused, then they tell you that the problem that precipitated the destruction of the discs and, by the way, you have a little scoliosis to boot, will only move up the spine and...once a fusion has been performed you can never have another fusion and your discs will continue to disintegrate as you get older. Oh, yeah. That's the kind of news you love to hear. But you exercise and stretch for your back 7 days a week for 5 years, walk daily and work on posture and moving around rather than to stay seated for long periods of time and live on pain pills in order to enjoy a moderately normal life. Granted you do have to sleep in a recliner each night, longing to lay in a bed, and the heating pad is never too far away but it's not a bad life.

So, you see this infomercial about a new technique called Spinal Decompression Therapy and it does look promising. You are literally stretched on a regular basis, there's no surgery, and this technique boasts great results. So you call the local number on the screen and find out that this clinic has a Chiropractic Neurologist who runs the place and monitors patients. You are told to have any exray films or MRIs sent to the doctor before your appointment and you make all those calls to assure that the doctor has a visual reference and you wait in the waiting room for a brief 5 minutes or so. Then they call your name and you anxiously follow the doctor to his office.

You're optimistic and can't wait to get started. He's a huge man, easily 6 ft 6 inches but has a calm demeanor and a gentle voice. You sit to the side of his desk as he carefully takes out the MRI you had taken within 6 months from the day of your surgery 5 years ago and...you watch his face as he looks intently at your picture. Then comes the moment of truth. The doctor says,
"Wow, they really butchered you! Ouch!! I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't help you." And you sit there for a moment in shocked silence. You extend your hand to his massive one and thank him for...nothing. It's not his fault that he can't take the chance that decompressing your spine might
dislodge a screw or a post or a spacer. But you can't help but wonder as you walk out the waiting room door, "Is that really true? Do I have to figure that this problem can't be remedied and in all likelihood the problem with my back will only get worse?"

I'm still reeling from this, albeit, brief conversation and the thought that there are no options. But I have to move on. Rather I have to look at things in a positive light, that is, I can still exercise daily and walk and my two new knees are fabulous and...the rest is in God's hands. That daily exercise and walking is underscored with prayer and I can't help but think He's got it all figured out. Unlike the doctor, God CAN help me as he does with everything in my life.

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