Thursday, October 9, 2014

Preparing for Possible Spinal Surgery

Image from
October 7th, Facebook Post:

Please keep Rence and I in your prayers. We are feeling at peace with pursuing spinal surgery (on the sacroiliac joints - bilateral). This will be a bilateral SI joint fusion using the "I-Fuse Implantation System". This involves placing three rods/screws in each SI joint to stabilize and fuse the joint. Using this particular system, this procedure is much more successful than other spinal surgeries. Therefore, we are even more encouraged.

We have come to this step in the road due to my increasing pain levels and the certainty that the pain generates mainly from this area. The tests I have recently been going through have helped diagnose this even more positively.

As much as I feel I should be "scared" about this major next step, God has given us both an overwhelming peace about all of it. We are in the early steps of getting to the right doctor/surgeon (in Georgia) who specializes in this fairly rare procedure (with the "I-Fuse System"), and therefore we are not sure if we will be able to get a surgery date before the end of the year, but are praying that this will be the case. Please pray that we can get all of this taken care of smoothly, including the referral to this surgeon (my specialist is being stubborn about referring to any physician b/c it adds to his workload).

As always, we can't thank you enough for your encouragement and prayers. (Please, no advice - just encouragement.) 
October 8th, Specialist's Visit in Birmingham (Update):

A big "thank you" to Julie Crews for helping me out today with the boys as I had to discuss some really important things with the doctor today, including a referral to the surgeon (which the same doctor had been stubborn about due to his workload).

We began the visit by discussing the referral to the surgeon in Georgia for the possible SI joint spinal surgery. I asked my Facebook friends and prayer warriors to pray that we could get this referral accomplished smoothly, and that happened. God is good! Please continue to pray that all will fall into place quickly and smoothly. The appointment with the surgeon in Georgia has been set up for October 22nd (things are starting to get a little more real). Please pray specifically that we have all the films (MRI's, X-rays, flouroscopies, etc.) & procedures that the surgeon will want to see. If not, please pray that insurance can process this quickly so we can do surgery before the end of the year, if possible (and if in God's plan), as insurance has that popular tendency to drag their feet.

I also had to discuss the extreme fatigue I have been experiencing lately (due to chronic fatigue syndrome & adrenal fatigue stage III). Due to cost of treatment (up to $100/month for a low-income family with many medical treatments monthly), I had to discontinue several treatments. Surprisingly, the over-the-counter (and extremely expensive) supplement did indeed do it's job, and I have been missing it's benefits to the extreme. The doctor made it clear to me that if we didn't make a way to pay for this (this in no way benefits the doctor directly), it would be possible that my body could respond by declining into adrenal insufficiency (Addison's Disease). I'm only one step away from that point. So, we will begin treatment again, which will hopefully & prayerfully help with my energy levels once again.

Regarding the above - For those of you who do not know, my body is under so much stress from the severe chronic pain that it has been unable to reproduce the hormone that is responsible for responding to stress (adrenal glands). When this happens, the body goes into a form of adrenal fatigue. In my particular case (as I mentioned), I have adrenal fatigue stage III as well as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). For anyone who thinks they can relate to CFS due to a lack of sleep for one or several's not the case. CFS feels like you just woke up from a full night's sleep, yet you are dog-tired. You have REM cycles all day with your eyes open. You want desperately to take a nap, but you can't fall asleep. I thought I could relate to "fatigue" in college, especially when we would pull "all-nighters" studying in preparation for finals. Only now have I realized how untrue that is. These last few weeks have been the roughest, especially when one has to care for children. I'm lucky there is a bed in the playroom. ;) 

I also have had increased pain levels, but we (my Dr. and I) are in agreement of hanging on until nerve ablation (bilateral) this coming Wednesday (October 15th) and praying that the nerve ablation will target all of the nerves that are triggering the severe pain in my sacroiliac (SI) joint. Thank you in advance to Felicia Waugh and Rebecca Owen for helping me get to and from my procedure as well as taking care of the boys! This will be a radiofrequency nerve ablation, which burns the ends of the nerve roots using Teflon-coated needles and high levels of electricity. The nerve roots grow back and pain relief lasts anywhere from 3 months to 1 year. The procedure itself will take place while I am under general anesthesia and each side/joint will take approximately 45 minutes to locate the nerve roots, verify the correct needle placement, and burn each nerve root individually. PLEASE pray with me that I can get a decent level of relief from this. I do know that no matter the situation, God is in control.

We also talked about the insomnia issues. I have had more issues lately falling asleep, which much of it is due to the lack of treatment of CFS for the last month or so. Once that resumes, falling asleep should be a much easier thing. Thinking of spinal surgery and everything leading up to it probably doesn't help things right now, but I am trying very hard to put this all in God's Almighty & Sovereign hands.

Once again, thank you all for your prayers and support. You are loved and appreciated more than you could every realize!

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