Pain stinks. If you scroll to the last post- you’ll understand today’s fashion statement photos. 

My surgery went well-

My amazing Neurosurgeon fused my C 5 & 6 vertebrae. The mumbles and tingling are pretty much gone. I’m still struggling with a lot of upper arm shoulder pain- and pain my my neck from the surgery.

I’ll be wearing the loverly ‘Necklace’ for another 5 weeks. (My surgery was just over a week ago.) If we were having coffee and you asked me how I really felt- I’d answer like this: “I feel like someone knocked me out- broke my neck and put it back together then stuck my head through a PVC pipe.” That said- it’s slowly improving and having my hands no longer be zombi-fied was totally worth it.

Fast facts and funnies from surgery:

1) The nurse should have believed me when I told her I was going to pass out during the IV. I woke up saying: “”I TOLD YOU I WOULD.” Also I caused a scene- flailing all over and knocking over the blood sample- it went flying. And then- had to be re-done. That sucked. But, I wish I could have seen it.)

2) My goal during my hospital stay was to fill the urine output bucket every time I went.  (Somewhere in my brain- urine output = going home sooner.) Lets just say I’m an over achiever and surpassed that goal. The nurses were impressed. Competitive peeing. Maybe there could be an olympic medal in it for me….. if I could only get it approved but the committee!

3) I was told that I may not be able to talk for up to 2 weeks after the surgery. My family was not surprised that my bought was unstoppable. (Painful- but unstoppable.)

4) Just before surgery we finally got the the bottom of Noah’s terrible fear about  the whole thing. “Mom, I heard about people getting their throats slit and dying. Mom, THE DOCTOR IS CUTTING YOUR THROAT.”  #not thesame

5) Putting on your underwear while wearing a neck brace is kind of a The cirque-du soleil underwear ballet.  You kind of scoop -sling, fling it- while holing onto one leg hole-then hop a foot up hoping it goes in and you don’t end up drowning in the toilet. The second foot is easier- it’s more of a wriggle, spread your legs to inch it up and then pull when you can reach it.. (I recommend not dong this in the bathroom- even if thats ALWAYS where you put on your undies. No one should drown that way. Learn from me.) Of course- If you prefer less theatrics- you could- 1) sit down. or 2) ask for help. Neither of which crossed my morphine addled mind. #oopsy

6) Cervical fusion- sounds like the ultimate birth control. It’s not But, it makes me giggle. EVERY TIME. CERVICAL FUSION. *hee*

7) With proper tucking- an Aspen Vista Neck brace can hide a double chin.

8) You CAN live on applesauce and pudding. (You can also gain weight on a liquid/soft food diet- at least I can. Which- figures.)

9) When the doctor says: “Do not drive” He probably has good reasons. Listen to him. (I may have learned that the hard way. Of course. In my defense- I only drove to the bus stop- at the end of our street. Driving while unable to turn your head doesn’t work so well. Also- apparently- like every part of your body is connected to your spine… so moving stuff hurts. Yah- I know: DUH.)

10) If you plan your cervical fusion (*giggle*) right- your medical insurance will pay for your halloween costume. You have several options- the accident victim. The Vampire’s Delight. The Bride of Frankenstein (this involves removing the brace and flaunting your fresh scar- probably not a good idea.)

So- that’s the fast facts and funnies….

Now for the serious- This surgery has raised so many questions for me….questions I don’t expect you to answer- but questions I hope that in sharing you’ll find this a safe place to ask your too…..

1) I believe God has purposes for all he does… but I’d like to know: “WHAT IS THE POINT?”

2) I believe everyone need a theology of pain….. What’s yours? (I believe God can and does bring good from pain- if only his presence and or voice-  CS Lewis  said it this way-

~ God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world ~  He has my attention- for sure.

3) How do you know when to ” suck it up” and push through pain to accomplish goals- and when to rest and re-set your goals?

4) What if pain continues to be a constant part of my life?

  • Can it become a friend? Should it be an enemy to be constantly battled?
  • Will it be an annoying pest to be ignored?
  • Or maybe,all of the above?
5) Pain that can’t be alleviated (or must be waited through to healing) requires coping. How do YOU cope with pain?
(A few things that work for me)
  • Humor. The cirque-du soleil underwear ballet is funny- sometimes you gotta laugh. As was my competitive peeing. Weird- but hilarious.
  • Honesty. I’m hurting. I’m struggling and I refuse to do it alone. When I’m honest about how Im feeling others can help. (Once I beat the pity out of them.. cause I’m not a fan of being pitied… I think it’s a pride issue or something. How bout we analyze that after I’m off the percocet?)
  • Help. Accept it. I hate this. Inside I am a three year old shouting: “I can do it all by myself!” Outside I am broken and healing. I can’t do it all. In fact I can currently do very little.
  • Do what you can. I need to feel useful. I need to occupy my mind so it stays in safe places…. ( depression and fear like to hover around pain ready to join in the party…..) I CAN- Knit. I can_ read (now that I;m not stoned, anyway.) I CAN write thank you notes. I CAN encourage others with short Facebook messages. etc. Chances are you aren’t the only one hurting in the world… reaching out to someone else can help you cope with your own pain.
  • Avoid WEBMD. Enough said.
So- Do you have questions about pain? How do YOU cope with pain? Physical, emotional- etc…..I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Additional questions: if you’ve ever had surgery- how did you prep your family?

  • I bought a recordable book for Noah and recorded my voice reading it for him- so he could hear me when I was gone and unable to “sound like myself” (I sounded like freddy kreuger for a while…. scary.)
  • I pre-packed Noahs lunches in those gallon zip locks complete with little love notes in them- hubby just slipped them into his lunch bag.
  • I took my college boys out to lunch and had the “in case I die” talk- and the “do you have any questions about this procedure” chat. We also talked about what I would need help with after surgery. They were prepared and have been awesome. Including by holding me accountable for doing things I’m not supposed to.