Two days after I posted about my herniated disk, I saw the Spine Specialist. Mr. P and I packed up our stuff, sat in uncomfortable waiting chairs over an hour well past my appointment time and was about to give up until we were called back. I was and still very grateful that my husband was by my side, lending his emotional support and being my extra pair of ears. I mean, we’re talking about a herniated disk. We’re talking about next steps and quite possibly surgery. And as someone who has arthritis in her back, this just elevates it to another level. I needed all the support I could get.
Well, Dr. Spine, was fabulous. What was a 20 minute appointment turned into over an hour (and explained our long wait time). He never looked at his watch, he heard my questions and then answered them thoroughly. He had experience working with patients who had ankylosing spondylitis. He had experience working with patients on Remicade. He understood the increased risks. He took my history and struggles over the past six months seriously. He understood that I had been dealing with this pain for over a year and that it increased significantly over the last three months. He understood that I took every option, every road, every opportunity to do something other than to see him first. And then was kind about it. He then heard Mr. P’s questions and then answered them thoroughly. Mr. P actually asked a lot of good difficult questions that I would’ve never thought to think about. And then it was time. To make a decision. I was at the absolute last option and I needed to decide whether surgery was right for me.
Making the decision to move forward with surgery was one of the scariest decisions I ever had to make. My parents weren’t in the room nor could tell me what I could do. And although Mr. P was the most supportive human being on the planet, he couldn’t make the decision for me. Ultimately, the choice was mine. I was the one who was going to have to go through the prep, the surgery, and then the recovery.
However, I didn’t have time or the luxury to think about whether or not I was going to move forward with the surgery. Why? Well, my Remicade medication. Because Remicade, a biologic medication, is an extreme immune system depressor, all surgeries need to be performed at the tail end of any Remicade medication cycle. Meaning either the final week or second to final week before you receive your next dosage. You see, my Remicade appointment was scheduled literally a week later. We had to either jump on this surgery train either now, or wait another 5 weeks until my medication had mostly passed.
Ultimately, I decided to move forward with the surgery since the pain and numbness I was experiencing was getting dangerous. So dangerous in fact that one day as I was driving home, I couldn’t feel my feet because they went numb. It was time.
It was time to have back surgery. Probably the scariest words I’ve ever had to say. Ever.