Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Date with Destiny!

Hooray, hooray, I finally have a date! While it is not 100% confirmed, my surgeon is 98% certain surgery will be on May 20th. This is later than we had hoped, but coordinating with two surgeons and a hospital is a challenge. Praise God the waiting for a date is finally over!

Things around here have been fairly stagnant as i've waited. My pain has been not so hot, but thankfully my happy pills help when needed. I try to hold back as much as possible on them, but seem to be in greater need as the weeks pass on.

I was thankfully able to make it through Easter, a rummage sale at the church, and a 30 Hour Famine program with the youth over the last three weeks. These events were something I was dreading, as I didn't know if i'd be able to function at them. I'm so grateful they went well and I was able to go into autopilot to get through them. And even though I didn't feel so hot, I enjoyed the time with my parishioners. The Famine was especially amazing; the youth raised enough money for World Vision to feed a child for 8 1/2 yrs!

So now is the time to begin making all my preparations for surgery. After I get the final word on Thursday, we will be buying a plane ticket to fly my older sister out to help me through the surgery and the first few days at home. I wish she could stay longer, but as she is expecting her first child, she needs to get back to work to save up time for maternity leave. I'm incredibly grateful she is willing to come. My Aunt was going to be here for the surgery but since the date was moved back, she is unable due to work commitments. I hope she can come out for a fun visit soon though!

My house is a wreck but slowly i'm working through the chaos to get it cleaned prior to surgery. It would not be fun to have a messy house during recovery. There is so much to do to get it in shape I wonder how in the world it will happen! Plus the cupboards need to be filled with the proper mushy, liquid type food with a few chewable meals for my sister.

It is such a relief to know the end is in sight. It makes the pain much more bearable. I'm praying so hard this surgery will be the answer i've been looking for. My body needs a break from this. I know more treatment is inevitable in the future, but if there can be some sort of reprieve, i'm happy.

News in terms of recovery was discussed in greater detail with the surgeon today. He told me for the first 8 weeks or so, I will have appointments with him every 1-2 weeks. That is going to require a great deal of driving to Baltimore; should be fun! He also stated that when I am discharged from the hospital after surgery, I will have to go to his office for an appointment before going home. This makes me even more grateful to have my sister here. It would be a long day for one of my parishioners and I don't know who I could find that had enough time to help with it.

He stated it is going to be a long recovery from surgery. I have concerns about this happening so late in May. At the beginning of June I have a three day conference to attend wtih the synod. Then, the third week of June I have a week of confirmation camp with the youth. We talked at length about taking the proper precautions and limitations while there. I don't know how i'm going to do it as i'll still be in physical therapy three days a week, plus will most likely have an appointment in Baltimore. A lot to discuss and think about with coworkers.

Alright, it is 5am and I have yet to sleep. My jaw has not been happy and it seems some of my meds that used to make me drowsy get me wired. It is odd and frustrating. I laid in bed all night and just now turned on the computer in hopes that it would make me sleepy. It seems to be helping a bit. This lack of sleeping means I will be unable to make it into the office this morning. Ugh...more ways in which TMD gets in the way of living. Bummer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Still Waiting

Hey everyone,

Nothing really new to report. On the good side of things, my insurance pre-authorized the surgery a good week and a half earlier than expected! The bad news...still waiting to hear when the surgery will be. It is agonizing to wait on so many levels. I need the date to buy a plane ticket for my Aunt (coming in to help from Seattle), need to know so I can plan on my work, and of course, i'm in so much pain. I hate waiting.

The pain just continues to get worse. It is radiating down my neck and into my back. I try to stretch it to help loosen the muscles and nerves but doing so hurts sooo much. My physical therapist is using traction in conjunction with all the other therapies and it does help some. The problem is i'm having a harder time making it to PT, as the pain is too much and I have trouble getting out of the house. I can't drive on the pain meds and I really hurt too much to find the motivation to get another driver. It's a catch 22 as I know PT will help but so many times I hurt. This week I had to miss twice for this reason. Thankfully I still made it in 2 out of my 3 sessions, I just had to move one.

So, that is where I am at; the waiting game. I think once I know the date i'll be able to find some of the motivation to prepare everything. I've already started stocking the fridge with no-chew foods, which is good. I just need to get this place cleaned up and prepare all the stuff for when i'm out. I plan to take two weeks off so there is quite a bit to get done. The surgery looks like it may be either April 22nd or 29th, hopefully no later. As soon as I know i'll update the blog.

Thank you again for all your prayers. Sorry there isn't much else to report!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The ER and moving ahead

Well, it has been quite the week! My pain has been getting worse and worse, and of course my schedule gets busier and busier. I really think stress takes it toll!

As my pain has gotten worse, my meds are working less and less. In regards to pain meds, I ended up in the ER the other day with severe pain. Turned out I had a UTI on top of the jaw problems, which the doctor thinks actually was making my jaw pain worse. Sooo, she prescribed pergaset and of course an antibiotic.

And whew, well the pergaset works pretty well. Pain starting breaking through again after about the first dose though. At least it got me down a couple notches on the pain scale. I'm back trying vicodin now to see how it works.

I went to see my surgeon today. He wasn't too pleased I had to go on pergaset as it is the med he wants me on after surgery. We worked it out to where I take the vicodin the majority of time, and the pergaset only when really bad break-through pain happens. I think that is a good deal. He also said he doesn't expect the neurontin to work as it is a structural issue (another doc prescribed this earlier in the week). He says his patients have never really responded to it. Oh well, I guess i'll keep taking it and see what happens. I am not sure though, I may stop. We'll see, i'm too indecisive right now!

Surgery looks like it will be in 3-4 weeks. The big wait is with the insurance. He put an "urgent" request on it to try and move it along. After insurance approves it he said it will only be a matter of maybe two weeks at most before surgery happens. All he needs to do is coordinate it with the other surgeon and book the room. It felt really, really good to hear the number "3-4 week". I actually feel now like it might happen. I'm praying there are no problems with my insurance. I wouldn't imagine there would be as we have put in the time and treatments that are necessary. They say they cover this type of surgery so they better!

While i'm excited i'm also a bit anxious. I have so many things going on this month, including a major youth program at that 3 week mark. My Aunt is also planning to fly out from Seattle to help me the first few days. I hope the lack of notice is still okay with her. In regards to the youth event, I figure this surgery is the priority with everything. If the three week mark is the only date available for the surgeons within a reasonable time period, i'll take it. I have plenty of capable people in my congregation to run the program. I really pray the surgery doesn't have to land on that date, but you have to do what you have to do. I'm shooting for April 29th, as that would be the best date for all of us involved.

Thank you for all your prayers. While my pain is still terrible, this appointment did lift my spirits a bit. He said this would be the last appointment prior to surgery and I wouldnt see him again till the operating room. Pretty awesome and overwhelming all in one! Now it is just physical therapy, getting all the meds, preparing the house and foods, and doing the pre-surgery physical and blood work. Fun times!