It's time to update. Much has happened since I last wrote on December 5. I had an MRI of my back and a nerve conduction study on my right leg done by a neurologist--one more doctor to add to my growing list. The MRI was a piece of cake--it was in an "open" MRI machine not the "coffin" that most of them once were. It wasn't bad; I've had several so I knew what to expect. They gave me headphones and asked what kind of music I would like to listen to. I asked for an "Oldies" station, however, with all the clanging and banging of the MRI machine I couldn't hear a thing (except the clanging and banging!). That same week I saw a Gastroenterologist who said I will need another Colonoscopy (I had one about 5 years ago). This is totally unrelated to the fall, but one more inconvenience! We decided that I'd call the doctor when all this other stuff is taken of. I had my mammogram this week. Life just goes on in the midst of a crisis! I also had another visit to my orthopedic surgeon and another X-ray of the right hip. There was still no indication of healing to the hip. I was told that insurance companies wouldn't authorize going back into surgery until 6 months of no healing had passed. So the plan for the hip is to go back to the orthopedic surgeon in February for more X-rays and possibly CT scan of the hip. My 6 month point will be March, 2012. If nothing changes, we would go back into surgery the first part of March. One of the possibilities for the hip is to pack the area with bone from my pelvis which would get the bone growing. He doesn't want to do a total replacement. Sometimes I think that would be a good thing to do but it also seems like too much--too severe.
Now, back to the back. On my return visit to the neurologist to interpret the tests he walked into the exam room with his prescription pad in hand and delivered the news. "The pain is definitely coming from your back. It was damaged in the fall and a nerve is being pressed..." That's all I needed to hear. I knew the rest. Been there, done that. As he handed me a prescription for a much stronger pain medication than I had been on, I couldn't help thinking that this couldn't be happening again! The tears, the regret, the reality of it all was overwhelming. I blamed myself for not recognizing it sooner and for not insisting that my back be thoroughly checked before I left the hospital. The only reason I did not was that after Dave and I had told anyone who would listen that I had previous back surgery with complications, "they" (who? I can't remember) told me "they" checked it and it was OK. Besides, when so much else was going on I didn't want to go looking for trouble so I didn't push for more info. I really felt no back pain after my fall. The surgical pain and soft tissue injuries were so strong that they overshadowed any back or nerve pain. Only when I started putting weight on my right leg in physical therapy did I start to notice the pain. As Dave and I processed this new information we wondered if I would have been physically or mentally able to go into surgery again to repair the back right after having the surgeries on my leg. We'll never know but this is real and will have to be dealt with.
In light of this new information, let me just say that part of me is scared and very sad while still recognizing that God is teaching us things along the way. My plans have been replaced with God's plans. We had a great Christmas with the kids. Our activities were limited but we managed to go to a movie and out to dinner with the kids. That was so much fun. This was accomplished by using a wheelchair. That in itself has a lot of meaning and God's hand behind it.
Dave and his dad had polio in the mid 50's. They survived but his dad lived the rest of his life in a wheelchair. This had a profound effect on the rest of the family as Dave, his brother, and mother along with extended family members had to help him do a lot of things. They would not have come through that without God and caring, loving family and friends Their ordeal was eventually used as a powerful testimony. Pushing his dad in the wheelchair was a big part of Dave's life. Seeing me in the wheelchair conjured up a lot of old memories that we did not want to revive.
I always think of the ripple effect when I think about our situation and how some things go through all the ripples and come right back to the beginning. I'm not sure if I said that right, but thinking about the wheelchair brings back memories of the past for us. That series of events rippled through the whole Friesen family--not just the immediate family but extending through the whole tree of relatives and friends. It immediately changed so many lives and continues even to the present time. Thinking about how we react to using the wheelchair, it's come full circle and is joining a whole new series of ripples.
The ripples that my situation is causing seem to be turning into waves that are growing into a tsunami. It's been 4 months now since I fell. There have been many sacrifices such as our trip to Illinois to see my mom and old friends, our road trip to Oregon for Christmas and Christmas activities at church to name just a few. I'm trying to counteract those huge waves by using some weapons of my own. Denial continues to be a fairly effective way for me to deal with things. I can't deny that this happened but I can shut off worries about the future by just focusing on the here and now. Some days that means just taking the next breath, other days I can think about the next step. I just don't let myself get freaked out because if I did think too far ahead I wouldn't be able to drag myself out of bed. I'm also trying to keep a positive attitude--as much as it sounds like a cliche, being positive is very important. It's not an unrealistic attitude that discounts what I'm going through but rather acknowledging the pain while looking past the pain. I do have much to be thankful for. I could have sustained injuries much more severe than what I had. I can see the caring and love from family and friends and am so appreciative of that. The people who have helped me have done so because they wanted to and I am so thankful for that. I have a husband who continually does things for me even though he has other things that need to be done, too. It's been hard yet it has shown me once more the power of love. We have met our "for better or worse" moments and still keep going.
So as I continue to bob up and down on the waves I'll remember that I am being held up by many prayers and love. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and kept in touch. I know you are out there and that is very important.