Monday, May 7, 2012


Ben, chillin' at the Ritz. (Thanks Cousin Hana for this pic!)
Ben and Mark return tonight after a week away in Philly. I apologize for not updating on Ben's progress's like a big inhale. Somehow I get caught up in the holding of the breath, and once I exhale, well, it's just gone.

It's also a lot like a rollercoaster.

Waiting waiting waiting. This line moves so slowly. Ahhh. Finally we're at the front. Climb in the car and please don't forget to strap yourself in. This may be a wild ride. What's that you feel? Scared? Excited? Huge anticipation of what's to come? Oh yes.

Ben's surgery on Wednesday went easily. He checked in at 6:30 a.m. and was discharged less than 12 hours later. Amazing! I talked to him, or I should say I texted him, as usual, on his way over to the hospital and then all the way until he was wheeled into the OR. He was even more calm then last time, which was pretty darn calm. Didn't seem to have butterflies at all. I went back to sleep (it was still dark outside where I was) and was awoken by a call...from BEN...about three hours later. He was just waking up from anesthesia and he was in excellent spirits. He even made a joke about some pink unicorns flying by, teasing me that he was high on pain meds. He texted me not long after to say, "I feel fantastic." And he most surely must have. That boy was up and out of there so fast.

Zoooop! Up to that first hill. Looking good, looking good.

Not long after the surgery Dr. C came by to talk to Mark and shared that Ben's spine had been very stiff and he hadn't been able to get much correction at all. We had been looking at this surgery as a dividing line. Since Ben's curve had progressed so much over the past two years (from 25 to 54 degrees) we knew that if Dr. C could not straighten Ben's spine out to the low 40's we would not be able to continue with lengthenings of the rod, but would have to turn to fusion. If there was little correction in this surgery then we were apparently done with lengthenings. And fusion is HUGE.

Zoooop! Down, down, waaaay down to the bottom. Ugh.

So, why didn't I share this with you? Why didn't I write about it? Well, I was pretty exhausted on Wednesday. I'd been up at 2:45 am to text Ben and then didn't really catch up. I was emotionally exhausted just from the anticipation. I was blue about fusion looming, closer now than ever before. But, I knew we needed to wait for Dr. C to take the post-op x-ray and tell us what he saw there. [The other reason is that as soon as Ben's surgery was over I had to go into full on final details mode for the Dan Nichols concert that was happening less than 5 days later. (It was really a bummer that Mark and Ben had to miss it!) I was working on little sleep, was single parenting, and the only time I spent on the computer was going over details for the concert. Sorry!]

Since Ben got sprung from the recovery floor so fast, Mark didn't talk to Dr. C again before they left. Dr. C was busy doing spine surgeries all day.

You might understand my surprise then when I saw this email from Dr. C's nurse the next morning: "Dr. C said after the lengthening Ben measured 38 degrees so he would like to plan for another one in 6 months."

Wha-what? That's a 16 degree correction and even with leeway for measurement error that's still about 10 degrees correction. Significant.

Zoooop! Up to the top and flying around the twists and turns! Oh my stomach!

I literally wondered if Dr. C was looking at the right x-ray. I've been puzzling over that for days and will talk with him early this week. I don't want to argue or seem skeptical, but it's hard to figure all of it out.

Anyways, the other good news is that beyond being released so fast from the hospital, Ben's had little pain this week and needed very little in the way of pain meds. The usual is Hydrocodone and Valium to help with muscle spasms that occur after being moved around so much in the surgery. This time he was done using the meds about two days post-op. That's unheard of!

It also doesn't line up with a huge correction, so I'm not sure what to think.

At this point I'm just taking my gratitude and curling up with it on the couch. Thankful my boy is feeling great. Thankful this surgery is behind us. Thankful he was well cared for by his daddy and the Ritz-Carlton. Thankful they're coming home tonight.

And, folks, as we pull into the station please remember to grab all your belongs, and loved ones, and please come back and ride this rollercoaster AGAIN.

Oh yeah. We'll be back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had my spine fused and the lengthening rod implanted in 1980. I'm glad to read the rod is working, you are right to feel fusion is huge. It will change his life in ways you can't imagine. Blessings to your family!