Healthcare

Phase 2 Migraine Surgery

At the end of February, I wrote about my upcoming nerve decompression surgery. Within that post, there was a promise that I would keep everyone updated. Here it is.

Yesterday was exactly five weeks post-op! The time has gone by so fast, and at the same time has crept by while dealing with pain and the recovery period. After the initial shock had faded away about having two stunning black eyes, I had to keep pinching myself. There was no way that this could be reality. When I went in for surgery, I had a whopping migraine and when I came out; nothing! Of course, the surgical pain was not an enjoyable experience but none of it was migraines.

I have been 100% migraine free for five entire weeks. My hope for the surgery was that the migraines would be less frequent and severe. That would have been a win in my book. This is like a slam dunk! I’m still superstitious that it’s too good to be true but maybe it isn’t. Maybe my leap of faith worked. In the meantime, I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed as well as knocking on wood.

The reason that I sought a surgical consult in the first place was for my occipital neuralgia. If you aren’t familiar with this condition, then you are in luck. I have a little “101 lesson” for you!

Symptoms include continuous aching, burning and throbbing, with intermittent shocking or shooting pain. The pain often is described as migraine-like and some patients experience other symptoms common to migraines and cluster headaches. The pain usually originates at the base of the skull and radiates near the back or along the side of the scalp. Some patients experience pain behind the eye on the affected side. The pain is felt most often on one side of the head but may also affect both sides of the head. Neck movements may trigger pain in some patients. The scalp may be tender to the touch, and an activity like brushing the hair may increase a person’s pain.

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: Occipital Neuralgia

While there have been no migraines, the occipital neuralgia has continued to be a nuisance. Until you have experienced laying your head on a pillow and having extreme pain or have combed your hair and cried because it hurt so bad, there is simply no way to describe the intensity.

Thus, phase two of my lovely surgeries. On Monday, I will be having nerve decompression done on my occipital nerves. The incision will be on the back of my head and four nerves will be worked on in total. Fat will pad each nerve so that scar tissue doesn’t cause problems in the future. There will also be some muscles that are resected in my neck. It will be another big surgery to recover from.

The results of the last surgery leave me feeling hopeful that this will also be a success. Quality of life is so important, and pain has such a massive effect on every aspect of our life. So, on a wing and a prayer, here I go again with a leap of faith. On Monday, if you think of it, say a little prayer.

…and yes, I’ll keep updating everyone!

OR

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Healthcare

Turning the page but not losing sight of the old

It’s January 1, 2018. You may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “well, duh.” Our resolutions to lose weight or become a marathon runner quickly escape our grasp as we reach for the last cookie from Christmas. Well maybe not that quick…I’ll give you a couple more hours.

Yesterday someone had a very valid point. Resolutions can be challenging in themselves, but add on multiple chronic illnesses and it turns into a tightrope course. Personally my balance sucks (I’m not even going to attempt to figure out how many times I fell in 2017). What if instead of resolutions, we set a goal each day? To me that seems manageable. We do it all the time already. Why not stick with what we know? There is nothing written in stone that says, “you MUST declare a resolution on Jan 1…or else!”

Let’s make 2018 the year for us. If we aren’t caring for ourselves, then how can we be expected to carry out multiple roles that we occupy on a daily basis. That seems like an obtainable goal. Let’s get better at self care and let go of everything that is holding us back. We only live once, so we need to make this life something that we cherish each and every day.

Putting yourself first is not selfish. It is actually a gift. Others take care of us too, but we need to start the process. Hold yourself accountable for your actions.

Before we completely start a new chapter, we need to finish the one we were just on. What was 2017 like in your book? I know for many of us, it was a rollercoaster ride.

My year was a whirlwind of good and bad. I have more insight into my medical condition and have a booming blog (thanks to all of you)! Most important in the good column is that I’m sitting here breathing. That is something that we should all be thankful for.

2017 was also a year of losses. Several very close friends of mine passed away. The world somehow seems a little smaller without them in it. Even though they will live on in our hearts forever, the physical emptiness is profound. One of the hardest things about doing Christmas cards is taking names off of the list.

This was a year of exploration and discovery. It seemed like opportunities have been appearing around every corner. My disease finally gave me something to really be grateful for. I didn’t think that would ever happen. Good things can come out of bad situations. They may not be in the way we thought. But, ultimately the man upstairs has a lot in store for you and I.

As we turn the page. Don’t forget to sign on the dotted line. 2017 deserves your autograph. 2018 is just getting started. So here’s to goals, self care and putting yourself first. You’re armed with an assignment….now get going! The minutes are ticking away.

When you call on me
When I hear you breath
I get wings to fly
I feel that I’m alive
When you look at me
I can touch the sky
I know that I’m alive
When you bless the day
I just drift away
All my worries die
I’m glad that I’m alive

~Celine Dion

happy new year 2018