a screw loose...

Well, so much for keeping up with this blog! Seeing as how my last post was in February, I obviously have not been finding the time to write like I had hoped. But that is mostly because I don't have too much to write about! And that's a good thing. I have been consistently healthy, strong, and living my life as though I haven't gone through so many surgeries.

However, I can say there are definite challenges to raising a toddler with a full fusion. Right now my almost 2 year old's whole goal in life is to run, climb and jump. I am constantly having to run after him, squat to grab him, or pick him up. Bath time has been my biggest challenge, as I have to be incredibly careful not to twist as I lean over the side of the tub, and even when I do that successfully, the movement still seems to irritate my residual nerve pain that runs down my leg.

All that being said though, I am learning how to compensate for the difficulties that arise from my handicap. I am aware that I just can't do all the things, the same way I did when I was a nanny before I had the surgery. I can't have a physical activity every single day, and not irritate my back, so we stay at home several days a week and do fun activities at home that are easy on my back. I can't carry Jude around for very long, so I always bring the stroller everywhere we go. I tried a little gymnastics class, but found that the movements I had to do to keep up with Jude ended up hurting my back. So I found a music class, that we both enjoy, but doesn't irritate my back.

I do think that if I didn't have the residual nerve pain from my damaged nerves, I would hardly notice my fusion at this point, almost three years post op. Although my nerve pain is drastically lessened (and really only noticeable after a LOT of specific activities, ie. squatting or bending) it is a challenge that is still a part of my life that I have to make allowances for. It is dramatically better than it was before my last surgery. I wouldn't be able to take care of my son at all with the level of pain I had before. But it still there, and I have to accommodate it.

Today is my yearly check in with my surgeon. I have two appointments a year now, to follow up on my back. At my last visit 6 months ago, they found that the nut of one of my screws had managed to come loose and is just hanging out right around the screw. My surgeon said that it wasn't anything to be worried about, since the muscles should keep it right there and never move too much more. Worst case scenario, (and I hope it never comes to this!) they could go in via a very minor surgery and remove it. This hardware malfunction is one of the risks they warn you about pre-op and honestly, I've heard of much worse cases. My surgeon said he didn't know why it happened, and even if he had an idea, he would never know the real reason it came loose, so he didn't want to give me any ideas. He did say that he didn't think it had anything to do with increased activity, and that I shouldn't be worried that I caused it in anyway. The reality is, I have hardware in my back, and it's man made. Even though it's state of the art, it's not natural and things can go wrong. My bones have fused around the actual screw, so my screw isn't actually loose. They will be x-raying me again today, and we will be able to see if the screw nut has moved at all in the last 6 months. Since I didn't even know that it had gotten loose before that x-ray six months ago, and my pain level hasn't really increased, I would assume that things are doing okay in there.

I can't believe I'm only two months away from my 3 year anniversary mark. I am still so glad that I had the surgery, and I can't imagine what my life would look like now if I hadn't gone through it. I'll do my best to check in around the 3 year mark. Please continue to send me your questions and emails, because even though I don't have much time to blog, I love helping you all in any way I can. It's a blessing to me to be able to use what I've been through to help others!