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The Biggest Operation Yet


I left for New York with my family the day after Christmas, 2003. I went to the hospital (NSUH) for some tests that night. Then, we had to pass time through the weekend. We went shopping at the mall and saw a couple of movies. Then, early Monday morning, we checked in to the hospital. I got to meet Dr. Milhorat that morning in the surgical prep. area. He and Dr. Bolognese were both very reassuring and comforting. I was still really nervous when they rolled me away.

The O.R. was very bright and cold, as always. It's always scary to think that in just a few minutes, they'll be cutting your head open. So it's best not to think about that. They had to position me on the table for the fusion. I layed on my stomach while they pulled my head out at different angles until I told them it was comfortable. Then they took some x-rays right on the table, from that position, to make sure that angle would take the pressure off my brainstem. Then, I remember laying back down on the table, and having my I.V. put in. Then, I woke up in the recovery room. I was on a morphine pump right away, so it wasn't too bad.

I had screws put in my top four vertebrae. Then two titanium rods were put in along the back of my head. This helped to raise my skull up away from my spine. This straightened out my brainstem. The operation was quite a success.

Now I have to go about the business of recovery. This process of intense physical therapy is very difficult. I'm walking on a thin line here. I have to work hard to get better, but I can't overdo it, or I will cause a setback. So physical therapy continues through the end of April. And hopefully, if all goes well, I will be able to walk and drive myself by summer. Following this plan, I will also be able to return to school in August.

 

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