The day after Brandon and I returned home from vacation with my family, we packed our car to the brims and headed back to Michigan for the month of November. When I was 12 (2001) I had back surgery for a herniated disk. The surgery was successfully and I spent the next 4 years playing year round volleyball and engaged in normal high school activities - however, when I headed to college in 2006 the pain began to return. Years of doctors appointments, alternative treatments, and chronic pain followed. The doctors knew what was wrong, kind of, but weren't sure how to fix it.
My trendy set of wheels.
Fast forward to 2013 when Brandon asked my dad for permission to marry me. My dad asked him two questions:
1. Do you know what you're getting into?
2. Do you know how expensive she is??
Now normally a girl might be offended that her father was insinuating to her husband-to-be that she was high maintenance, but I knew that my dad was not necessarily referring to my personality, but more so the fact that in our family, I'm generally recognized as the one who is a "medical mess."
Brandon, brave soul that he is, accepted the challenge and married me anyway :)
A few months into our marriage, Brandon decided that he was going to find a solution to my pain! I was pessimistic, but went along with getting a new round of x-rays/MRI/CAT scans done and finding new doctors - including the doctor who did my grandfather's back surgery last summer. To make a long story short, we finally found a surgeon we loved who, after a summer of injections and diagnostic tests, gave us the option of scheduling a surgery with a 60-70% of a positive result. We decided to take the risk.
Because we were so happy with our MI surgeon, after we made the move to MN, we decided to travel back and live with my parents for a month so I could stay with Dr. K.
About 3.5 weeks post-surgery and one of the first days I put on "real" clothes! A visit from Reagan was great medicine, but because I'm on a 5 lb weight limit for the next 3 months someone has to put her in my lap for me!
As it turns out, the surgery was anything but "uneventful." In the two weeks leading up to my surgery date we were convinced it was not going to go through. Our insurance was cancelled, and the new insurance was set to kick in 2 days before surgery - not enough time to get approval. My body was showing numerous signs of pregnancy (which we would have loved and welcomed) - which made for some frantic weeks of testing and doc. visits to see if we needed to cancel surgery. 4 days before the surgery I got a call that I had a random infection and needed to start taking meds for 3 days before the surgery (we were in FL when I got this call). Finally once our insurance was finally figured out (the old insurance extended coverage until the end of the year because of our situation) the insurance company did not follow through with approving my surgery until the day before!
Finally, after everything we had gone through, when I was sitting in pre-op starving (because of an emergency my surgery was pushed back until 5:30 p.m. and I hadn't eaten anything since the night before and a hungry Julianne is not the most pleasant person to be around....), my doctor chose to remind me that this surgery was elective, and I could back out at any time.
I broke down. Thankfully my mom and Brandon told me NO WAY was I backing out, and when the doctor came out to talk to them post-op he said things were worse than he had ever expected and that if I hadn't gone through with surgery now he was certain I would have needed it in a few months.
After 5 days in the hospital, I headed home with my own walker and a brand new set of hardware gracing my lower back!
The last month and a half has been very difficult - recovery is slow and tedious, and there have been some setbacks along the way. But Brandon has been an absolute gem - in both living with his in-laws for 5 weeks and in caring for me, and I couldn't have done this without him.
Brandon's work was awesome and let him work remotely for the month - including a few days from the hospital!
It's still too early to tell the full results of the surgery, but we are hopeful!