Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm sorry to all those who read my entry and may have gotten scared from that. It's a little incite into the mind of someone scared at the prospect of back surgery (which ended up turning into back surgeries). But I survived. Maybe came out a better person on the other side of it because. Or not; that remains to be seen of course.

So I went in Monday morning to the post-op surgery dept. Having gotten little sleep, everything both bright and exciting, while at the same blurred and gently rocking. I was on edge. Adrenaline began pumping through my veins. When my mother handed me a case for my glasses, I nervously began pumping them in and out. I could see my mother and father getting more tense beside me. Words of comfort came naturally to their lips, though I tell this was more through practice than through a real sense of calm. I touched my shoulder to the word inscribed there: "Calm". It brought me down a notch.

I undressed, getting into my gown and stockings. I lay there feeling vulnerable and weak. Blogging the night before surgery was possibly the worst idea I've ever had, since all my thoughts were now tangible and real. I was wheeled to the surgery room. I remember seeing the lights. All the rest was a blur until I began to wake up.

It's impossible to pinpoint moments and specific memories. What I remember was someones head slowly moving gently back and forth before my eyes. A nurse I think. Asking if I knew what my name was, if I knew where I was, and what date it was. I have now been asked those same questions more times than I can count. But I couldn't move. The work on my back had made it impossible move in the way that I had been so use to moving. In none but those first few day can I remember being so trapped and helpless. The button for pain was pushed a lot these last few.

I was told that surgery and gone well, that the anterior portion of the spinal chord had been essentially fixed. Having done a CT after this however, they found a small spot of stenosis on the posterior of my spine (my backside, for those not keeping up). This would require one more surgery, to be performed Friday. In a strange way this was actually good news. The area was smaller and easier to get to (since they would not have to go through my chest cavity to get there). Plus, I'd managed to survive one of these already, what was a little more on top of these.

I'll blog on the few days in between on a separate post.

The second surgery was later in the day. Stiff all that morning, I had mostly laid awake, pushing my pain button when-ever it felt appropriate. Starred a lot at the ceiling. I was wheeled down there saying that my parents were not here yet but they would meet us at the surgery door. I saw them before I went in, bedecked from head to toe in blue of various types of glove/hats/masks/etc. I grasped the hand of my dad, squeezing it tight. I grasped my mom's and looked into her eyes, willing her to have strength during the hours when I would be unconscious. I remember looking up at the pink multi-bulbed lights over my head as I wheeled in.

The next thing I remember was slightly surreal. It was the character's from The Fantastic Mr. Fox, whispering slowly round my bead. And Mr. Fox came slowly into focus. Eventually he switched from being stop-motion to real motion, and from being a Fox to my nurse. And I was back again.

I was under longer than expected because they found a lesion on my spine, which had adhered to the spinal column. They then closed my back, leaving me in the best condition my back had been in for some time.

Hopefully this is all the surgeries I will need. I want to be done (though I know there are some that are going to be needed far down the line). For now though, I am safe, I am not great but I AM recovering.

This post is riddled with typos/ loose ends of sentences, and things that don't really make much sense. I typed this at the end of tiring day, when I was VERY tired. I will make some changes/editing choices to it in the future, but for now I just need to let people know that things went well. More coming soon. (having read it once before I got more sleep, I think I will leave this post as is (as it already entertaining when I don't have the ability to fix it) and post a more legible post later. I just needed to get something up here after the rather sad last post. I am alive and once again on the long road to recovery.


  1. Yes, you are alive, little brother. And thank God for that. I'm learning so much from you as you go on this journey. If I could be there to say hello or just watch kids' cartoons with you, you know I would. BIG HUGS from Wisconsin... plus some cat love too...

  2. Love you Peter and have not stopped praying! Glad to know you are alive....I suspect a call soon! Miss you big!