One year ago from today, I was sitting in a hospital bed at Cedar Sinai. I was awaiting a 4 hour surgery on my spine. My son Harvey was only 6 1/2 months old, and I had tried everything to fix the spinal headaches that I was having because of the epidural I received when I gave birth.
If you have never heard of spinal headaches, I am so glad. They are terrible. I lived in level 10 pain for months, and the pain was misdiagnosed as migraine headaches. After being overmedicated, receiving no relief, and feeling like I had no hope, the doctor’s finally realized what was actually happening.
I received several MRIs, one that lasted 2 1/2 hours. I even had a CT scan and other imaging tests. The doctors concluded that I had a tear in the dura of my spinal. Medical professionals often call this a CSF leak and say you suffer from low pressure headaches. The only good thing about the condition is the headaches go away when you lay flat. Unfortunately, you cannot lay down non-stop when you have a little one to care for.
In most cases a blood patch will fix this problem, but I had three unsuccessful attempts. Surgery was my last hope. Fortunately, the surgery was a success! The surgeon temporarily removed four of my vertebras and patched two nicks on my dura. He added extra padding to this muscle to prevent further leaking. After three days in the hospital, I was sent me home to rest. I wasn’t allowed to bend or lift for a month. My mom had to take care of my Harvey.
Please know, I’m not sharing this to gain your sympathy. I know everyone has different trials in their life, and this was something in my life that was hard. BUT, it made me a better person and a better mom.
It’s much easier to be grateful for simple things that were not possible when I was sick.
When I was recovering from my surgery, I couldn’t hold Harvey. My mom used to lay him on the bed by me so I could feed him his bottle.
A few weeks after my surgery, we took a few pictures as a family and I could barely get ready. I had to lay on the bed and do my makeup like this so I wouldn’t strain my back. I remember feeling exhausted.
During the pictures, the only way we could get a picture of me and Harvey was to bring a chair. I remember sitting on this chair for a few minutes feeling so uncomfortable. I wondered if I would ever recover.
Today, life has changed SO MUCH!!!
I’ve gone back to sitting in the sink to do my makeup. I love to sit there when I need good lighting. Although I don’t sit there everyday, it’s nice to know that my back is strong enough to handle it when I want to look my best.
Last year at this time, I remember it was all I could do to take my sweet boy to the pumpkin patch. It’s amazing how pain changes your life and makes it difficult to live normally. Now that I’m not in constant pain, this small outing was exciting and not so overwhelming. We recently took Harvey to the pumpkin patch with friends. We rode the train together. I ran after him for what seemed like hours, took him down a slide, and even snapped a few fun photos.
I’m so grateful to enjoy these moments, for the miracle of modern medicine, and for life’s precious gifts.