A reader writes:
I’m writing to ask for prayers. I’m a 52 year old married man with 7 children. Our youngest is 13. Over the past dozen years or so I’ve had several bouts of nerve pain emanating from my neck due to Degenerative Disc Disease. (Despite the evil-sounding name, it is *not* a mental illness characterized by using Frisbees in an immoral way.) Each prior occurrence was resolved after a steroid injection and some physical therapy. Not this time.
Over the past three months I’ve gradually been overpowered by the pain in my right arm and hand, at times being reduced to tears, almost to the point of despair. After pursuing the same course of treatment it became clear to my doctor that I needed surgery to correct the problems in my neck. That was not something I was prepared for initially, but after a second and third opinion I’m scheduled for surgery May 1, at 7:30 am ET.
Rather than just replace multiple discs, my neurosurgeon is doing something called a “Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion,” where he’ll remove most of one vertebra (in my case C5) and replace it with a carbon fiber structure called a “cage,” while at the same time slightly stretching the neck to help relieve pressure on the nerves. The fragments from the removed bone are then embedded in the cage to help the neck fuse with it and the surrounding vertebrae. I am not making this up. Recovery time is generally 8 weeks from surgery with complete fusion taking longer.
I found a link to help explain the operation to my family. http://vimeo.com/26185843 (Of course, the animated video is over-simplified, but showing an actual procedure would probably not go over well.)
Good Lord, I sound like one of those people who talk about their surgeries — and I haven’t even had mine yet! Please forgive me for rambling.
While I look forward to being able to do something more than lie in pain all day, this is not a trivial procedure, and I can’t help being a bit nervous. I would greatly appreciate the prayers of you and your readers for a successful surgery this Wednesday and a full recovery.
Father, hear our prayer for a safe and successful surgery for this man. Restore him to full health in body, soul, and spirit. Give grace, wisdom, skill, knowledge, and compassion to his caregivers and grace, peace, faith, and strength to all who love him. Mother Mary and St. Luke, pray for them. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.