My surgery is only 2 days away now and I am getting more and more anxious. I don't really know what to expect. I have never even been under anesthesia before. For every procedure I have had where I was given the option to be put under, I have always opted to stay awake. There's just something about being put to sleep that terrifies me... perhaps the possibility of never waking up? Yes, that must be it.
So the neurosurgeon explained the basics to me regarding my procedure, but with the clock ticking I feel some more in-depth sleuthing is necessary.
PART ONE: The Discectomy
The neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon enters the space between two discs through an incision in front of and at the right or left side of the neck. The disc is completely removed, as well as arthritic bone spurs. The disc material, pressing on the spinal nerve or spinal cord, is then completely removed. The intervertebral foramen, the bone channel through which the spinal nerve runs, is then enlarged with a drill giving the nerve more room to exit the spinal canal. (Wikipedia)
And I thought showering was gross.
PART TWO: Application of the Artificial Disc
(Above: My soon-to-be Robo-neck)
When they once would have removed the injured disc and fused the two vertebrae together, there is a newer technique that involves an artificial disc implant. The artificial disc (or spacer) is placed between the two vertebrae following the discectomy and is then fixed into place using screws. That's right folks, I am going to be part robot!
Maybe getting schooled on all of this was a bad idea right now. But knowledge is power, right? I am trying to stay positive, and that means thinking about all of this from the "Bionic Woman" perspective.
The American television series "The Bionic Woman" aired for three seasons starting in 1976. It starred Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a tennis player who almost lost her life during a tragic skydiving accident. After being "rebuilt" using artificial or bionic parts she gained certain special powers: the ability to run faster, increased hearing in her right ear and super strength in her right arm.
Is it a coincidence that my injury also happens to extend into the right side of my body? I can't wait to see what new superpowers I will have!
Check out the clip below to get a sense of what to expect from me in the coming months.