Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Goa'uld Scar

Okay, if you get the title of this post, then you're a geek. But I also love you just a little bit more. (If you don't get it, ask one of your favorite geeks. They all get it.) Or, if you don't want to admit that you don't get it, you can find out for yourself.

So for the first few months after surgery, it actually did kind of feel like I had an evil parasite in my neck. But now that I've healed, and learned the ins and outs of working with my stimulator, I've come to love it. It's been just over six months now (I know! Can you believe it?!) so of course I started going in to reflection mode. And I know some of you were curious, so I figured I'd share a little more about what it all is.

Not an evil parasite after all.
This is the electrode - not the actual one that's in my neck, but similar. It was implanted under the vertebrae of the cervical spine, where it sends electrical impulses through the nerves. So now instead of the horrible pain from the CRPS that I had been feeling constantly for years, I just feel the electric tingling.

It definitely took some getting used to, and it doesn't completely solve the problem, but it does do a world of good. 

The electrodes are attached to a battery just like this one. It's implanted just under the skin in my back, roughly in the kidney area. With periodic charging, it keeps everything going. They say that the battery should last for about 10 years, after which they'll have to go back in and replace it. Fortunately, the incision for this part was nothing - not anywhere near as miserable as the one for the electrodes. So that surgery should be no problem. 

As you know if you've followed this blog, particularly in the early days, the recovery from this surgery was not, by any stretch of the imagination, easy. It was painful. Really, really painful. I couldn't move, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I couldn't do anything for myself. It wasn't something I'd want to go through every day.

But that lasted for a few months. By about the 4th month, I was pretty much able to resume most activities, and the pain had gotten much easier to deal with. (It probably would have taken even less time to reach that point if I hadn't developed complications. But even those eventually passed.) And now, 6 months out, I think I can safely say that I'm completely healed. While I still have other pre-surgery issues that I'm continuing to deal with, I haven't had any more problems from the surgery itself. Overall, I'd definitely say it was totally worth it.

And ok, we all know that this scar is actually from where the electrode was implanted. But be honest - next time you see me, isn't a little part of you going to want to check and make sure my eyes don't glow?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life Happens

Wow. Melissa doesn't blog much these days, does she? Yeah, there's a lot of things that Melissa doesn't get to do much. (Sigh.) Besides all of the health stuff that I've told you about, I also have a house and a husband and two little kids to take care of, and I'm a full time student. So needless to say (and yet apparently I'm going to say it anyway) my life is a little bit hectic.

I saw an old friend a few months ago, and he was asking me how school was going. He said "you're finishing your Master's, right?" Ouch. I just kind of hung my head. "No. Bachelor's." Not that I could blame him. When somebody is my age and still in school, it's probably a fair assumption that it's grad school. But nope. Not for me. For a minute I started to feel kind of bad, like I should be farther along at this point in my life. But then I realized that it is what it is, and I don't have anything to feel bad about.

Do I sometimes wish that I could have finished college the first time I started? When I was single, and childless, and 14 years younger? You betcha! I think about how nice it might have been to be "one of the kids" instead of "that weird old lady that reminds me of my mom." Or how nice it would have been to be able to do homework without having to stop every couple of minutes because one of the kids needs something.

But it just didn't work out that way. No matter how much I had wanted to finish college when I was just out of high school, my health got in the way, and things had to be put on hold. Things happen. Life happens. But no matter how tempting it might be to play the "if only..." game, it doesn't do any good. And it's kind of silly, because it always leads me to the same conclusion.

If only I had finished college in my twenties, instead of in my thirties, life would be different. Maybe I could have had a Master's by now. Or even a PhD. Maybe I would have a career that I love, and be making lots of money. But maybe I wouldn't have married my husband. Or had these two beautiful children. Would things be different? Definitely. Would I change a thing? Absolutely not.

Of course, for anyone who still has the chance, I would definitely advise with all of my might that if you are able to finish school when you are young - DO IT! But if you're like me, and life just didn't work out that way when you were younger, don't ever feel like it's too late. Sometimes things get in the way for a while, and sometimes you have to take a detour or two, but eventually you can find your way back. I did.