Gene encountered a snafu when the x-ray that was ordered did not show his whole rib cage. Dr. Dickman needs an accurate rib count before he operates (some people have an extra rib). Seeing as he is doing a laproscopic procedure and needs to go between the ribs, he needs to be certain where to venture in.
So... we are waiting on return phone calls to rectify the situation and get another x-ray sent to the Dr..
Meanwhile we are fitting in every event we possibly can before we have to head out to Phoenix. We always intended to make it to our grandson's first birthday this past weekend ~ and did. This coming weekend we are babysitting both grands for 3 nights. Then we have a couple other things on the calendar ~ Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on the 1st of May and an Aldridge Garden's recognition event one night. Hopefully we will make those and the surgery will be right after them. My hopes are for surgery in May, since my first hope was March, and then April, both of which failed.
As soon as we have a date, we will send out a notice to everyone to let you know the plans. So, catch up on Gene's situation here and stay tuned!
First I wanted to share with you that herniation's in the Thoracic region are rare. Only 1-2 percent of back problems occur there. Also, the following description of the region will show you how hard it is to reach the herniation's: The thoracic spine is built for stability. The ribs attached to T1-T10 curve around to meet at the front of the body and attach to the chest wall, or sternum. Combined, the thoracic spine and rib cage anchoring each level of the spine from T1 – T10 provide both stability and a protected space for the heart, lungs, liver and other vital organs. So, you see, a major surgery due to the fact the doctor has to come in from the front and deflate a lung and work close to the aortic artery and heart. Normally the surgery is done like a heart surgery and they open you up. The minimally invasive way will still be a serious surgery, but it will involve separating a few ribs from the front side to allow the instruments passage instead of cutting Gene open. Dr. Dickman is a practiced surgeon, who 'invented' this procedure well over 10 yrs. ago and we trust he will be successful in reaching the herniation's without any complications. Side note; there are no guarantees that the pain will go away after surgery. Our prayers will be for Gene to be pain free afterwards!!
Here is an overview of what has been going on for the past year: Note that the first 11 1/2 months of 2011 were spent trying to buy, remodel and move into the Bruno's grocery store bld. for our new location of Hoover Tactical Firearms, to include a shooting range and deli. Can we say stress for Gene?
- January 16, 2011 slept on a very uncomfortable mattress in LV / 2 nights
- Brought new mattress, but Gene's back had started hurting
- Got a massage to see if it would help pain
- Home on 24th / another massage
- Jan. 26th he went to his GP doctor / shot for pain
- February 4th / MRI / he has 2 herniated discs
- Feb. 7th Gene goes to see Dr. Maher for back
- Pain is bad & Gene cuts a D.C. trip short this week
- Feb. 14th first pain block
- Tried an inversion table but it was too uncomfortable
- March 9 second pain block / helped with radiating pain
- March 16th 11:00 p.m. Gene goes to ER for unrelated situation. He has a staph infection / spends 5 nights in hospital
- March 29 a Full Body scan is done & Gene cancels a D.C. trip
- April 20 Gene's 3rd pain Block
- Manages a D.C. trip with Daniel, but in pain May 8-12th
- June 24th Gene has surgery for his Ulna nerve (elbow)
- July is spent working with a neurosurgeon for pain management
- Pain mng. included the Tene's electrical pulsometer ~ only temp. relief
- Fall is spent opening store (Nov.19) & trying to find comfort in meds & going to therapy to try and deal with issues related to pain (not very successfully)
- December 2011 decision is made to look for a surgeon
- January 24 2012 we meet with Dr. Pritchard at UAB/Kirklin clinic.
- Dr. P was amazing. Explained things so well. Ordered a Mylegram CT to determine the severity of the herniation's. Also agreed to send records to Doctor's in Phoenix, Arizona to see if Gene qualified for a minimally invasive procedure that was designed by Dr. Curtis Dickman.
- Spent almost 2 months to get a response back from Phoenix. Yes
- March 21, 2012 we flew to Arizona to meet Dr. Dickman. It is a go!
- Orders are to get the x-ray of the ribcage (see above) & to get release letters from doctors in Birmingham (done).
- As soon as we have a date Gene is going to have to cut back on his pain meds. Dr. D wants him to go into surgery without any meds on board.
- Gene is prepared for the pain to become intense as he cuts back
- I am prepared (not) to take care of him during that time