California. What a whirlwind. Our trip to California was a complete whirlwind. I meant to post before we left. I really did. But you know how it goes….shoots, laundry, meetings, watching the Broncos lose miserably in the playoffs… life catches up to you.
Let’s just back-up a few steps before I get into everything. Just a little recap, the whole reason we went out to California was to meet with 2 neurosurgeons who specialize in a surgery to fix a broken bone inside of my skull. I first was diagnosed back in September after experiencing some whacky symptoms and since then I’ve met with 2 other doctors here in CO for 2nd and 3rd opinions. The 2nd opinion didn’t go so well. That doctor had me mostly convinced that nothing was wrong with me and that this was just all in my head (no pun intended). The 3rd opinion was 2 weeks ago and that doctor hesitantly confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a less-invasive (and less successful) surgery. David and I both agreed that we would allow the surgeons at UCLA to be the final authority on everything since they are the most knowledgable and experienced with this disorder and how to treat it. So, off to California we went. Hoping for clarity. Hoping for direction.
To be honest, the 2nd doctor I met with here in CO had me pretty convinced that there was nothing actually wrong with me. To the point where I didn’t even believe the 3rd opinion I got 2 weeks ago. To the point where as I walked onto UCLA’s campus, I anticipated hearing them say the same thing. I was pretty convinced they were going to say “listen, you’re fine. Go home, take an aspirin and call us in 6 months.”
So I was quite surprised when both neurosurgeons independently confirmed I do have SCDS and that surgery would be the best course of treatment for me. Not only did they confirm it, but they did it with confidence, assurance and ease. There was no questioning, no guessing or wavering. The first doctor reviewed my CT scans and told me within the first 5 minutes that I was a “classic case” of SCDS. The second doctor said he was “without a doubt, 100% certain the bone was broken” and then said he was equally confident that he could fix it.
We talked about the surgery…
The risks: Ummm, it’s technically brain surgery so there are a gazillion risks. Also, they have to shave part of my head. Yeah, big risk there.
The rewards: Bone is fixed! No more vertigo! No more noises in my head! No more worrying about things getting worse! Peace! Also, they have a 90% success rate
Potential complications: Infection. 10% of people do not get better after surgery
Recovery time: Totally varies. Some people are fine in 3-6 weeks. Some people are fine in 9-12 months.
David and I spent a lot of time talking. Weighing our options. Praying. Thinking, pondering, hypothesizing and discerning. Before we left for California, we prayed. We mostly prayed for clarity. That God would give us wisdom and that the correct path would be made clear to us. Over and over we prayed for clarity. Others prayed for clarity for us. And clarity is what we got. God couldn’t have made it more clear to us. Crystal. Clear.
I know that choosing surgery is the right decision. I feel it in my spirit. Most people with this disorder get worse as time goes on. It never gets better. The bone can’t heal without surgery. I’m young. I can’t live the rest of my life as things slowly digress. I can’t sit here waiting for the day when I’m so dizzy that I can no longer walk. Plus, these surgeons are literally the best in the country at this. We felt so comfortable with their level of skill and knowledge, I know that I’ll be in the hands of the best. David and I have the same peace about moving forward, which is always a good sign that we’re on the right track.
The risks are there and they are scary. But to me, the scariest thing is not doing anything as my quality of life slowly goes downhill. We’re waiting to hear back right now on an exact surgery date, but they seemed to think it would be sometime in the next 4-9 weeks or so. Hopefully between now and then, my fears won’t take over and I’ll be able to maintain my conviction that this really is the right decision.