Fonts Used: KG Somebody That I Used to Know, KG Skinny Latte, KG Kiss Me Slowly, KG Eyes Wide Open & KG Call Me Maybe
It was 20 years ago, but sometimes it seems just like yesterday. It was the most difficult trial of my life, but I learned more about myself & the strength I possessed. I no longer ask, “Why me?” or “Why did God punish me?” Instead, I tell myself, “Be strong, learn & move forward.” And if I have a moment of darkness & forget, I merely have to hold two titanium screws & I am reminded of all I overcame.
As a teenager I suffered from migraines & numbness in my arms & legs. The doctors never found anything physiologically wrong, so it was written off as hereditary migraines. At age 20, the symptoms were drastic & after going from one doctor to another I was finally able to meet with a spine surgeon.
I will never forget that meeting. I was at a military hospital, so you have to have a consultation to see a specialist. When the orthopedic surgeon looked at my X-rays, he said I needed to see the spine doctor. I was handed the scans, he phoned the doctor & off I went to the Neurosurgery office. I walked in but no one was there as it was lunch time. I stepped into the hallway & said, “Hello?” A man in Army fatigues stepped out & asked if I had the scans. “Yes,” I responded. He took them from me, pulled the X-rays out of the sleeve & put them on the light box.
What happened next still haunts me. The doctor said out loud: “This person is dead.”
The color in my face drained. The apparent shock & white pallor must have clued the doctor in that it was my neck he was looking at. He was so scared to even let me drive home that day because one slight hit could sever my spinal cord & either paralyze me or kill me. My 1st vertebra had lifted up off my spinal column & was sitting in front of it, pulling all the nerves. It was thought that a car accident at the age of 14 caused the C-spine to break.
The first surgery consisted of a piece of bone from my hip, wire & a halo. Six months later, all the symptoms were back. My body rejected the bone graph. Fortunately, a new technology had just been approved: Inserting titanium screws through C2 into C1 to hold the bones together to allow a fusion. It also meant NO HALO! The surgery was a success.
I learned later that there were only 3 spine surgeons in the Army & the doctor I had was stationed to my hometown 2 months before my first surgery. One month before the 2nd break an Air Force spine surgeon was sent to that hospital & he brought the screw technology with him. While I was the 2nd person in a military hospital to have this operation, I was the 1st civilian to have it.
Those 2 pieces of hardware are my treasures because they saved my life. You are probably wondering why I have them.
They were taken out in April 2013 because they shifted and I didn't need them anymore. The bones were fused & there is no risk of another break. I am happy to have them because they are a physical reminder that I can handle anything because I survived a broken neck & that I am watched over since I should not have lived as longs as I had with the break.