Spine Journey: Screw Removal

“Strength comes when you think that you cannot make it anymore, but you keep going.”

Hi! I hope you have wonderful days. It has been quiet a long time since I talked about my spine condition in my previous post. As I promised, I would like to convey the story of screw removal that occurred on August 29th, 2017. In case if my scoliosis fellow experience the same thing as I am.

Rekindling my previous story, I had to conduct the screw removal of right L3 and L4 spine implant after felt incessant pain in my right foot. There was an inference that the L3 and L4 screws were too close to the nerve. The foot is the area that is affected if something wrong goes in L3 or L4. Actually, the screws were not touching the nerve, but the position looked so close on the CT scan. Therefore, maybe they would touch a little part of the nerve whenever I moved.

The surgery preparation was less complex than the spinal fusion. I only did the thorax and blood examination the day before. Luckily, my hemoglobin was in a good state so I didn’t have to transfuse blood like I did in the past. I also didn’t have problem with blood coagulation.

I was picked up to the operating theater at 8 am. I feel no tense at all. Maybe I got used to the circumstance and the smell of anesthetics. Before I get unconscious, the doctors were make fun of me because I got much skinnier than 8 months ago. Then, I was humming and sing along the playlist played in the operating theater’s speaker. As I laid there, I remember the video that my dad recorded last year. It was the video of me laying in operating bed with my back being dissected. I could see the titanium stuck in my bones. Well, it wouldn’t be that bad this time. I closed my eyes while thought about throwing away NSAIDs after so many years.

The next thing that I was conscious and still in the operating theater. The time spent for the surgery was an hour. I looked for the pain that should be linger in my lumbar, but there was just 0.5% of the spinal fusion total pain. I realized after that day, I become more tolerate to pain because I have felt the formidable one. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I quickly could overcome the effect of anesthetics that I suddenly able to discuss my medication with the doctors right after I opened my eyes.

Six hour after the surgery, I could force myself to get up and to walk. I did it smoothly that learning to walk again became a matter of course. Every time I set my foot on the earth all I felt was pain firing through my upper right foot, especially from my lumbar to my crotch. That day, I finally saw the implants that has been removed from my spine. There were two screws and two nuts that looked like this.

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The pain lasted for 9 days. I felt something wrong about that because the pain should be eliminated after screw removal. The nerves’ function near L3 and L4 should not be disordered anymore. There might be another cause of my right foot soreness, so I immediately visit the doctor. Apparently, my presumption was true. I was being told that I experience a bad muscle spasm in my upper right foot but maybe it was not the only cause. The spine team should analyze deeper. In that very moment, I stared blankly with no words. My head filled with the inwardly thought of ‘wow, it isn’t over yet?’. The next words came from Dr. Luthfi was ‘You can’t give up, because every time we find the obstacle, we must find the cause and the remedy until we make it. Whatever it takes. You can’t just back up…’. Those sentence picked me up again from wanting to give up.

So, I was prescribed NSAIDs and physiotherapy for once every two days as a makeshift effort to endure the pain. I’ve done the physiotherapy for two weeks and there was still no revulsion on my right foot. Finally, I was asked to do the Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI to examine what’s wrong about my right foot. I will explain the result in separate post because it is quite a long story.

Somewhere in my mind I keep asking God why, but I also keep remind myself that this is the meander path I have to walk through. It is going somewhere and I have to follow it until the end. It surely one hell of a ride but I believe that it leads to the greater good. In spite of all misgivings, it shapes me to the person that I become today. Do not be ashamed of the wars that your soul has fought to save itself.

 

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