Google+ Followers

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why I am getting sick more often?

In the last 25 years (that feels weird to say) I seem to average about 1 bad cold per year. It pretty standard and usual hits me around Fall/Winter. The typical cold and flu season. In the last 2.5 years I have noticed that it's about 2 or 3 a year. As we speak I am about 2 days into a cold, which would make it my 4th in the last 12 months. What the heck is going on?? Of course I turn to Google and do a typical search:

"Why am I more  getting sick more often?"
"Are you more susceptible to getting sick when you get older?"

"Do surgeries make you more susceptible to getting sick?" get the picture!

I get the standard links to what causes people to get sick:
1. Lack of a nutritional diet (not a factor)
2. Dehydration (no during the week...maybe somewhat on weekends)
3. Sleep deprivation (Somewhat, especially during the week)
4. Germ contact (yes....but I wash my hands and use sanitizer like it's my second job)
5. Immune disorders (oh lordy I hope not!)
6. Stress (Yes....constant)

Even though I do have a couple of "yes" answers it really something that isn't new. At least in the last 10 years. I do think my work environment plans a roll. Mainly because the number of smokers here that constantly go in and out all day. I've noticed that my co-workers are more sick than where I have been in the past. Therefore I don't think my susceptibility has changed or is a result from multiple surgeries. I guess my germaphobe ways will just continue.....

Sorry Troy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back in the swing of things

I'm 36 days post-op and couldn't feel better. I actually feel like my "normal" self again. The "sparks" or "zaps" I used to get around my incision have subsided. Although I did experience one or two over the weekend, but that was during the consumption of some alcohol. I am note sure if that really had anything to do with it. As usual I am still careful not to drink too much or workout too hard. I'm doing everything pretty much on a gradual basis. 

I do have a confession. I had my hair cut and highlighted a week ago, despite my neurosurgeon's warning. I've been through this before and technically waiting 4 weeks is pretty standard. Plus they use foils so the color never really is on your scalp. And of course my incision area wasn't highlighted. My stylist was also very careful with making sure there was little to no heat on my head. issues!

I'm scheduled for a follow up at the end of the month, but I might push that appointment back just a little :)

On a completely different side note I have a request. If you've been reading my posts you know the last year has had it's good share of ups and downs. And right now a certain person in my life was hit with another "down" yesterday. I ask for prayers and good thoughts that things will turn around and this person will gain strength and get through this. And hopefully come out better than before. Thank you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How one surgery turned to five surgeries

What was supposed to be one brain surgery has turned into five over the course of 6 years. This was all due to a bone/surgical infection. Here's a breakout of what was done each surgery:

Surgery #1: Everything went well after my first surgery on 7/11/07. After two weeks I was back in my neurosurgeon's office to have the staples removed, which is very typical. After removing a few staples I felt drainage and a not so pleasant odor. My incision was infected. 

Surgery #2: I had to be admitted back to the hospital the next day to remove the bone flap and get a picc line in my arm so I could be put on IV antibiotics for 6 weeks. I had no skull piece or plate to protect the opening in my head during this time. Similar to a large size baby's soft spot. I had to extremely cautious not to hit my head or do anything rigorous. I was given a helmet that I was suppose to wear while driving. It mostly stayed in the trunk of my car. 

Surgery #3 (December 2007):  Surgery to put the titanium mesh and bone cement to cover the hole in my skull.

*After this surgery I noticed that the ridge from the mesh/cement was pretty thick and I thought it would eventually pierce the skin. It did after about 2 years. It started as a tiny opening and eventually got bigger where you could see part of the titanium mesh. In August of 2013 I woke one morning and noticed fluid draining from the opening. It was clear, but had a slightly thicker consistency than water. I immediately made an appointment with my neurologist and new neurosurgeon. They thought it was cerebral-spinal fluid leaking out, but I wasn't having symptoms like headaches or dizziness. Because the titanium mesh had been exposed to air they knew there would be some type of infection that could continue to get worse. Therefore I would have to go through another two surgeries in order to fix this issue. 

Surgery #4 (October 2013): Remove titanium mesh and bone cement. Culture these to find out what bacteria was growing on them. Another picc line was inserted into my right arm and I was on IV antibiotics for 7 weeks. Similar to surgery #2 I had nothing to protect my skull opening and had to be very cautious not to hit my head or be in a place where my head could accidentally be hit (like large crowds).

*A specific CT scan was done post surgery to get the exact measurement of the hole in my skull. A custom plastic piece was going to be made to fit my skull that had the durability of bone and fit flush into my skull. 

Surgery #5 (December 2013): The new plastic piece was put in and I was on oral antibiotics for 10 days after surgery.

Recent update: After 3 1/2 weeks post surgery I feel pretty much back to normal with no head pains. My energy level is increasing and my appetite is normal. I make sure I do some type of exercise everyday to build my strength. Nothing too rigorous because I am supposed to not sweat, which could cause bacteria to grow around the incision. I focus mainly on walking, yoga and some light strength training. I still have to use baby shampoo everyday for the next 2 weeks or so. As promised I will get some updated pictures too!   

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sutures out

My sutures were removed last Thursday and needless to say I was very happy! My surgeon was impressed at the way my incision was healing and lack of any complications. Occasionally I get a few light, sharp pains, but they are pretty few and far between now. I still have restrictions on what I can do... like working out, coloring/cutting hair, etc. 

My surgeon is pretty stubborn so I basically take what he says and cut it in half (or less)! For instance he wants me to wait until May to get my hair highlighted....basically 6 month post surgery. That's a joke. I've been through this before and even other neuro teams in hospitals say 3-4 weeks. I refrained from telling him I booked an appointment for next Tuesday. Yeah....I'm stubborn too!

My hair is continuing to grow at a pretty decent rate. I'm hoping to have an updated picture for my next post! Stay tuned!