This week has been mentally exhausting for me. I had my second neurosurgeon opinion on Tuesday (3rd opinion overall, including last year’s orthopedic surgeon opinion). All surgeons agree that I should have surgery. Two told me the time frame was up to me while one told me I needed to have it in 2-3 weeks (all were looking at the same MRIs, x-rays, reports). I had read that for cervical surgery one should have a neurosurgeon instead of an orthopedic surgeon. That narrowed my decision to two.
After consulting with my husband, asking on a few ACDF Facebook groups, texting/messaging nurse friends, and writing a pro & con list, I made my decision by Wednesday morning. It was an incredibly difficult decision filled with much anxiety and sleeplessness. I didn’t have a “gut feeling” about one doctor as I had with the ulnar nerve surgery. Each surgeon had polar post-surgery protocols. That made my decision much more confusing. I was not only choosing a surgeon but choosing which recovery I thought would be best for me. One said I would be in a collar for 3 months 24/7, the other said I would be in a collar for two weeks when I was up and about (not while sleeping/sitting). Thankfully I am OCD, so researching is second nature!
This week I also began seeing a new psychologist. I am trying “telehealth” which is basically skyping with a therapist. My new insurance uses Amwell, so I thought that with my time constraints it would be an easy solution. It was the perfect timing with surgery happening in less than four months from now.
The psychologist was a good fit. She understood having a special needs kid, my stress level and, overall, current situation. I feel like it was almost kismet that I made the decision on which therapist to use. The past few weeks it has been suggested to me (by independent sources) that I should use Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The psychologist also made this referral. She told me a couple of websites to consult, one being a link to a free MBSR online course. I read the Introduction/Getting Started sections and will, formally, take the plunge this upcoming week. It is an eight week course which requires 30 minutes of practice time per day. That will be difficult but I really want to make this commitment to myself. (If anyone is interested, the website is palousemindfulness.com)