Post Surgery Lull

In what was probably our final face to face conversation yesterday, Mr. Boeree mentioned something very important.  I haven’t read about it much online, but a few friends that have endured a major surgery have imparted their experience on the subject to me as well.

The work-up to surgery is intense, consuming and exciting in a way.  It’s an emotional high to get everything organized and done.  When it’s over, some people start to feel a little lost.  Physically, your body has been torn apart and is releasing hormones to help repair everything and slow down.  Mr. Boeree said that depression happens often and to be aware of it.  I will try to be and will explain this to my family.  Hopefully it isn’t an issue, but it is good to be aware.

The car ride and elevator bump were pretty hard on me yesterday and I’m taking it very easy today.  I’ve walked for a total of about 20 minutes so far and will try to rest some more.


Incision, Day 4

Still very swollen and sore!

I was discharged today!  I’m back at the hilton, resting.  The elevator door closed on me, startled me, pushed me back and sent a shock down my left leg!  This is going to take some getting used to. 😉


It’s really great that they get you up and about as soon as they feel your are ready.  I’ve been walking a bit more today and finally got to take a shower.  I’ve set a goal to walk down the halls 4 times over the day today and we’ll see how close I get.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Buttered toast and coffee for breaky today was spot on!  The staff here are exceptional and my stay has been very comfortable so far.

Simon was nice enough to pop in and say hello this morning during one of his physiotherapy sessions.  It’s really encouraging to see someone doing so well 10 weeks out of surgery!


Last Night Was Rough

The real pain kicked in at about 1:30am. Ouch. I knew it would hurt, but not that much! I had spoken with enough patients to know the first 24-48 hours can be hell. The paracetomol(spelling?) has helped a lot. It was more of a muscle pain… Maybe a spasm. It’s happened twice now and isn’t much fun. I don’t know how some people say they just have incision pain afterward. Very lucky people!

I finally spoke with Mr Boeree this am. My disc had shrunk even smaller than the MRI indicated and was very damaged. I ended up with a large M6 at 10mm height and 6 degree lordosis. He was very happy to show me his great placement on the films from the operating theatre! 😉

All I can tell you right now is that I’m very glad to feel my big toes again!

One more thing. Top Gear is awesome. I could watch it all day long! (and probably will) Laughing is tough on the incision!

Ok So Far

Well… I didn’t go under until about 12:30pm. Talk about torture and second guessing while waiting in my room! I haven’t spoken with Mr. Boeree yet, but everything seems to progressing right now. I had some small belly rumbles, so I hope it is a good sign. The ward sister granted me a couple of ice cubes anyway! Lol. Need to fart to ensure I am on the right track. Ha. No shit. That is the anterior approach benchmark.

Typing on my phone sucks.

Pain around the incision hurts when I move, but is not debilitating. Back pain seems to feel like my normal pain when I lay down for too long. I’m unsure as to my pain killers right now, but I know I haven’t needed morphine yet. As long as I don’t move! 😉

All in all I feel pretty good for being a few hours out of lumbar ADR.



Arrived in Southampton

We’re here!  After a whirlwind tour of London(I made my parents walk close to 15km on Sunday after they arrived, jet lagged and all), we finally made it out to Southampton.  Walking has never been an issue for me – just bending, twisting and such.

My work week in London hurt like hell without NSAIDs.  I was walking, taking the tube, lifting/installing servers and working pretty hard.  The beds in the Radisson Grafton were terrible as well, so I’m really liking my bed at the Hilton in Southampton.  I was ready to leave London when the time came.

I went in for my consultation with the assessment nurse and Mr. Boeree yesterday at 4:00pm.  Needles.  I hate needles.  I had blood taken from both arms 3 vials in my right and 1 vial from my left.  I let the nurses know beforehand of my propensity to pass out, so they let me rest on the bed.  All good.  ECG and blood pressure as well – all checked out.  We then moved in for an xray just to make sure everything was ok for Wednesday.  I’ve gained ~4KG since being stuck on the couch!  74KG to about 78KG now.  I’m still 183cm tall.

I went in to see Mr. Boeree promptly at 6:00pm and was greeted with a very warm smile and handshake.  This guy is the real deal… everything you guys have read about him is true.  We went through my condition once again with my old MRI on his computer screen and the new xray films up on his lamp.  We didn’t really cover any new ground and went through the possible risks associated with a surgery of this nature and I signed off on them.  He explained how the incision would work and how he chooses vertical or horizontal depending on each patient’s own physiology.  When he asked cosmetically which I would prefer, I answered whichever incision makes it easiest for him! 🙂  He also prefers staples to close the wound as they are “cleaner” and leave less of a scar.

The only new ground we covered was his hypothesis on my premature DDD at L4-5.  While looking at my films, he noted I have a high pelvis and my L5-S1 is surrounded by more bone than normal.  Essentially, he thought I could have borderline Bertolotti’s Syndrome.  I had read about this in the forums beforehand during my hours of research, so I understood him immediately.  L5-S1 can’t move as much and L4-5 has taken the brunt of movement for 33 years.  It wore out early as a result.  This would be a larger issue I think for an unconstrained device, but the M6 will keep movement in check for me at L4-5.  Speaking of the devices, I got to handle a charite, prodisc and M6-L!

The first thing you notice is how small they are!  Everything must look bigger on the internet.  The display model of the M6 is significantly looser than the real thing, but is still quite tight to move.  I can tell you it functions quite differently from the other 2 – in a good way.  The keels are tiny as well – maybe 2mm high.  I read Peterk’s blog when he referred to the M6 and thought it wouldn’t last as long as a freedom disc and it kind of freaked me out… but after seeing and touching the M6, I have no reservations.  Hopefully the testing of 20 million cycles under abnormal physical load will prove its worth!

With my ECG and general physical condition checking out, they didn’t need me to meet with the anesthetist today and I’ll meet him for the first time tomorrow morning at 7:00am sharp.  I suspect I’ll find our conversation a little “sleepy”. 😉

All in all, I was VERY nervous last week as I thought more and more about this Wednesday.  After I met Mr. Boeree, I’m ok with everything.  I read somewhere on one of the forums that ultimately, this is all a hunch.  I’ve done my research, found a good surgeon, spoken with countless patients and analyzed everything until I’m blue in the face.  I trust Mr. Boeree’s judgement and this is my best option to lead a semi-normal life again.  He was keen to reiterate that he is operating for a reduction in symptoms, not a cure!  Again, its all a hunch.  Thanks to everyone that has helped me get here.  Stephanie, Karl, Mike and Duane, your play-by-plays and detailed accounts have been invaluable.   I’ll let you know how it goes.  A special thanks to my wife, daughter, our parents and immediate families for helping me out so much.  I owe all of you guys big time!

That’s it.  My last pre-surgery blog post.  Wish me luck!  I go under the knife in 13.5 hours and will keep my stick on the ice.

One more thing to note… if any of you are planning on coming to the UK for surgery, go for the BT Openzone wireless internet.  It’s more reliable than most of the hotel wireless services and seems to be everywhere.  I wish I would have known about it in London beforehand so my iphone maps could have been far more useful.  Basically, its wifi – almost country wide.  Then you don’t have to mess around with $$$ data roaming plans for your smart phone or computer.

Pints at the 3 Greyhounds

My New Hero

Leck mich im Arsch!

Too funny.

The “original” prosthetic.  Gottfried von Berlichingen circa 1504, Germany.  I found this in WIRED and had a good chuckle.  I guess the Germans have been doing this kind of thing for a while!

It really is true!


Why Surgeons in the UK go by Mr.

Holders of FRCS (and the new, but not old, Membership – MRCS) often choose to relinquish their title of “Doctor”, reverting to “Mr”, “Mrs” or “Miss”. This is a relic from times past when surgeons did not attend medical school and were simply skilled tradesmen, amputating limbs or removing bladder stones, and learning their skills through apprenticeship.