My story began in 2003 when they found a tumor inside my spinal cord. They made three laminectomies to access the cord and remove the tumor. This is a tricky procedure as they are inside the spinal cord and you then lay flat for about two days to let the spinal fluid build up again. The next year they went in again – found out that my spinal cord had been tethered since birth (similar to spina bifida), so they accessed it again and cut the nerves free. Since that time, life has been pretty medical, with more problems, many tests and procedures, limitations and lots of scar tissue issues. I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in 2008 at Mayo which helps with some of the pain.
After a bad fall in 2010, tests found that I had a vertebra that had slopped forward more than before (Spondylolisthesis) and ruptured a disc. This was very serious because it meant major surgery in that same area. I headed to Mayo for the complicated revision of L4 and L5 and a complicated spinal fusion. That revision was successful! But six weeks later, that cage shifted to the side and the screws came out so they sent me back in for another revision! Thankfully though, after all of those surgeries, I was still able to walk! Later I discovered that I have a connective tissue disorder which is why so many of my surgeries have failed and need to be done over again.
2020 – Many things have happened in the last ten years medically! Here’s a very concise list of the diseases and conditions that have changed me from the active outdoorsy person I was to the medically adventurous person I am today!
So life continues to be one medical adventure after another! I’ve found joy in the journey and God gives me Joy Pops day by day! Music and many Christian songs have given me strength and comfort. Bible verses posted around the house and in my mind have helped me stay the course as my mind isn’t as sharp due to the spinal fluid leaks and multiple concussions. My family and friends and church have and continue to be such valuable support!
Thanks for stopping by to read this – each of you has been a blessing and a Joy POP!
And so the adventure continues.
Shirley Nicholas, Cook, MN