The Noggin’ Chronicles Part 9

05-01-23. Warning: post op pix attached.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
~ Charles Dickens ~ “A Tale of Two Cities

I can’t say that this has been either the best nor the worst of times. There have been a few times I have questioned my sanity, but then I realize this has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, despite a few lows.

This is the second time today I’ve written this post. Initially, I was grumpy about losing the first draft, but as a writer, I have always found edits are an essential part of the process. So, here I am to make my initial post more concise. Heh…

It’s been a month since my head was sliced and diced and things were moved around to make life a little bit easier. The recovery is slow, for sure. However, at a month out, I’m glad I have had the nerve decompression / excision surgery. (Disclaimer: it will be at least the 6-month mark whether or not this will qualify as a success, but I’m thinking positive here. In some patients, it’s about a year. It all depends on what happens when the nerves “wake up.”)

Last week I went back to work about the 3.5 week post-op mark. It may have been a little too soon. I tried to power through the 40 hours, but only made it 39. My boss’s boss told me I could take it easier if I need to and work half days if necessary. It was very sweet of her and I may need to take her up on it. However, I also don’t want anyone to have to pick up my slack. My squad already did that for a few weeks and it’s hard for me to ask them to do any more. They are a great bunch of guys and are truly appreciated.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to figure out a plan for the ice packs at work that make me look like a complete dork, but do the job they are intended for. I don’t think I’m going to share a photograph of that particular look at this time. There’s only so much mocking I can take. LOL!

Of all the plusses… the BIGGEST has been a long prayed for relief of the Occipital Neuralgia / Migraine pain. In the past month, I have had a total of 2.5 days of pain. I haven’t been this “pain free” in years. And I’m still hurting a bit from the surgery, but the surgical pain is NOTHING like the 24/7 agony that drives a person to think about either ramming themselves headfirst into a concrete pillar until they are unconscious or worse. We don’t need to discuss worse. You can imagine.

The second biggest plus has been a reduction in medication. I have tried literally EVERY SINGLE medication for migraines. (Not an exaggeration.) I have even been prescribed off-label meds to try to get the conditions under control. For a year I was even on low doses of morphine which has it’s own side-effects. I plan on writing a post or two about the medication I’m currently weaning off of. I just want to say that evil doesn’t begin to describe it and the black box warning should actually read, “Agent Orange and Thalidomide would be a better option than what you are about to ingest.” Once that medication is done and over with – hopefully later next year, then the process begins for the next one. I’m praying to be as medication free as humanly possible by 2025.

However, even though the financial cost is high, what’s made it worth it is starting to get some semblance of a life back. These conditions rendered me to a level of existence, but not really living. These days, I’m actually looking forward to making plans and being able to DO things. The first thing I’m so excited about is Eldest’s wedding next month. Before surgery, I was afraid I was going to have to go, pretend to have a good time and sit there doped up on medication to make it through. Who wants a life like that? Not me. The timing of this surgery was definitely a God thing.

So anyway, I haven’t wanted to post any pictures until I had a decent benchmark. 30 days seemed to be ideal. (And yes, the birthmark makes things in the later pictures look worse than they are.)

03-30-23 I was Borg. This picture was taken in the recovery room immediately after surgery.
04-30-23. No longer Borg! The “pink” down the middle isn’t just the incision / scar. The color is part of a very large birthmark on the back of my head (about the size of my palm extending to the right.). Fortunately my hair is growing back and covers most of it and eventually the scar too will be covered.
You can actually see where the port wine color of the birthmark.. And the neck incisions on both sides are healing up. Just showing this site because both would be superfluous.

Anyway, all things being equal and knowing what I know now, this was, at least at this point, a surgery worth undergoing. I said from day one that even if it reduces the number of days and the pain 50% it would be worth it. Thus far, it’s exceeded expectations. I pray it continues.

“Jesus, help me to keep my focus on You when the pain, hurt and emotions are overwhelming. There is so much good and so many things to be thankful for. Please strengthen my mind, heart, and body, and if it is Your will, I pray for a full and restorative healing.”


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