Thanks, everyone, for your continued good wishes.
I think I've turned a corner here. I'm now one week out from surgery, and the pain is really very manageable at this point. Not that it's not uncomfortable, but I've been able to cut back on the narcotics, which is nice.
As my sister shared with you, I had a night earlier this week where the swelling in my throat got so bad that swallowing was very difficult and breathing even became hard. That was scary. We went in to see the doc the next day and he prescribed steroids, so I'm now taking prednisone to reduce the swelling.
The swelling is caused because they went through the front of my neck and used some kind of clamps to hold my esophagus (which connects your mouth to your stomach) and my trachea (which is what you breathe through) to the side, clearing space to operate on my spine. When the swelling reached its peak, I suddenly had a very hard time swallowing anything that wasn't liquid and couldn't sleep because I had to really push air in and out to breathe.
But the prednisone is working very well. It's not good for bone grafts. I have two areas that are full of bone grafts. They more or less took out two vertebrae and used a polymer and pieces of the removed bone to reconstruct vertebrae, which they then bolted into place with two titanium plates and eight screws.
I look like I've been partially beheaded. There's an four- or five-inch incision that runs along the bottom of my throat from about the center off to the right. Sexy!
As for how much relief I get from the nerve pain that made my life hell for two years, it's too early to tell, in part because of all the drugs I'm on and in part because it will take the nerves some time (and no one knows how long) to heal.
So that's the news from Colorado...
My parents, especially my mom, have been amazing in helping me. Benjy, my younger son, leaves for NY for college on Friday, and that is going to suck. Many tears that day, for sure.
Thanks to all of you for your cards, e-mails, messages and so on. Each and every one touched my heart.