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Yea, I got caught slipping again. It’s been 3 months since my last update! Sometimes people ask me why I don’t blog. Well, if I were to blog I’d do it from here. But man, since I find it difficult to even make time for this, don’t look for that to happen anytime soon!
Thursday May 18th, on the heels of my last entry, my mom and I were joined by Geoff’s sister, Crystal, as we shared about the life changing tragedy that was the crash, that this site is all about. The next day, I started physical therapy with Adrian for what at that time had been diagnosed as being my first rib out of place. See my last entry for details about the diagnosis. Symptoms included numbness and weakness in my right hand and forearm, as well as a jacked-up neck. My neck issues included snapping, cracking, and popping that turned into tightness and pain.
Late Sunday May 21st, my friend Mark Fetterly passed away after a two-year battle with lung cancer. He was given six months after being diagnosed on November 18th, 2014. We went to his funeral on Friday, the 26th. The service was officiated by his brother, Joseph, and I was excited to hear that before his passing, Mark had received the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Normally, when someone dies of cancer, we say that they lost their battle with cancer. I can’t say that about Mark because he faced cancer square and didn’t allow it to change him. No, Mark battled cancer and won!
We had to leave the luncheon before lunch was served because I had an MRI on my neck at McLaren hospital, scheduled for that afternoon. On the 31st, I had an appointment scheduled with my neurologist, Dr. Kovar. He was supposed to conduct a nerve test on my arm and hand, and read my MRI. However, when we arrived, we were told that he was an hour behind and I had another appointment that afternoon, so I had to reschedule.
On Wednesday June 14th, I returned to Kovar’s office and he first performed the nerve test, declaring that I did not have carpel tunnel syndrome. However, there was nerve damage in my right hand and forearm. Then Dr. Kovar read my MRI and his diagnosis was that I had a herniated disc between my C6-C7 vertebrae. Straightaway he recommends surgery and talks about referring me to a doctor. I was quick to put the brakes on that, telling him that I wanted to look into the Laser Spine Institute (LSI).
A week later, we had obtained a copy of my MRI and sent it to the Laser Spine Institute for my free MRI review. The Institute has several locations in the United States. Their closest to Port Huron is in Cleveland and the headquarters is in Tampa. A few days later, we received a call from Grant, our patient consultant with the Institute. He said that it would take approximately 5 business days to get the review and have the results, at which time he’d call us.
Knowing that I’d likely have to authorize them to speak with my mom concerning the results, and being aware that I was leaving for camp on the 9th, I had my mom call him on Friday, July 7th. Sure enough, they had my results and needed my authorization. Grant reported that my results showed that I had 5 bulging discs, spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis. He suggested that I get a clinical evaluation that would take 3 business days, that the laser surgery would eliminate the stenosis.
On Sunday July 9th, I arrived for my week at summer camp. I’ve been going to Indian Trails Camp for 14 years, and for the last 10 it’s been on the decline. However, as I rolled into camp this summer and throughout the week, I noticed that things took a dive from the previous summer. After a week of observations, it became apparent to me that ITC had succumbed to extreme political correctness. One of the first things that caught my attention was the absence of an American flag at camp, which of course meant no flag raising and pledge of allegiance in the morning. Next, omitted were the fun grace chants we used to do before every meal. Later in the week, I’d learn that a new curfew of 11:30 pm had been imposed on the campers and the counselors. I try to go during a dance week every year. This year’s dance was really weak, rushed and unimpressive. Finally, on Friday the 14th, I’d find out that the camp had eliminated the council fire. For council fire, counselors would dress in Native American garb and do a classy skit to honor the Native American culture. They would also honor the accomplishments of the campers by cabin.
I don’t want it to sound as if I didn’t enjoy camp. Although these were changes that disheartened me, I had a fantastic time! First, I was blessed to have the same nurse I had last year. Taylor, pictured to the right of me above and to the left of me is another nurse, Sophie. I enjoyed kicking it all week with my counselors, Kain, Mitchell, and Jarrett. They were all real cool cats, appreciative of me and my ministry. I sold a total of 17 books over the week. I let my light shine, and light shines brightest in the dark!
I wrote a letter to camp expressing my concerns. On Sunday August 6th, I emailed my letter to the executive director, as well as to the director of programs and services. The next day I received back two kind responses, expressing their appreciation for my time in crafting the letter, as well some agreement with some of my concerns. I look forward to going back next year to see what kind of influence, if any, my letter had.
While I was waiting for the LSI to get back with me, I discovered another laser institute, with a location in Detroit. The North American Spine Institute also offered a free MRI review. Therefore, I released my MRI to them and a few days later I received a call with a slightly different and more specific diagnosis. According to them, I have 3 bulging discs, C5-C6, C6-C7, & C7-C8. I also have the stenosis reported by the LSI. However, they also found bone spurs and evidence of arthritis.
They said that laser surgery was not an option for me. Instead, they recommend minimally invasive surgery, which they don’t do at their facility. The lady who spoke with me was very friendly. She explained that to rectify my cervical issues a doctor would fuse my spine, clean out the bone spurs, and correct the stenosis. She even took the time to find a highly recommended doctor in Detroit who does these surgeries, and called back with that information.
However, I am extremely hesitant about having my spine fused because my body mechanics require a lot of strain on my neck, and I’ve heard horror stories by people who have had their spine fused. My physical therapist also recommends that I avoid fusion, suggesting artificial disc replacement (ADR) as an alternative.
Therefore, I have been searching for facilities in Michigan that do ADR. The first one I came across is in Ann Arbor and that’s a 2-hour drive. I found another one in Troy, which is about an hour away. Hence, I am currently looking to make an appointment for a consultation with them.
I am also working on the second edition of my book that has minor changes and additions. The most prominent addition will be a section I had Crystal write in honor of her brother, Geoff. I hope to have it finished, so I am able to release it during a book signing event that I plan to have. Stay tuned for info on that.