Michelle wanted me to share this photo with everyone to bring the magnitude of her surgery into full light. The picture is a bit blurry but you can clearly see the length of the incision. The good news is that the incision is very clean (no oozing or large spaces) and there is little to no swelling anymore. The doctors have done a wonderful job closing the sight, and once Michelle's hair grows back you won't even be able to see it. The bad news is Michelle wasn't expecting to go full-on punk rock hair! She's thinking of dying the nubs pink or something:)
The pain medication issue has still been a struggle, but a doctor from the neurosurgical team visited us last night and has come up with a new program for Michelle. Part of the issue is that Michelle has an extremely high tolerance to pain medications; let's put it this way, she's on enough pain meds right now to sedate a small village in Africa! This new pain management program combines "break through" with "long lasting" pain meds, as well as two different types of muscle relaxers. It is still early in this plan, but Michelle was able to get 2 or 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night, and is now resting again after breakfast this morning. She is still in pain, but we are hopeful that the doctors have her on a plan that will allow her to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow. Keep all your fingers and toes crossed!
Through all the pain this week, Michelle has truly shown the heart and spirit of a fighter. She hasn't complained about the pain or sought pity from anyone, despite her discomfort. Her strength and determination have been nothing short of inspiring. I can't imagine having to go through something like this and she has really impressed many people including me, her family, other Chiari patients on the floor, as well as the various health care providers.
Her room has been brightened by some beautiful flowers (which she loves!) and she has been watching her favorite movies to pass the time. Yesterday Michelle participated in one of the programs offered at this hospital called Pet Therapy. The dog they brought looked like a mini Lassie, and stayed with Michelle for a while which made her very happy. The other amenity they offered her was a clown-a-gram! Anyone who knows Michelle knows she is SO afraid of clowns, so she had to politely decline. Can you tell she's on the Pediatric floor? Family members have been with Michelle every step of the way, so she hasn't been alone for one minute.