Remember how I said I was overwhelmed? Well, today I've decided to go into a bit more as to why. There's a lot going on personally for Joe and I that we haven't been sharing because we haven't had any specifics. But I think now is a good time as it's fresh on my mind.
This past weekend was amazing! We had such a great time with Sean and Aaron. Sean showed us some his amazing city, we enjoyed a Cubs Bar, lots and lots (too many) of gluten free treats, saw a lot of sites and even did a river cruise. Chicago is a great city. Unfortunately, the visit ended up a bit more than just visiting my brother. It was also to see a surgeon at Northwestern for Joe's leg...and schedule another surgery.
Yup, that's right. Another surgery. We didn't want to share or talk about it until we knew for sure because the truth is, we didn't want to believe it ourselves. I'm not to trying to play the 'woe is me' card here, but haven't we been through enough this year??
Since the last nerve surgery, Joe's nerve pain hasn't truly gone away. It's not to say the last surgery was a failure, as it removed the neuroma and tied up a few nerves, but the issue is that Joe really is a super human in that his nerves are SO healthy that they grow back faster than most peoples and have more sensitivity, especially when the sensory nerves don't have anywhere to go.
The new surgery we are looking at is targeted muscle reinnervation which is "a series of nerve transfers that permits intuitive control of limb prostheses." As stated by the article written at Northwestern. In this case, instead of burying the sensory nerves in a muscle giving them no end point, they will be tied to motor nerves that he no longer uses since he doesn't have a foot. This gives the sensory nerves at targeted end point in the brain's eyes and causes much less pain. (That is a really short, abridged version. Click on that link for more info or medical jargon that I cannot speak).
There is a great success rate, but also risks as there are with any surgery. However, we really liked the doctor and he spoke well of the surgery and his successes. There are no other alternative surgeries out there, so this is kind of our only hope at this point.
While we are hopeful, I would be lying if I said I wasn't scare. Our last experience at Georgetown was terrible. Everything took twice as long as we expected: the surgery, time in the recovery room, recovery after the surgery. All in all, it was a nightmare. And it was so much harder than we expected. Luckily, we moved from a 3 story house with 2 roommates (try crutching up and down that!) to a 1 story house just us and the pup. Joe will be much more comfortable on a 1 story house and with a bit more privacy. And the pup is such a blessing to us. He totally helps our moods and brightens our lives that we are excited to have him around this time. We are going to try to train and certify him as an emotional support/therapy dog so he can help Joe through this and travel with us.
It's been a rough couple of months between keeping up with work, moving, and figuring out Joe's stuff. It seems like everything is coming together now and everything has to be done now. We got back last night, and I opened my email and almost had a panic attack because I was so overwhelmed with the things I had to get done. Thankfully, Joe surprised me with my favorite food (a baked potato) and Grohl who he picked up early. Despite everything that goes on around us, he is continually my rock. His support, love and shoulder to cry on is what get's me through the day. And no matter what life throws at us, we will come out stronger and better.
In December, we'll be spending about a week or so in Chicago for the surgery. I'll still be working from there during that time, as work helps keep me sane. If you are in Chicago and have some time, I'd love to see you!
We have lots to figure out between now and then, but I'm confident we can do it, especially with the help of Joe's amazing family. Bob & Lisa do more for us than I could ever thank them for. Without them, we wouldn't have the options or expertise that we have and the future would not look as bright as it does.
We definitely need your support and prayers through this. We've gotten through so many things already this year and it's all because of your support and prayers. I'm going to continue to use this blog to keep you updated on the progress. It's been really helpful to me, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate each and every reader. Ya'll are amazing. Thanks for reading and being there every step of the way. I know we can through this!