Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Yesterday was a big, BIG red letter day in little ole Land o’ Cora. You see, yesterday was my five year anniversary of defying Death.
I won’t retell the whole lonnnnngggggggg tale here today. I did that last year. (You can catch it HERE if you’re so inclined.) But the gist of it is that I survived a freak, rare, bizarre Neurological emergency in the form of a golf-ball-sized blood clot in my spinal cord which should have either killed me or left me paralyzed. But I walked away from it.
True, I walked away from it with the assistance of a metal walker….
But, still, I walked away.
I eventually ditched the walker for a cane….
And then I ditched even that.
I’m the luckiest person I know. My Neurologist still shakes his head in amazement every time we cross paths.
“Do you know how lucky you are?” he says.
”Absolutely,” I grin back.
”No, really. Do you know how INSANELY LUCKY you are?!” he marvels, gesturing wildly, kinda reminding me of Tigger. *snicker*
”I know,” I breathe, shaking my head too.
”This never happens. NEVER!!” he’ll exclaim, slapping my chart down on the counter top, “I mean, WOW!!”
He once introduced a medical student to me. He introduced me as “a miracle” and told her she’ll never see anyone with my condition – EVER. I’m one of a kind.
Last time I went to the Neurologist he was running behind schedule by about an hour. His assistant told me I’d have to wait. But when my Neurologist heard I was in the office, he immediately took me back and told his assistant, “Cora doesn’t have to wait – she’s famous! In fact, she made ME famous!” and he told us how his saving my life made his career. And because of that I’ll never have to wait. Never.
So, wanna see it? Want to see my blood clot?
Here it is. This is the MRI picture taken five years ago….
See the dark spot in my spine there? That’s blood. The blood clot had burst and was leaking in my spinal cord, preventing my brain and body from communicating with each other. I couldn’t control my legs. I had absolutely no balance; I would fall over while sitting or while on my hands and knees. By the time I went into the OR, I couldn’t even lift my legs. I couldn’t roll over. I had no feeling in most of my body from my armpits down. And it took three people to carry me onto the table because my body was violently shaking and I couldn’t stop it.
If you look closely to the right of the dark streak in my spine you can see the blood clot there, like a dark oval. Scary, huh?
Five years ago today I was in the ICU, having survived the surgery on my spine without paralysis. I could wiggle my toes. True, it took all the concentration I could muster to wiggle the toes on my right foot. But, still, I could do it. And the doctors were THRILLED.
I could feel it when they poked me with sharp objects too. True, even sharp jabs with safety pins on my right foot and leg felt like blunt, soft touches with a sponge. But, still, I could feel something. And the doctors were ECSTATIC.
Word spread throughout the hospital of what had happened and I had dozens of doctors and nurses coming in to see if it was true. They were constantly clustered at the foot of my bed asking me to wiggle my toes, then gasping when I did. I was told a hundred times over that I was the luckiest person they’d ever met.
Every November 18th since, I celebrate my day. I call it my anniversary and I take the day off work and do whatever the hell I want to. The first anniversary was the day Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in the theater, so I kept my daughter out of school and we went and saw it. Twice.
The second anniversary of it was more emotional, oddly, and I spent the day crying my eyes out remembering how small and scared it felt to be in that hospital before the surgery when they didn’t think they could do anything to save me, and how terrified I was of what would become of my daughter if I died.
Each anniversary has been different. But especially this one. Why? Because I forgot all about it this year. I didn’t remember it until the night before when I was walking on my treadmill and it suddenly hit me. It was too late to ask for the day off, and, honestly, I’ve missed so much work lately due to my tonsillectomy and romping with Scope (wheeeeeee!!) that I wouldn’t have asked for the day off even if I had remembered it. But I honestly can’t believe I forgot about it! I didn’t think it was something I would ever forget – or only remember at the last freaking minute!
But anyway, as typically ends up happening at some point every November 18th over the last five years, in honor of my medical miracle, let’s mock Death, shall we?!
Ahhh, that was fun. Okay, now let's learn about Neurology with Schoolhouse Rock!
© Love Letters By Cora