Back in 2008, I was in a car accident. Little did I know that, this particular car accident would set in motion, a chain of events that would alter my life forever. I began physical therapy shortly after the accident and after the initial x-rays, the doctor told me that I had arthritis and bone spurs in my neck and back. Therapy lasted well in to two months of starting because of my issues. However, when the therapy was done, I felt like I had a new lease on life. There was no pain in my neck and back that lasted for 4 years. When my dad suffered his stroke in 2011 and came to live with us in 2012, we quickly adjusted because he’s family and that’s what we do. We take care of our own.
However, more and more, I was having my daughter rub my neck and shoulders. I blamed it on stress and felt a good massage would take care of it. And, it did. I was able to relax and go to sleep. Little by little, I did not know that the arthritis and bone spurs were rearing its ugly head in my neck and back. After my dad died on my birthday, May 3, 2013, it was time to go see the doctor to find out why I was having constant pain in my arms, back, hip, legs, neck and shoulders. And there was numbness in my fingers and hand spasms. I needed 30 minutes, just to get out of bed, as I could not just jump up.
There was tingling sensations running up and down my right arm and right leg. I experienced pain at the nape of my neck and my shoulder blades. I began having difficulties walking too. On good days, I could navigate the stairs. On bad days, my right knee would give out and I could only go up stairs, one step at a time. Something was wrong and I wanted answers. So I went to my physician and I may be biased, but my physician is the best. He immediately ordered MRIs and X-rays for me. Before I could get home from the MRIs, my doctor was blowing my phone up. I called back when I got home and he scheduled an appointment to see me right away. He told me there was a lesion or bright spot in the center of my spine and it had to be looked at by a specialist. He gave me the name of a neurosurgeon and I made the appointment.
After I was examined by the first neurosurgeon and he said I needed surgery to replace the disks in my neck. And that would relieve the pressure on my spine. Then all the crazy signals on my right side would stop. I looked the doctor straight in the eyes and asked him, “Can you help me?” He said yes and I felt comfortable with him. We set up surgery for the end of May and I felt confident my mobility will be OK. My insurance company called and said, “Hey, that doctor is not in our network. If you pursue him, you will be paying out of pocket.” Then she said, “We will send you to a doctor in our network and provide a cab to take you and pick you up from all of your appointments. I had no choice but to relent. I didn’t have thousands of dollars to pay the first doctor.
An appointment with neurosurgeon number two was set up at Georgetown University Hospital. A quick check revealed that this hospital rank #4 in neurosurgery. The doctor was nice, like the first one but was more thorough. He wanted all new testing done at the hospital. I told him what the first doctor told me, but he said he needs to make his own determinations. This was the first time I received a preliminary diagnosis: Cervical Spondylosis with Myelopathy. Then I was off again to do new MRIs and X-rays. The MRI staff also compared the first set of MRIs to the second set and found that I had gotten worse between the two sets of testing.
The doctor made his findings and called me before I made it home from all the testing. He said if I experience any pain or discomfort over the weekend, to go to the emergency room. What a cryptic message. But I was going to see him on Monday so I stayed in and did not do any activities. On Monday, after my last set of X-rays, I saw the doctor. He told me that I need to have a C 5-6 and C 6-7 Cervical Anterior Discectomy and fusion. That’s where the remove two disks in my neck, shave the bone spurs down and replace the disks with cadaver bones that has been disinfected, and put a plate and screws over it. Then close it up. And within 4 weeks, my bones should begin to fuse with the cadaver bones. I asked him if he has ever done this surgery before and he said, “Many Times.” I said, “Let’s Do It.” And I also told the doctor that there was something about him. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I trusted him. He thanked me and said that means a lot to him. I believe it was the eye contact he always maintained when we talked.
Surgery was scheduled for September 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM. I had to do all the pre surgery pre-screening testing. That’s where they draw your blood and ask you a bunch of questions. I made it clear that I did not want a blood transfusion. She said, “Even if it’s medically necessary?” And I said yes. I had to sign a no blood transfusion order and I also had to check off that I am not Jehovah’s Witness. I just follow the scriptures real close and Yah forbids eating blood.
Deuteronomy 12:23 Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life;
Act 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
One’s life force is in the blood. Other options were discussed with me but I chose the option where they would remove my blood as needed and put my own blood back into me. It’s a relatively new technique, something like dialysis, where they filter your own blood back to you.
Next up was the Advanced Directive. I went in with blind faith in Yahuah and I checked off no, to CPR, or life sustaining treatments, no to artificial nutrition and hydration, no to comfort care, no organ donations, and no autopsy. I put myself completely into the hands of Yahuah because no one can pluck me from His hands. I was certain of it. OK, I was all set. I had a little anemia and had to take Vitron-C vitamins to build my iron. On the day of surgery, I had to be there at 5:30 AM, exactly two hours before. I stayed up all night and was there at 5:20 AM.
The medical staff was great. I had no candy, food, gum, or water after 12:00 AM., so I was pretty hungry but sleepy, more than hungry. Everything is a process at this hospital. I had to register again but once that was done; I was led to the surgical room where I changed clothes into a gown. They had me bath with antibacterial soap, twice. Then, I had to wipe down with antibacterial wipes. Yes, they were thoroughly clean there. They did not want any infection issues. The wipes were warm and then they brought me warm blankets for my bed. I was OK. Both legs were tingling and my right arm was tingling. This surgery could not come soon enough for me.
I met the anesthesiologist; a couple of interns, and the guy who told me that my blood was low. The bedside manner was excellent. They put a No Blood arm band on my left arm. An I.V. was started. Then, the neurosurgeon came in to greet me and next thing I know, the anesthesiologist said, “I’m putting something in your I.V. to relax you.” And that’s all I remember. Next thing I knew, I woke up in recovery, some 6 hours later. A private room was ready for me and I had to go to X-ray first so the neurosurgeon could look at his work and make sure the surgery was a success. My room was awesome. I laid in a bed that massaged me all night long. And they had leg wraps around my legs that massaged me too. I told the nurse that my throat hurt and she said that was from the breathing tube. And I had this pain in the upper middle part of my back and she said that was possibly from anesthesia. It didn’t stop my next questions. “I need food and can I get some ice water?” At a blink of an eye, I had deli turkey sandwich, cookie, and ice water. I was cool. I ate half and went to sleep.
When I woke up, I called my mom and she said the doctor had called her. And he told her that if I had said no or would have put off the surgery, I would have been paralyzed and in a wheel chair. He said it’s an arthritic condition that, if left untreated, renders you paralyzed. In hindsight, I realized that’s why the doctors would call me in a panic after each MRI I had done. I remembered my primary physician saying, “You have to get that taken care of immediately.” Yahuah’s fingerprint is all over this. He removed me from the first doctor, who rushed to judgment without additional testing and had me go to a facility that was not only above board but ranked #4 in neurosurgery. And the new doctor would not make a move until he did his own testings and made his own decisions.
The next morning, I first met the tray delivery, she was so nice. And I told her, “May God keep her and bless her.” She turned around and said, “That was a nice thing to say. They found cancer in my breast and removed them just in time. And now, I am cancer free. Thank you for saying that.” I thought she was going to cry. She said she would fix me a sandwich to take with me, since I was leaving. That was a heartfelt interaction that had occurred. And I reflected on it. Next up, I had visits from what looked like, all the staff members I met before surgery, except the anesthesiologist. The pre surgery screening nurse came and the nurse who told me I needed iron. The pre surgery nurse said, “Stay in the scriptures.” And I told her I will. They wished me well and left. Next up was the surgeon and his assistant surgeon. The surgeon gave me all of my post operation instructions. He maintained eye contact the entire time. He told me the surgery was a success and wants to see me in 4 weeks. He checked me over and said he would process the discharge paperwork. Next, I had to be unhooked from all of my massaging gadgetry. I didn’t like that part. I wish I could take it all home with me. After the antibiotics finished, I was unhooked from everything. I got dressed and the nurse came in with her instructions. She also alerted transportation that I was ready to go. The wheel chair and my sandwich arrived at the same time. I was free to go home. Outside, my brother pulled up within minutes and I was in route home.
I received excellent care at this hospital but I also feel Yahuah worked through all the staff at that hospital for a successful turnaround. Yahuah made all of this happen according to His will.
John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
And no one could ever stop me from loving my creator: The Alahym of Abraham, The Alahym of Issac, The Alahym of Jacob. Yahuah Rapha. Aman.
by Joan Farley