Friday, May 27, 2011


After seven months of being in pain, 24/7, I’ve finally come to a decision to undergo surgery for my back problems (stenosis, bulging disk, bone spurs, sciatica, etc).

Not only has this impacted me, but it’s adversely effected my husband Chris most notably regarding sleep.  When mama ain’t sleeping, ain’t no body sleeping!  On a good night, if I take a pain killer right before I go to sleep, I may be able to sleep for about 5 to 6 hours before waking up in pain.  I have back pain as well as pain in my right ankle from sciatica.  On a bad night…there’s not a whole lot of sleep happening at the Wachtel household.

I’ve tried some of the more conservative methods to bring pain relief including a course of three epidurals.  The second epidural made the most impact by reducing the pain for about three weeks.  Other than that…there’s not been a whole lot of relief. 

Chris and I met with a neurosurgeon to get a second opinion.  I feel confident that this was the right doctor to entrust my back to.  She had studied my MRI and was able to show us exactly what’s happening and what treatment she recommended.  I felt relief at her words, “After undergoing conservative treatment for several months, which has brought no relief, surgery is a reasonable option.”

People’s reactions and opinions are kind of funny.  I’ve had advice from many different perspectives.  There are those who are dead set against surgery and suggest seeking help from chiropractors, acupuncturists, spinal decompression, etc.  There are people who had back pain who have undergone surgery with great success.  I know one man who had surgery who had more pain following surgery than he had before.  The one thing I know for certain is that there are no guarantees and everyones body responds differently. 

People’s responses have been passionate!  They relate their experience and what worked for them, confident that’s the step I should take, some without knowing what’s happening with my back.  I’m sure that their intent is good and they desire that I find permanent relief from the pain, but honestly often I walk away more confused than when I started. 

When I mention I’m considering surgery, I’ve experienced a lot of disapproval from people who think I’m making a huge mistake.  After being in pain for seven months straight, not having a good night sleep in months, not being able to sit or lay down without being in pain, surgery seems like a good and reasonable option. 

We both know that if there is any healing or relief from the constant pain, that it’s the Lord doing the work.  He uses various means to accomplish healing, including doctors, medicine and if He so chooses, a miraculous healing that can only be attributed to God. 

We know that we need to trust the Lord in this situation, no matter what.  Should He choose to heal me, we will praise Him.  Should He choose to not heal me, we will praise Him.  Our praise of God is not contingent upon a favorable outcome. 

The one thing that is certain, our dependence upon God has deepened.  When crying out to Him for pain relief and when seeking wisdom to make life altering decisions, like surgery, we are depending upon and looking to the Lord.


Joshua said...

I will be praying for you Susan. When are you undergoing surgery? And, you are right. You will never know what you are going to feel if you don't go through it. Maybe, the surgery permanently cures the pain in your back. Maybe it doesn't. However, I do know one thing that is absolutely exclusive. God will be with you through every moment of it. Trust Him, Seek Him, Meditate on His very Words, and know He will never let you go. He chose you and will not leave you abandoned. Stay close to Him.

In Christ,
Joshua :)

susanwalkergirl said...

Thank you Joshua for your words of encouragement and wise counsel to trust God in and through this situation. I may never know this side of heaven what the Lord is doing in and through this...but I do know that He is good all the time and has a good purpose He is working out. Praise His holy name.

I will be having surgery on June 30th if all goes according to plan.

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