Friday, July 21, 2017

Pre-Op Day 2: When a doctor places a pair of scissors on your back and moves them around a bunch

I thought I'd catch up with these posts in sequential order to help anyone who might be looking into SDR for themselves or their let's continue on with Pre-Op Day Two!

First, though - I added pictures with captions to my first two posts, so go back and take a look if you'd like. :) (Walk in the Park) (Pre-Op Day 1)

My second pre-op day began with a PT evaluation at 9 am! Oh but first: cupcake! I forgot to mention that the night before, my mom and I went to a cupcake place. She got a lemon cupcake, and mine was mocha espresso. We ate them back at the hotel and she put a candle in mine to celebrate my "new legs." :)

It got a little squished in the bag on the way back to the hotel but it still tasted wonderful :) 

ANYWAY...I digress. At 9am the next morning, we met with one of the St. Louis physical therapists and she brought us to a PT room, where a PT assistant waited with a video camera. My movements were filmed this entire time so that they could look back when I come for my follow-up appointment and assess my progress. (*shiver* Have I mentioned I hate being filmed? Especially with bare feet while someone watches and judges my movements!!!! No thank youuuu)

The PT eval started out easy. Walk across the room. Do it again. Sit down on this bench. 

I was totally acing it, you guys. I can walk across a room twice and sit down on a bench like a champ.

But things escalated quickly. Next it was, "Walk in a straight line along this strip of tape, one foot in front of the other." I always knew I would fail a field sobriety test, but now we have proof on film. I was a complete mess. ;)

And THEN: she held a foam roll a few inches off the floor and asked me to step over it without holding onto anything. My mom was sitting in the corner internally freaking out, probably thinking I'd fall flat on my face and break something on the day before my surgery. But I did it. I was pretty proud.

Then she raised it a couple more inches and asked me to try again.

This time, I tried, wasn't able to clear the roll with my foot, stepped on it, flailed around frantically, and very very nearly lost my balance. The PT was encouraging, praising me for giving it a try, but it was definitely not a dignified moment......and once again, they have this cringeworthy maneuver on film somewhere. Fantastic. ;)

Next, I had to walk up and down a set of stairs holding a railing. I did one step each without a railing too, but that's about my limit if I want to avoid maiming myself. (And remember that this whole time, my mom was in the corner pleading, "Please don't fall! Please don't fall! Please don't fall!")

Then it was: "Can you run?" Not really. But I made an attempt at some sort of uncoordinated fast-walk. (CP fast)

Lastly, she timed me while I walked as quickly as I could to one bench, then turned and walked back.

That was the end of my little movie, so the filming person left and the PT assessed my range of motion and level of spasticity using the Ashworth Scale. Spasticity scores range between 0 (no spasticity) and 4 (severe spasticity). The PT said my spasticity was "significant," especially in my ankles, hamstrings, and quads (what muscles are left? LOL). I got to see my numbers when they showed me the report on my day of discharge from the hospital, and most of my scores were ones and twos. Hopefully now they're all zeros!!

I also got a ranking of the severity of my CP according to the Gross Motor Functional Classification Scale (GMFCS), where 1 is the mildest form of CP and 5 is the most severe. I have always considered myself to be a 2 on the scale, as have my parents and previous PTs (at least after my surgery as toddler, once I could walk independently). This PT classified me as a 1, though, which was surprising!

Before we left this appointment, I got an "SDR Changes Lives" T-shirt :) and then it was off to radiology.

A "Rube Goldberg" type display near the radiology waiting room. It was fun to watch...these little marbles would be sent through a chain reaction down all these loops and then would be brought back again to cycle through.

We waited for foreverrrr in the radiology waiting room, but when they finally called us back a couple hours or so later, the actual radiology appointment was only a few minutes long.

They had me lie on my stomach on the x-ray table, and the doctor placed a pair of metal scissors on my back and wiggled them around. It seemed so silly, like something out of a children's book than an actual medical thing...but I guess they knew what they were doing! Apparently the doctor and radiology tech were using the scissors as a marker, watching the X-ray as they wiggled them around until they located the precise location of my L1 vertebra. Then they "X marked the spot" with permanent marker and covered it with Tegaderm so I could shower that night. This way, the surgeon would know just where to make his incision in my back to remove the piece of bone from my spine in order to access my spinal cord.

Look at this hot air balloon within the Children's Hospital! So cool :)

And then: ZOO TIME. :) Because the St. Louis Zoo is so massive, and because my pulled hip flexor was still bothering me, we took my wheelchair...and we had an amazing time. It was such an awesome way to get our minds off of surgery for a while and just enjoy ourselves. :)

My favorite animal at the zoo was this baby orangutan who was in love with his toy! <3

Later that night, we had dinner at Bar Louie's. It was pretty good...not amazing, but I liked it. :) Their french fries tasted like McDonald's french fries...and I'm not a fast food kind of person, but I DO enjoy McDonald's french fries. My sandwich was a BLTT - bacon, lettuce, turkey, tomato.

My Last Supper

There you have last night of spasticity. :) All in all, it was a pretty awesome day! But I was in for a rough ride......more on that later.

Thank you for all the prayers, well wishes, and support! <3


  1. I approve of all the food content in this post! Also, I'm impressed as always by the thoroughness in your posts. <3

    1. Hahaha I'm glad you share my food enthusiasm!! I realized afterward that about half this post is just about food. ;) I just really, really like talking about food I guess!

      And thank you ❤️ I always appreciate that you stop by to read and comment. xo

  2. Wow, all of this was really cool to read! (Sorry, I'm a bit of a geek so I enjoyed the detailed medical descriptions). And oh, man..I totally would have failed the "sobriety test" and foam roller thing, too. Hope your recovery is going well! :)

    1. Thank you Natalie!! Hahaha I'm glad you enjoy my detailed medical descriptions...I only include them because I share your geekiness! ;)

  3. Love the food part of the posts too! Especially the cupcake! I remember before one of my surgeries I looked at my pre surgery body and wondered if I would drastically change. I was happy with the surgery result afterwords. I haven't had a gait evaluation in years but yes it is a bit irky because it feels a bit like the movements you attempt are never quite good enough. I can't pass a sobriety test either so if I ever get pulled over my first words would be "I have cerebral palsy" so they don't think I am drunk. But Remember it is for a good purpose so you can hopefully have better alignment later. Thanks so much for keeping us updated!

    1. Thank you, Margot, for all of your comments and support throughout this whole thing! I'm glad you were happy with your own post-surgery results...and YES I was definitely feeling a bit inferior during that PT eval, even with all of the PT's encouragements!

  4. I've been thinking of you and look forward to an update! Hope your recovery is going well and wow does that sandwich look delicious! :)

    1. Thank you Kristi! <3 In my previous post, I wrote a more current update. I've been struggling with some nerve pain issues but overall my recovery has been going well, and I am really enjoying being free from spasticity!

      (And it was a good sandwich! ;)) Thank you for thinking of means a lot, friend.

  5. Yay for the candle in the cupcake!! Happy "New Legs!!" Glad you could enjoy a fun zoo-day before entering your own uncertain zoo-ness :)


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