Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Our Appointment with the Neurosurgeon

Today was Michael's appointment with the UAB neurosurgeon, & all things considered, it was a good experience. For starters, the doctor was fabulous! He spent a very unhurried half hour - at least - with us, & gave us very detailed information about Michael's condition & the surgery we could be facing, including the risks & healing times. My expectation was that he would push for the surgery - after all, that's where they make their money - but that's not what he did at all. He laid out our options with absolutely no pressure, even saying that he didn't feel strongly about either course, & encouraged us to take some time to think it over before coming to a decision. He even gave us direct numbers so we would have no trouble getting in touch with him. Needless to say, we were quite impressed with him!

Okay, so here's the situation. We have two options: a spinal steroid injection (that the local neurosurgeon said he couldn't have) & surgery. There are a lot of factors for us to consider here - the amount of time Michael's already been out of work (6 weeks), how much medical leave he has left (6 weeks), the risks of the surgery, our finances, the likelihood of the effectiveness of the shot, his job security, etc. We basically made the decision according to the calendar. If we choose the surgery, Michael would be out of work around 10 more weeks. While long-term disability will have kicked in by then, his job would be gone, because they only hold his position for 12 weeks total. We have 6 left. If we choose the injection & it works, he could be back to work in a couple of weeks. No need for the long-term disability, & his job is secure. The worst possibility is if the shot doesn't work, at which point we'll have to go forward with the surgery, but with a further delay. Then we're looking at him being out of work for another 12 weeks, with no job to go back to once he's cleared. We're trying not to let our minds go there, though. So, we are going with the injection, praying that it does work. My understanding is that he will eventually have to have the surgery; the injection is a band-aid, & doesn't fix the problem long-term. But perhaps we can get ourselves into a better situation in the meantime.

A thousand thanks to all of you who are praying for us & who have checked up on us. Your lovingkindness means more than we can put into words. Please continue to pray that we would rest in God's sovereignty & love, that our faith in Him would be strengthened, that the shot will be effective quickly, & that God would open up avenues of income so we can pay our bills. Thank you, & may God bless you all.