That crazy start to the morning led to an EXCRUCIATING procedure for John. First of all, it took a LONG time for them to get the medication to take effect and make him drowsy so they could start the procedure. Then during the procedure, John's neck muscles were so tight (partially from not loosening up with movement that morning and partially because he had yet to take any muscle relaxers) that it caused extreme pain when they turned and twisted his head the way they needed to in order to examine the flow of blood through his vessels. By the time they called me back to see him, it had been 2 hours and 15 minutes, and I was struggling to not get worried. When I walked in, the look on his face was pretty scary. The radiologist said, "It was an extremely painful procedure for him." As if to highlight the doctor's statement, a lone tear trickled down John's cheek. Broke. My. Heart.
After 2 long hours of lying still and a trip to change into street clothes, the doctor came in and let us know that 3 out of 4 of the vessels look clear. One of the vessels has a slightly inhibited blood flow, but not enough to do anything invasive about it. However, the imaging reveals _____(blah, blah, blah, blah, insert a bunch of words I didn't really understand)_______, and the answer to _____(again the words I didn't understand)___ was more surgery. The catch is, they have cleaned out and then fused as much as they can from the front, this would need to be done from the back of his neck. A surgery with a posterior approach means cutting through the thick muscles of his neck, which is MUCH more invasive and may lead to a longer recovery period. They sent us home with these instructions: evaluate your pain level, understand that the only chance to fix it is surgery (a surgery that might not even work), and then decide when (or IF) you want to have the surgery.
At this juncture in time, John is currently in a place of wanting to just tough out the pain for as long as he can before consenting to surgery (if he even does). He is NOT interested in another surgery. I am at COMPLETE peace with that. In fact, I 100% feel that this has to be HIS decision alone. I feel God telling me to take ONLY a supporting role in this decision because only John will be able to say when the pain has become too much to bear any longer.
It wasn't exactly the "we went in and couldn't find anything wrong, you're cured" kinda miracle answer we would have loved, but at least we know the answer.... more surgery.
Now, John has to lie low the next few days to recover from his femoral artery being cut open, and then he can return to work on Tuesday to start this new chapter which I'm titling, "How much pain can you take"... When he gets to the point that he can't stand the pain any more, he is going to have to cry, "Uncle!" and then we can walk down the road of his 4th surgery.
Thanks for your prayers, supports, texts, and encouragement this morning.... As always, they were greatly appreciated.