Four Days Until Decompression ... have I forgotten anything?

Hey Chiarians,

I am excited and nervous that four days from now, on 8.25, I’ll be having my decompression. I had one of my worst ever headaches last week, a six day monstrosity only eventaully controllled by hydrocodone. It reminded me of WHY I’m doing this invasive surgery. Because I have no syrinx, the statistics of the procedure reducing my symptoms is 80%, and I feel confident I’ll see some improvement.
I’ve had the summer to prepare for the surgery. I did a juice cleanse and followed that up with a very healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. I worked with a nutritionist to come up with a pre and post surgical plan to support my dietary needs. I have a long list of supplements I’ll be taking post surgically to aid in healing, immune support, etc, including rhodiola, boswellia, astragalus, magnesium, chlorella, alpha lipoid acid, n-acetyl-l-cysteine, coq10, a strong probiotic, and glutathione. Daily I drink a smoothie with collagen protein, hemp, flax and chia seeds, d-ribose, bee pollen, fruit and greens. I’ve made and frozen individual servings of an anti-inflammatory green juice with turmeric and ginger, organic homemade bone broth, and lots of healthy broth based soups. I have aloe to put into water to help digestion, as well as senna tea, which is a natural laxative. Food is medicine and I hope to optimize my recovery.
As far as what I’m taking to the hospital, I’ll have a travel and other pillows. A small comfort bag for by my bedside with lip balm, ginger lozenges, and eye mask, my phone, a charger, and headphones. I’m also taking button front pjs and a robe for if I feel ok enough to change, and comfy nonslip socks. I’m also taking dry shampoo, hair ties, wet wipes, micellar water and cotton pads, and some moisturizer. I have insanely sensitive skin and can’t use a soap anywhere unless I’ve tested it. I’m also taking some herbal tea bags because I love mint or ginger tea, and I’m not sure the hospital will have it.
As far as making home recovery more comfortable, I’m lucky because I have an excellent bed on an adjustable base which I think will help. I have a variety of pillows to try as well. I’ve lined up a walker just in case for the first week, and I got a shower chair to make bathing easier. I have a tray for eating in bed, and my Netflix queue is full. I have a variety of heating pads and ice packs of different shapes and substances, magnesium oil, tiger balm, and other topical. I’ve organized those supplies into baskets, along with pjs in another basket, and other things I want at hand so either my husband or parents (who are staying for the first -second week after surgery to help) can grab what we need.
I also have a bottle of CBD oil and topical patches to try for when I transition off the painkillers.
I’m taking 2 months off work, maybe 3 depending on how the recovery goes. I don’t have small children, which makes things easier too. I think I have everything in place I can think of. But if anyone else has any advice, I’m all ears!!!
I know the surgery will be painful and that recovery can have many ups and downs. I’m hoping to just rest and heal as best I can. As I’m able, I do plan on writing about my experiences with the surgery and recovery. Reading everyone’s stories here has been so helpful during this challenging time! It’s a great resource.

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Sounds like you have done much preparation for your upcoming surgery. If you are sensitive to soaps and detergents I might suggest that you bring sheets and a pillow case for the hospital bed as the detergents and bleach that they use are quite strong and may irritate your skin if you are there for a length of time. Hope that all goes smoothly!

Totally impressed with your preparations! I threw up several days horribly so make sure you have something for that by your bed . Everyone says to make sure you have something for your bowels because you do NOT want to have that issue too, so maybe another variety of laxative just in case the one does not work. You will really appreciate the adjustable bed too.

Just breathe deeply and relax. Remember the recovery will not be overnight but in a few months you will find it was worth it. Think about that as you lay there wondering it it was the right thing to do. Good luck.

I go in next week - would love an update :slight_smile:

Kathryn, good luck next week. It’s tough, but worth it. Even after a complicated recovery and second surgery due to a CSF leak, I am already feeling better and glad I did it!
I also think my preparations really helped recovery-wise, especially when I hit some complications. I never expected to spend 23 days in the hospital, and my doctors thought my home recovery would also be slow. Amazingly, 6 weeks out from the second surgery they told me I’m way ahead. I think it mainly owes to the nutritional base I have, plus being dilligent with PT and OT. If you can get home PT and OT after your hospital stay, that truly helped me progress. Now I’m in outpatient PT, which is also really important to ask for. Some surgeons don’t recommend it as a matter of course, but your muscles truly need it.
From my list above, I’d say the hospital stuff was right on for me. Maybe add a few granola bars for a support person if they are staying with you. Sometimes you don’t know when doctors will round, and your support person might end up stuck in the room long past breakfast!
As far as when you get home, I was surprised by how long nausea and food aversions persisted even with anti-nausea meds. Smoothies and highly palatable soups were all I wanted.
Lastly, from the above list, the CBD oil really helped me. After my second surgery, the muscles in my neck tightened and wouldn’t release even with strong muscle relaxers. But they loosened up as soon as I started the CBD oil, which my neurologist did approve and told me wasn’t problematic with the other pain meds I was on.
My final advice is to get up and move and keep moving. I started tracking my steps when I was able to get out of bed and move a little, starting a month ago. When I first started tracking I was at 1500 steps a day. By adding a little each day, now I’m up to 9-10,000 a day depending on how I feel. I really credit moving with helping my recovery too. My surgeon said they tell everyone to walk as they are able, and maybe 20% do. So as you can, really listening to your body, try to walk a little.
I’ll be praying for you. You’ll do great.