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I wish this were a typo. I wish I was saying TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) and posting about some wonderful weekend adventure.

Instead, this post is about TLIF — Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) back surgery. That’s what I’m scheduled for on Monday. A link to more information on the procedure is here: http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion/transforaminal-lumbar-interbody-fusion-tlif-back-surgery. Basically, the surgeon will go in through an incision in my back at the L3-L4 level, cut away the bone, remove the damaged disc material, insert some spacers and bone grafting materials, apply some spinal fusion bone materials, then screw everything back together again with screws and rods. When healed, this procedure stabilizes the spine both in front and in back.

I went through this same procedure about two years ago for the L2-L3 level and did well, so I am hopeful for the same result. At that time, the L3-L4 level right below it (where we are today), looked very healthy on the imaging studies. When I saw the MRI pictures at the doctor’s office yesterday, it looked like someone exploded a hand grenade in my spine. The disk was completely blown out, the vertebrae were all crumbled and gnarly with bone spurs, there was pressure on the spinal column (as well as elsewhere). It was a mess. The surgeon said he’d never seen such rapid deterioration. I explained that my RA hasn’t been well-controlled in at least a year, so that probably contributed to it.

This blows up a lot of things I had scheduled, including a wonderful four-day trip to New Orleans with my husband next week. I can’t drive for at least three weeks and won’t be able to fly for six to eight weeks. I’ll miss some work, but I will be able to work from home once I’m recovered enough, so that will help.

This is not the news I wanted, but after reading the MRI report (excerpted in my previous post), I have to say that I’m not surprised.

I hope whatever surprises are in your life today are good ones. Thanks for checking in.

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