Well I’ve finally come to the end of my rope and am now looking at sacroiliac joint fusion surgery. This is where my husband would jump in with how I should just let Jesus heal me. My response to this is always the same: Jesus is free to heal me whenever and however he wants. I continue to pray for healing but I am also one to firmly believe that doctors have been put here for a reason and “healing” can look completely different than the version of healing I have constructed in my head. My only expectation is that I will be healed, one way or another. Luckily, my husband still supports my decision and has been very supportive in my leaning towards the more expensive version of “my” solution.
Chiropractors, Youtube exercises, nerve blocks, injections, MRIs and Xray scans, radiofrequency nerve ablations, massage, medication, anointing oil, etc etc have landed me in the spot where my amazing pain management doctor has recommended me for surgical consult and I met with Dr. James Billys with Florida Orthopaedic Institute to discuss those options.
I am relieved that I finally have an official diagnosis of “SI Joint Dysfunction” but this new discovery has also catapulted me into a new world of information…surgery techniques, surgeons, neurosurgery vs orthopaedic, alignment of joints, screw types, post-op recovery, success rates, etc.
iFuse with Florida Orthopaedic Institute:
I met with Dr. Billys who seems very knowledgeable and recommended the iFuse surgical method of putting in several titanium rods to fuse my joint. A good friend has had a very successful fusion with him which is the only reason I continued to pursue his advice.
Red Flag #1: I asked if they align my joints/pelvis before surgery and he said “no” because the SI joint moves very little as it is. That is slightly disturbing…what if I am fused out of alignment forever? This is not reversible.
Red Flag #2: Secondly, he handed me some nice, glossy marketing materials from an obviously well-oiled marketing machine, which tells me they are definitely interested in making a profit.
Red Flag #3: Thirdly, the recovery time is at least 3 weeks on crutches, out of work for 1-2 weeks since I mostly sit. While this is not overly a red flag, it still is a huge consideration, mostly because I have a 19-month-old toddler.
Red Flag #4: Their office is over-booked and their Brandon office is disgusting. Admittedly, their Sun City Center office was much better but I still get the gut feeling that I am a number in the grand scheme of things.
Red Flag #5: He also did not know my chart or have appeared to have overly reviewed it. I had to tell him everything that I’d already had done thus far. This is a huge problem.
I have to remember to listen to these gut feelings as I sometimes feel they are divinely inspired. My concerns on him mount the more I do my research and the stories of the failed iFused patients are horrific. He has a 80%+ success rate, but what if I’m in that other 20% that is permanently altered forever?
SI-FIX with Dr. Carter Beck in Montana:
I’m in several SI Joint Dysfunction groups on Facebook (Thank God for them) and repeatedly, this guy “Dr. Beck” keeps coming up. There are numerous personal videos of my newfound “friends” literally walking unassisted hours after their surgery, with a success rate of 97%. He is the inventor of his method and is the only one in the world doing it like this. He is reportedly also very selective on his patients and would rather heal you than sell out his method to the Marketing Machine. He puts in a hollowed cage-screw filled with biologic matter (probably my own) through the posterior instead of going in laterally, avoiding tearing through all the glute muscles…hence the lessened recovery time.
I like that. An extensive interview with him can be found here which pretty much sold me on his method. I have contacted his office and sent all of my records over for them to review.
The problem is his office is in Montana. That’s right…Montana. We’re talking about $1000-$2000 in flight costs if I fly alone without my husband from Florida. My FB groupies have given me tons of tips, including flying to Seattle first, then jumping on a smaller airline to Missoula, MT…we’ll see. I am forever thankful and grateful that my husband has been very open-minded about this approach, even if it means more out-of-pocket expenses for us. He’d rather I go with quality and do it right, since we’re talking the rest of my life here. I appreciate him for that.
I want to be able to walk again and run again. One of my personal goals is to complete a 5K…whether walking or running, and not have to be disabled for weeks afterwards because of the pain. I want to be able to practice soccer or baseball with my son instead of being stuck on the sidelines when he gets older.
My husband likes to tell me I’m “reading between the lines” on some of my dreams, but that’s okay. I’d like to share this one because it’s just so eerily related that I can’t shake it. I found a dream journal I had tucked away and had forgotten about…interesting that I found it now. It was last August, and I dreamed that I was having a difficult time finding a place to do my back surgery for me. No one would help me. Finally, a group of misfitted and forgotten/rejected people came together as a group to find me a hospital that would help me…”Jordan” was the name I got, then I woke up.
I can usually tell if these dreams are mildly memorable/”prophetic” and I know this one was, but couldn’t find anything at all on “Jordan” at the time. When I looked this time, eerily there is a city/town of Jordan a few hours from Missoula, Montana…the only other city of Jordan is in Minnesota. And the misfitted group of people…my Facebook SI Joint groupers who have been rejected by mainstream medicine and are having to be our own health advocates because our “si joint problems” are too difficult to diagnose, or they think we’re crazy. We’re not.
That being said, all “signs” are pointing to Montana. I don’t know what the future holds, but I pray the Holy Spirit continues to guide me in my decisions, leading me to the right people, the right places, the rights hands, and the right minds as I move forward with getting screwed.
More to come…I fully intend on blogging every step/joint along the way. I can’t tell you how helpful the blogs of those who came before me have helped! Check out my SI Joint Dysfunction section to read more.