For the next eighteen months I believed I was out whiting my herniation. I did Aqua Therapy, Physical Therapy, Pain Management, Acupuncture, Meditation and would have carried a penny in my shoe if I thought it would have helped. I could no longer sit for more than a few minutes at a time. I couldn’t turn my head to one side and lost the entire use of my left arm. I’m not sure exactly which one of those things was the last straw, but I can remember wearing my pink velour sweat pants, a long sleeve white T-shirt and my green J-Crew baseball hat to walk the girls to the curb so they could walk to school and I saw myself in a reflection. I looked like shit. I was emaciated, I was gaunt, I had sunken eyes with bags under them. I didn’t recognize myself and I knew at that moment something had to change, I could not live like this any longer. Shortly after that I had surgery. A full discectomy, with a titanium plate, four screw and cadaver bone to grow into my spine. I held a family meeting where my mother, sister and best friend all went over the schedule for the kids, where my bills needed to be paid, who was and wasn’t allowed to do my hair if I ended up paralyzed that I wanted a black and pink wheelchair if that were to happen. I also wanted to make sure they understood that if the surgery was in fact not a success and I ended up paralyzed who would ensure that I always had lip gloss on. All the important details were covered and I arrived at the hospital at 5 am as instructed. My parents, my kids and Friend guy. As they put the robe on me, I could see my families growing anxiety and nerves, I on the other hand was cool as a cucumber. Except for the moment I realized I just got my period. Jesus Christmas really? So I tell the nurse I need to leave my underwear on cause I am bleeding and she says “Take them off and stuff this pad up there and make sure you tell them downstairs” Umm….that was not a suitable response in my book, but you don’t mess with the nurses so I did what I was told and headed downstairs on the stretcher. Friend guy held my hand until the last second possible and I could see him standing there as the doors closed behind me. We got to the waiting area where there were seven other surgical patients and me. All were discussing with various medical professionals that they were hungry or didn’t take their morning medicine. I had to let someone know I just got my period! The nurse, anesthesiologist and a tech all came to the bedside and I began to tell them the severity of my menstrual cycle. “So you know, I just got my period, it’ll be heavy today so I don’t want anyone to think mid-surgery that I am hemorrhaging and try to sew it up. I’m still going to need it.” The nurse started to laugh so hard and then she fell to the floor. The two male docs just giggle nervously and reassured me that in fact no one would sew up my vagina. PHEW! The signal between my best friend and I to tell if I made it out of surgery ok, was a thumbs up or thumbs down. I can remember the doctor waking me saying “Move your arm.” I couldn’t he knew that. Again he yelled “Move your arm” I moved my arm and instantly my eyes flew open. Oh My God! It worked. I’m not sure how long between the doctor visiting and my family and friend guy coming into the room, but I was drugged up and my best friend said “So?” All I could muster was to give her the middle finger….and I heard her say “Oh she’s going to be perfectly fine” Despite the best laid plans sometimes things work out for the better instead of for the worse. Plan for the worse hope for the best right? This surgery was the best decision of my life. I haven’t made too many of them, but this one was the right one. It took me a long time to get to. I fought it for a long time, I endured pain and frustration and loss in a lot of ways connected to this herniation. And in the end making the hard decision was ultimately the right one. But isn’t that always the case? We know what the right decision is and yet we fight it. Thinking we know better or that we can avoid the difficulty of it. In the end, sometimes the hardest decisions turn out to be the best life changing ones. So take the risk. Worst case scenario is you get a black and pink wheelchair. And I think that’s still pretty cool.