I appreciate all the calls, emails, and texts that you all have sent over the last few weeks. I have been waiting to speak with two doctors, in particular, that have been very helpful, understanding and kind to me over the years, and both are extremely knowledgeable.

The utter shock of the response from my surgeon in not wanting to go through with the planned surgery is still lingering, so to speak with both of them in the last couple of days have been some relief, to say the least. If you knew me through my quadruple by-pass, you may remember the first of these doctors, Dr. Manios, my primary care physician. She literally made me go to the emergency department after my short of breath incident, over the phone with her, after a short walk. I will never forget the emergency doctor’s words ” you are extremely lucky if you didn’t come in today I hesitate to think what your chance of survival would be”. She has been on the front lines for COVID 19 in the critical care unit at Kaiser.

She was surprised at my surgeon’s choice of not wanting to do the larger surgery at this time due to my age. There was no need for Jennifer nor I to ask for a second opinion because she was on it and she got someone from the spinal unit to make a second opinion meeting for me in 10 days. She continued to say if I didn’t feel comfortable with this surgeon than she can send me to the spinal surgery unit of USC, as Kaiser now works with USC medical.

The burden was lifted a little and I was now happier to talk with pain management and my second telemed meeting was with Dr. Shah from Pain Management. The same surprise from what had concluded was as equaled to Dr. Manios. Jennifer spoke of an old procedure I had back in 2014 called RFA ( Radio Frequency Ablation ) where they ablate (rub off the nerve endings), and asked if this may last longer than an epidural. Thankfully, Dr. Shah agreed.

The good news is that this procedure has worked very well in the past, lasting up to 10 months, which will hopefully be more than enough time for them to sort out a surgery. I wanted to answer the question that a couple of people had mentioned. A couple of friends said if I don’t need surgery, that’s great. I am reminded daily of the condition of my back because the pain is extremely debilitating. This spinal fusion surgery has been brought up several times by numerous doctors as a remedy for current and future issues. I really don’t understand why they just don’t do it now – it’s easier to recover when you’re younger.