…and you think finals are a pain in the neck?

RobbieHuffakerWith the end of the semester looming, most students have the stress and horrors of finals on their minds.

I wish I could say the same.

Thankfully, I am doing well in my classes, so I do not have much to worry about in that aspect.

But now that December is here my thoughts have started wondering to the date of the 16.

While it does not hold any special meaning for most—unless it happens to be an important day for you as well—it is a day that has been in my mind for months.  I will be going under the knife for arguably the first time in my life; having my C5, C6, and C7 vertebra in my neck fused together.

I have had the surgery planned for months now, but as it draws ever closer I have really started thinking about the dangers of this kind of procedure.

Of course any kind of operation is dangerous, but just the thought of someone cutting and working around my spinal cord makes me immensely nervous.

What if the doctor sneezes? What if he accidentally fuses the discs at an angle and I have a permanent head tilt?

Yes I know it’s unlikely, but you have to be mentally prepared for anything.  All kidding aside, it truly has been a nerve-racking experience.  For the first time in my life I have been forced to look at my life and family from an outside perspective.  What if, god forbid, something were to happen to me?  Would my family be ok? How would my kids handle it?  Hundreds of questions have been pouring through my mind; most I’m unable to answer.

Even with all of the fear, stress and doubts I have over the surgery, I am ready to have it done.  Even though I will lose up to 40 percent mobility in my neck, have to wear a neck brace for 8 weeks, and will more than likely have to give up on my dream of becoming a professional wrestler in the WWE, it will be worth it.

Since last December I have been dealing with an increasingly painful condition.  I found out in April that I had two herniated discs in my neck, and after trying all other treatments, decided to schedule the surgery.  I have dealt with nerve pain in my right arm for months—nerve pain, for those of you that have never experienced it, is similar to someone continually shocking you with a Taser—so at this point, I would about let them take the arm if that’s what it took to make it stop.

I still have a couple weeks before surgery, and I will have some finals to focus on for a little while, still it’s hard not to think about “what if.”

I gain some comfort from the fact that my father and grandfather had similar conditions. My father actually had the same procedure years ago, and he came out fine.  So, the weak neck condition is something the Huffaker’s have been dealing with for generations.

I will keep searching for the positives, something I always try to do. Come next semester, if you see me on campus feel free to say hi. I’ll be the guy with the neck brace.

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