Since Julie had three young and rambunctious boys, her husband had to explain that they needed to be gentle with their mother. Friends brought her dinner every night for about two weeks. A year out, Julie is not 100% recovered but she is steadily getting better. Julie emphasizes that everyone has a different experience. Talk to people. “Interview” doctors. Do what feels right to you.
So many people along the way say, oh, you don't want to have back surgery. You don't want to do it. Don't open up the spine, it's really bad. So it plays with your mind. I tried not to go on the Internet too much, because you read the horror stories about people that are messed up, and there's a basketball coach at school who had a really bad experience, and he's walking around with a brace saying don't do it. So it's a hard thing to actually say, you know, just do it. But walking around too, it's, like, you can't live that way either. I thought I cannot live the rest of my life like this. You just have to listen to your body, 'cause your body's tired. I just felt like I couldn't push it too much. That's why I read a lot of books. I read every book that was out. [LAUGH]
It was the one thing I felt like I was doing something, and I would just relax. I would sit down in a place that I felt comfortable, sometimes it was just sitting up like this, sometimes it was with my feet up. It's such a rough road, and I feel like it's really individual. Some people are really afraid of surgery. Some people would rather live with that pain. I think it helps to talk to people who have gone through it, because there are so many options out there, and I feel like there's going to be more. I know a lady, a realtor who had the same surgery I had back in 1972, I think it was, and she was in the hospital for 13 days. I was there for eight hours. So it's changed so much.
I do feel like it helps to talk to people and also just see how you feel about your doctor. It's like going on an interview. You know, if you go and you don't like them, go somewhere else, or if you go and you really like them, you can still get a second opinion. I think whatever you do that feels right is the most important thing. It has to feel right for you.