The herniated disc is between the 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae and surgery was required in order to repair this. On July 16th we left Chile to return to the United States for the surgery. Dr. Yonemura at the University of Utah Medical Center was my surgeon and the procedure, known as a Posterior Lamino Foraminotomy was performed yesterday morning. In this surgery entry was made from the back left side of my neck. Some bone is removed to make a larger space for the nerve and then the ruptured portion of the disc is shaved away. As a bonus, he removed several bone spurs that formed due to my arthritis.
The surgery took approximately 3.5 hours and went well. I am now recovering at home. The doctor estimates 2-4 weeks for recovery. Interestingly, the most painful part of the procedure was a large second degree burn to my right arm that occurred during surgery from the carterization tool. As I woke from the anesthesia I wondered why my right arm was so painful and that is when they discovered the burn.
It is certainly nice to be home for a few weeks and to see many family and friends, especially our granddaughters, but we miss the mission and our missionaries very much. We are hopeful that the recovery will go quickly so we can get back to the greatest mission in the world: Chile Osorno!
In our absence, Elder Stephen Boyden and his wife are watching over the mission. Elder Boyden is the Executive Secretary for the Chile Area and previously served as a mission president in Mexico and president of the MTC in Spain. It is wonderful to know that they are available to help through this process. They will be a great blessing for our mission.