Former "Little House on the Prairie" star Melissa Gilbert will soon undergo her fourth spinal fusion surgery.
On Nov 16, the actress posted an Instagram photo from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport as she made her way to California, where she's getting the surgery.
"In 2016 I had my third spinal fusion surgery. It was in my neck at C6-7. I found out late last year that the fusion had failed, that the hardware was boring a hole in my C7 vertebra and I would need another surgery," she wrote alongside the image. "In April of this year, I had a consultation with Dr Robert Bray at #discsportsandspinecenter."
The same doctor did her first fusion, in her neck, in 2001. He also repaired her back when she broke it in 2010.
"He agreed surgery was necessary and he felt I was a good candidate for an artificial disc instead of a fusion. Saving me from having to do more fusions down my spine in the future," Melissa, 56, said. "The catch was that I had about six months. Double catch, hello COVID-19. So I waited as long as possible."
The pain is now too much to bear.
"The pain is nearly constant and the fingers on my right hand are beginning to tingle. So we scheduled my surgery for this Thursday," she said.
In her final hurdle before the surgery, Melissa has to stay clear of the coronavirus, which is setting daily case records across the country.
Giving a nod to her legendary Halfpint character on "Little House on the Prairie," Melissa said, "I'm channeling my inner Halfpint for this one. The one who believes anything is possible. The one with courage and moxie to spare!! Everyone stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong. And if you have an extra prayer or two, please send them my way."