Sunday, April 17, 2016

The journey starts with a single step

The initial goal of my retirement is to heal my body. Simple to say, difficult to do.

The first problem that I'm working has to do with my gastroenterological system. I had my gall bladder removed last December. I had some "plumbing" problems before that I haven't solved yet. I think a lot of this has to do with too much medication interacting in undesirable ways mixed in with some diet woes. This is moving along.

More of an issue for me is my back. Over 25 years ago, in what seems to be a different lifetime, I had surgery on my back. An L5/S1 discectomy. The issue then, and as it recurred, involved weakness in my right leg with sciatic pain to my toes. I had good days and bad days after the surgery but had a recurrence that we tried a then experimental process of epidural steroid injections into my back. I did three of these shots and they helped me recover and be OK for a while.

Over the past few months my left hip and leg started hurting. I thought this might be a hip or some other type of issue happening and first saw a chiropractor. He immediately said go see a real orthopedic doctor. I found the doctor who did my surgery a gazillion years ago. He was still practicing, sent me for PT and said to come back if I wasn't cured. I tried that PT, it didn't fix me, then went for an MRI which showed I have almost everything that could be wrong with my back is wrong with my back. My main issue is spinal stenosis. I also have herniated discs, nerve damage, scar tissue, degenerative disc disease and other stuff I've forgotten.

Meanwhile, I can't stand for more that a minute at a time nor walk more than 100 yards.

We decided the try the now non experimental shots again. They hurt a lot more than I remember. The first one didn't lead to any relief. I just did round 2 last Thursday. I'll find out if it works in about a week after it kicks in.

This injury is odd in that rest doesn't help. I need to be active but being active triggers pain. Dr.Internet says to get a cane or a walker or anything just to get more active. David Wright of the NY Mets has the same issue and they say he needs to workout and stretch for up to 3 hours a day just to be able to play. I started today with 5 minutes on the 'mill and some stretching. This was an improvement from the one minute limit of last week so I'm going to try to do this a few times a day, mix in some swimming this week, and see where it leads.

I know that losing weight can only help. If I don't fix this with this approach, the next surgery would include screws and titanium rods in my back to fuse discs to together. That, my friends, is something I want to avoid.


CautiouslyAudacious said...

Sounds like you are dealing with a lot of pain! I hope you find a solution that works for you! Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Kate Geisen said...

I read an article ages ago about people dealing with chronic pain, and one of the points I remember related to the fact that activity helps, but of course people don't want to do activity because they hurt. The people who were able to maintain/increase activity under supervision of medical staff had more improvement and better quality of life even when they were still hurting. Best wishes to you!

Al's CL Reviews said...

I hear you about the back pain. It is tough. One of my docs told me to lose some weight, so I'm on Day 1 of trying to focus on that.

On a side note, screws and rods aren't so bad...of course that's from someone who has T12-L2 screwed together.

And the activity is crazy. It makes you feel better but it is hard to start because you hurt. Just keep focusing on moving forward.