My Spring Break: 2012
After inadvertently disconnecting my Twitter feed from Facebook for 3 months, I apologize for not giving friends (and even some family) a heads-up on my recent back surgery. It was not related to a specific injury, but was brought on by degenerative disc disease. I battled similar issues from 2003-2006, with a relapse in February of 2011.
This February I started to experience sharp pains in my calves, along with some other symptoms that, within a few weeks, sent me in for medical advice and then in for an MRI.
A little over a week later, I had a procedure which cleaned up discs from my L5 to S1 vertebrae and removed disc material that was pressing somewhat precariously on a fairly important nerve.
I went in on Tuesday, the 17th, and came out a day later, and my care was left to Sarah, who drained and iced and bandaged things that she never could have envisioned when she married me, without complaint and with unyielding kindness. While I was very limited in my mobility for a few days, over the course of a week, with her care and some pharmaceutical assistance, my condition and comfort level improved substantially.
I got my stitches out on Tuesday (which is surprisingly easy), and I am limited to lifting 15 lbs. and “walking” as my only exercise for a month, until I get cleared at a follow-up with my surgeon.
My discs will continue to degenerate, as will yours (if, may I hope, more slowly). In light of that challenge, I am actively working to reduce my weight and gain core strength to:
- reduce the workload of my discs, and
- (hopefully) slow their decline, or
- (more plausibly) reduce the impact of their decline.
My goal is to make this my final back surgery, but, at a minimum, I would like to forestall additional surgical intervention until I am at least 60, or, until my discs can be repaired with a quick injection of stem cells, whichever comes first.
Yesterday, 16 days after surgery, I walked from St. Anne’s Church in Warsaw across the downtown to the Public Library (0.54 miles, for the sake of precision, and the longest diagonal journey across the “city”). As I walked, I felt like my hometown had expanded substantially over the past 3 months, perhaps due to geological forces.
I covered a mile in just over 20 minutes and, while that isn’t a “run”, posted my progress to Facebook and Twitter using the Nike+ GPS app on my phone. Over the next hour, I received a wealth of uniformly positive and wholly unanticipated feedback from friends near and far.
This morning, after 2 ibuprofen and some ice last night to fight any inflammation, I am pleased to submit the following inventory:
- my feet hurt (due to inappropriate footwear yesterday)
- my legs are tired (but I have no numbness, tingling, burning or pain)
- my back feels great (pain free).
Please allow me to decline any credit for my recovery to this point, and extend credit instead to:
- my surgeon in Fort Wayne, Dr. Gregory Hoffman
- the team at Parkview Ortho Hospital — each member of their staff with whom I’ve interacted over the past 2 months has been, without exception, professional, knowledgeable, compassionate, courteous, kind and enthusiastic.
- my family and friends and fellow parishioners at St. Anne’s, who provided support and love
- most of all, my wife, without whom I could not have recovered to this degree, or at this pace.
Looking ahead, an inability to reform my bad, if common, habits, in light of the opportunity I have today to stand and walk without impediment would not just be a waste, but an insult to the people who’ve lifted me to the point.
So, if you see me and I’m enjoying a sugar-packed snack or a carb-filled side dish, please flick me on the ear and remind me of the jaunt I took this spring.
Fox News’s Shepard Smith reacts to Romney’s reaction to Gingrich’s exit from the Republican presidential race. I promise, it’s priceless.
One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country,” the former Pennsylvania senator explained. “It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.