Saturday, September 2, 2017

My summer! Day 1 I'm Blogging Along with Effy!

I haven't blogged much this summer and there are multiple reasons why...but then I haven't don't much of anything.  I am a fan of Effy Wild an artist I follow and she is sponsoring a blog along this month and I decided I was going to try and do it as much as I can.   If you are interested in following along with her just click on the link.
Okay so here is the Day 1 prompt from Effy Wild....

Today’s Nudge: Start where you are. What’s going on with you? What’s on your heart/mind today, right now, at this moment. No back story necessary. No disclaimers. What’s up, buttercup? Spill it.

My last post on June 23 was just 3 days away from my back surgery...  I had been having worsening symptoms of low back pain and inability to walk or get around well on my own.  That is an understatement to tell the truth!  I had grade 1 spondylolisthesis where the vertebrae and disc's are slipping.  What were my symptoms?

  1. Back pain that shot down both cheeks of my butt
  2. The pain radiated to the outside of my thighs and down my legs.  
  3. Both legs would start to ache and feel so weak if I did most any activity.  Walking around Walmart or even cooking dinner would cause them to ache and my toes in my right foot would go to sleep.  What was funny was the achiness would settle on the tops of my feet not the bottom and I thought it was the sandals I would wear causing it.
  4. I had so much trouble walking I tended not to go to any stores without the mobility carts to shop.  I started walking with a cane to help me balance.  
  5. I would fall around a lot.  I fell on Christmas Day 2015 and broke my left knee, hurt my back, and hip.
  6. I had trouble sitting for any length of time cause my low back would hurt and if I tried to bend over I had shooting pains in my back and legs.  
  7. I was one of the lucky ones that had problems with incontinence.  I had gone to a urologist and paid megabucks for tests.
  8. I became depressed and started going to a psych/talk therapist at my daughters urging.
I tried conservative treatments to try an alleviate the pain and other issues but nothing seemed to work.  I took anti-inflammatory drugs over the counter and prescription, steroids, anti-inflammatory diet, eventually ended up in a pain management clinic where I received a back brace and injections in my spine by a pain management doctor.  Nothing seemed to work to help my pain or other problems.  
In February of 2017 the pain management doctor told me that I needed surgery to fix my back and referred me to a neurosurgeon!  

I had to wait from February to the end of May to get into see the doctor.  First thing he did was to take X-rays and get and MRI showed a Grade 1 with 20-25% slippage in the lumbar vertebrae!
You don't have to look too close to see the slippage!
As you can see it doesn't look like much is off but it definitely caused me a lot of issues.  

Doctor Cochran told me that I needed a lumbar laminectomy and spinal fusion and the sooner the better to help stabilize my spine cause it would only get worse!  I had been told this by two other doctors so I told him that I was ready to get rid of my 'issues'!   Heather had come for a visit on Fathers Day and had gone with me to the doctor so the surgery was set up on the following Monday so she could be here. 

Side view of hardware and new discs...I have titanium screws!
frontal view post op

I had the surgery and had a few problems with bleeding and oxygen saturations but that was nothing compared to the fact that I woke up for the first time in a long time with no pain in my legs or numbness in my toes.  The post op course has not been easy but it gets better every day.  I started PT yesterday, I am off most all the meds including pain killers and muscle relaxers.  

A few pictures Heather documented of the process!  
My Cheering squad in the waiting room!

Me pre-op
me post op

My incision.  I can't even tell looking in a mirror now.  Impressive considering all the work!

I have really progressed a lot in the 2 months since I have had the surgery.  I have had some ups and downs but the biggest thing is I have the ability to get around a bit better now.  The pain isn't as bad as it once was getting up and down out of a chair or bed.  It will take a bit longer...about 6 months the physical therapist told me to actually get to feeling like it was worth the trouble.  I think I already do!

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