Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tackling the Back

I'm usually the type of procrastinator who puts off decisions and actions in hopes that things will sort themselves out while I let my fickle brain mull it all over. It is so unlike me to take a drastic action like voluntarily having hip surgery. You know that I had to rely on Jeremy to urge me on, reminding me that torn up hips do not sort themselves out. The short story to the present day brings us to my being glad he did, happy with the surgery results, and even beginning to run again.

The longer version has not yet ended, and the back pain I've had since Hunter was a rapidly expanding infant wrapped to me via lumbar spine, was not directly related to my hip's torn off labrum. I was hopeful all was fixed in the weeks following surgery, when my back, while sitting in a wheelchair most of the day, wasn't causing me many problems. But now, oh now! I have such sympathy for people in chronic pain. I never realized that everything hurts worse -- a toy truck to the shin, a small child running across your stomach-- when you have a constant pain elsewhere. 

I was on a roll after taking charge of the hip pain, and having met my insurance deductible for the year helped me speed myself up. Back I went to my original sports med doc, who ordered an MRI on my lumbar spine, then sent me to a pain specialist at the Spine Institute. After finally meeting with him, I am super optimistic about my prognosis. No, really! He thinks that a steroid injection into my right L5/S1 facet area will decrease the inflammation enough to take the pain away, since the findings included facet arthropathy with fluid on the right side (where the center of the pain is located) and some neural foraminal narrowing on both sides. Apparently I have extra large facets. I win! Er... There is a disc bulge with a small tear and protrusion, but he does not think that is causing my problems. I have some additional facet arthropathy and a mild disc bulge at L4-5, but, I mean, who doesn't? If the steroid does not do the trick, we can just do a little rhizotomy back there. Nobody really needs sensory input like this anyway.

Getting this injection had to be put off until after we vacation next week, since last Friday wouldn't work: it was Hunter's first day EVER at school! He was excited before, a bit nervous during, and not completely opposed to going back. So that's a win at our house.

Oh, did I mention that I can run? Why yes I did. When he heard the news, Hunter exclaimed, "What?! You can run now?" My ortho doc released me to walk 10 minutes, run 10 minutes, and walk another 10 minutes three times a week, conceding that 10 minutes surely did not seem like much. To me, it's huge! The muscles in my legs had certainly forgotten how to run, and it seemed like a very foreign movement that was followed with some delayed onset muscular soreness the next day. Running isn't without pain, since I feel twinges randomly with every step, which could be attributed to my hip, weak muscles, back bulges, or tactile hallucinations-- who knows really. But still, I have quadrupled my 2016 run mileage with my 6 one-mile runs. I will surely never sit criss-cross-applesauce again, and please don't ask me to do a sit and reach test. But I do look forward to my putters around the nearby flat church parking lot.

And at least some of us get to run around like with puppies when they come to play. Do we need one of our own? 

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