Hi my friends. It's been a while since I posted an update and a lot has been going on, so I wanted to share with you. Some of you may already have bits and pieces from chats, so it may not be all that new for everyone.
When last I posted I think I was just going to see some surgeons about
a possible fusion surgery. Well, it turns out that surgery cannot help me because the damage is not to the bones or disks of my spine. So I'm happy that I don't have to go through surgery, but also a bit down to finally have the word that my injury will never be cured. It seems so silly that I pushed myself too hard just once and I will pay for it the rest of my life.
After that I went back to my PM. But now I'm not there to get procedures ordered by other doctors. Now I'm there for long term pain management. That change has been a long time coming, but I feel that it's probably a good thing for me. My PM has always been my best doctor and I trust that he will be able to help me all the more now that I'm officially his patient. I had hoped to never be on long term medication. It's a place I know none of us want to be. But it looks like that's going to be my only real option now. I figure though that many people live having to take pills everyday, so I'll manage it too.
I know I'll probably never live without pain, but it's been 11 years now and I'm getting pretty used to my constant companion. So I find myself comparing what I'll have against where I am now, not against before my injury. I think this is good. If nothing else, I'm happy and hopeful to get some of my life back. At the least this means I'll soon be done with the stopgap treatments meant to tide me over until the next specialist appointment. Those were like trying to stem the tide with a broom anyways. Their effect was noticeable, but didn't really do enough to help me in any useful fashion.
I'm scheduled to meet with one more specialist: a neurologist to check for any zebras that might have been missed. That's my newest medical jargon, it means uncommon problems. Essentially we have tests showing that I have damage to my C7 nerve root, but we want to make sure there isn't a root cause that we missed. On the bad nights I wonder how I'll make it until the 12th when my appointment is scheduled. But on the good nights I can see it is finally getting close. I waited this long, I'll make it for a few more days.
Unless the neurologist finds something we're not expecting, my PM has said he'd like to start me on Neurontin or Lyrica to see how those work for me. He said that I could tell the neurologist those and get prescript
ions from that doctor if i wanted (I think so that I could start them earlier). But if I end up on medication I'd rather have it ordered by my PM for a couple reasons. Primarily because the neurologist takes about
a month's advance notice for appointments where my PM is only a few days. I think that may be especially important when starting new medications that may not work for me or have too strong of side effects and so need to be changed.
I've been incredibly busy at work lately. It's not easy without sleep and putting in all the extra hours. But I love my job and we just started a new project that could really be a huge leap up for the company. I hope that whatever treatment I start, it will quickly allow me to get enough sleep again.
I do have an interesting story for you all: We had a few higher-up visitors to the office a couple weeks back. Since I've been working on some stuff that's pretty front and center, they came by to see some of the most recent features I'd coded. While explaining my focus to the other visitors, our external producer grabbed me by my shoulders and massaged my upper back and shoulders like you would expect a manager to do for a fighter. It was just a jest meant to indicate that I had a lot on my plate but that he was confident in my abilities, and such a gesture would normally have been completely acceptable around our office. But wow did he ever find the wrong spot to press on
. He had no idea of my injury, but luckily our internal producer was there and I think fairly jumped out of his skin to stop him once he saw that I had clenched my eyes closed and stopped moving. It wasn't funny that day, but since then I have found the humor in the situation.
An advantage to not having to go the surgery route, is that the family cruise to Alaska is back on for sure for this summer. I'm seriously looking forward to that one. I've been to Alaska before and loved that. And I've been on a cruise before and quite enjoyed myself there as well. I think these two favorites will mix quite well
. When I next see my PM, I plan to ask him what activities he thinks would be a good/bad idea on the cruise. For example, my family thinks I'm nuts for wanting to go kayaking since that's how I originally injured myself. I might also ask if PT would be a good idea to help safely rebuild some of my strength for being more active since I know I have lost some in chasing the infamous low pain day.
Overall, I think 'happy and hopeful' is a pretty good descript
ion of where I am these days. And that's not a bad place to be. I'm content for now. All the more so that I finally get to share good news with my family here
. Although I know it's always acceptable, I was getting a bit tired of only posting rants and downer information.
Wow, this post is long. But I had a lot I wanted to share and I've typed it at least three times before, so I had worked up a pretty long list of topics. Oh well, hopefully you just skipped to the end if you got bored.
I hope everyone's having a great, low pain day! And thanks for listening. Off to work with me.