I never though I’d be excited about going to the doctor

The last couple of days have been tough physically because my pain level has been pretty high. I always considered myself to be a tough guy and a man’s man but my injury has humbled me.

Nothing in the military and no amount of self-inflicted pain from my days as an endurance athlete could have prepared me for this kind of suffering. It’s kind of funny because nearly every book written about an endurance athlete talks at length about suffering and how the athlete, in a kind of morbid, masochistic way, enjoys suffering. Enjoys punishing himself, like he’s trying to pay a penance for some past transgression and I was no different. I loved spending five or six hours out on the road, punishing myself and more importantly, punishing my competition.

Perhaps all the cold dreary whether is playing with my emotions a bit too. I haven’t felt like doing much lately and even a seemingly small thing such as going to watch my youngest son’s high school soccer game the other night was all I could handle physically. I watched the second half from my car so I could get out of the could and sit in a more comfortable, reclining seat.

Fortunately we’ve had some good news, my long term disability and Social Security were both approved recently. That is a great load that has been lifted since we had nearly exhausted all of our savings; thank God we had it.

We also were able to get an appointment with the neurosurgeon who is the chief surgeon at Methodist Hospital in Houston, so I am greatly looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my situation. My current surgeon, whom I respect greatly, gave us about a 10% chance of surgery working which obviously doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

More next week after my appointment – God bless…

– Todd

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Living with chronic pain

Living with chronic pain, especially back pain can be debilitating not only physically but mentally as well. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was pain free and after two major back surgeries in the last three years, I actually think my pain is worse now.

It has been a little over six months since my most recent surgery, which we thought was going to be a revision of my first surgery to correct the top level of my fusion at L3. For some reason the top level didn’t fuse and the pedicle screws became stripped, just like a screw in wood. However, when they opened me up they discovered that both pars bones, which are the small vertical bones that connect the vertebra, were broken between L3 and L4. Obviously this changed the whole scope of the operation.

Thus far the images are not showing any reason that I am in so much pain but they didn’t show the two broken pars bones either. I met with a pain management doctor today and we’re going to try steroid injections again. I haven’t had any success with these in the past but it’s worth a shot. I’m also scheduled to have some additional images taken of my lower back next week and will receive the results next Friday.

I’m hoping they finally reveal something; as I told my doctor last week, I can feel and hear a clicking, popping sensation when I get up. It is definitely not a gas release like when you crack your knuckles or get an adjustment at the chiropractor.

The last couple of weeks my pain has become almost overwhelming. I used to get some relief from lying down but now even lying down is painful which is really affecting my sleep. This kind of pain affects everything from your mood to being able to do even simple tasks around the house. My doctors prescribed some stronger pain medication today so hopefully that will provide some relief.

Posted in back surgery, Broken back, Coping with spinal injury, Spinal Injury, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

For some reason this time of year is especially hard

Dealing with the physical effects of spinal injury are difficult to say the least but I think the psychological effects are even worse.

For some reason this time of year has been especially hard for me mentally. I think it’s because the fall and winter are my favorite times of year to ride. The weather on the Texas Gulf Coast is nothing short of spectacular right now with lows in the 40’s and 50’s which quickly climb to the high 60’s or low 70’s – in short, it’s the kind of weather you can ride all day in.

I see pictures of my former self and keep asking why this happened to me? I realize I’ll never know the answer to that question at least not in this life.

I keep telling myself that I have accomplished a great deal athletically and now God must want me to begin a new chapter in my life. I’m still not sure what that is but, perhaps, it is to share my thoughts with others so that they know someone else is going through the same trials and tribulations that they are. That someone is having the same doubts about being a husband, father, and provider for his family.

There are so many unknowns and I guess that’s what makes the whole situation so scary… The unknown.

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