Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back Update #8 - Marching Season/Pool Therapy

10/16/12 Today was my final pool physical therapy session. Physically I have been making great improvement each day. The PT instructor has been really great and really knows how much to push and had a good handle on where I was physically through the 6 weeks we worked together. I could really see the improvement each week as we progressed through exercises. Water therapy is great. Next week I start working with Joline and she is pretty tough. I did a land session with her last week. It hurt. I think this is going to be a lot harder than pool PT.

Teaching the first weeks was pretty rough for me and I have taken some days off just because I don't always feel right. One of those days was the beginning of last week. We had just done our first double competition the past weekend and to put icing on the cake we found lice on Lillian so we spent all weekend dealing with that. I felt strange kinda like in the first few weeks after surgery. I took it as my body telling me it was time to chill so I did. The rest of that week was nuts with rehearsals, MSBOA, our last football game and another double competition weekend so I think it was smart to take Monday for myself. This week hasn't been much better for stuff going on but I'm trying to push through. I have been going to bed pretty early and sleep really hard. I'm tired but its the end of marching season, you are supposed to be tired. I just have to watch myself and make sure I put me first if I need it physically. My colleagues have been incredibly understanding and I am so grateful for all their help.

Three weeks ago I had a follow up with Dr. Brown and everything looked great. The bone graft is growing nicely and the fusion is set. I am still fully on my restrictions, no bending, twisting, lifting over 10pds but he told me I could start weening off my back brace so I started immediately. I have a love hate relationship with that thing. It feels good because of the support it gives but also just feels tight and constrictive. Currently I rarely wear it and only on those days when I am non-stop into the evening. I have had two or three days of not wearing it the whole day over the past week. It will be gone soon. My bed in the living room was also moved back downstairs last week also. I still am not 100% comfortable sitting on a couch but I don't have a choice now. The bed is gone much to M's happiness. I think personally, I could have made that bed permanent living room furniture but there is no way that will ever happen. I really need a good chair to put in there that will be good for sitting or reclining. Something needs to happen, I'm nervous I will never sit comfortably on a couch again and right now it's the couch or the floor. As for my right foot, there is still numbness/tingling in my toes and when I'm really physically drained, it's really present. I still have hopes this will go away. We will see.

Overall I am good. Life is slowly returning to normal and I am excited to get back to "normal". Whatever that will be. I'll post again in a couple weeks (mid-November) after my next Dr. follow up visit and when I'm four weeks into my land PT.

Talk to you soon!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back Update #7 - Under the Knife

7/23/12 - 7/24/12 The surgery came and went yesterday and it had a couple of interesting twists. We met with Dr. Brown in the morning and after analyzing the first MRI compared to the second MRI, he saw that the ruptured disc size had doubled. This put me in huge risk. I am lucky this didn't effect bowel or bladder stuff. After seeing this he decided the best route of action was a spinal fusion along with the other procedure. I'm not going to lie, I was really scared but Dr. Brown is awesome and I trusted him. This bumped up the surgery time to two hours and recovery would be about 5 days instead of 2 in the hospital. I went into the operation room. The next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room. After surgery when Michele finally saw me I was pretty groggy and I guess the first thing I did was reach up and grab her hand and said to her, "you're the meaning in my life..." I paused for a minute and then said, "you're the inspiration." I'm pretty sure I was joking around but I don't remember a whole lot either.
Post surgery stuff went really well. They had me on a clear liquid diet and I was told that as soon as I passed gas I would be moved up to the next level of food such as mushroom soups or tomato soup. Let's just say it wasn't until the middle of the night that the magic happened and I'm now able to eat better things. As for moving around yesterday, it was actually a really good day ! I stood up and walked to the door two times throughout the evening. I felt really great! My pain level was very low and I really was excited that maybe this was the worst it was going to be.

This morning however the anesthesia has warn off and I am really starting to be aware of the incision on my back. It's been rough today and actually when they came to try and help me to stand up and move, I actually started to feel dizzy so they set me back on the bed and I passed out. Later today we had the second attempt and they were more cautious about what was going on, and took my blood pressure a couple times while we moved from laying to siting and stuff. Everything went pretty well but shortly after standing my ears started to ring so I sat down before anything bad happened. This has so far been the end of my attempts at walking today and hopefully later tonight I can give it another shot. I've been more frustrated today just because of the pain and the standing incident but I also realize that I have a giant incision in my back and muscles an skin have been cut. I'm trying to keep positive attitude but it's hard when you have been through a lot already. I think I thought that last night was going to be where I was physically going in this process and it's not quite working that way today. M said it best. "You are going to have good days and bad days over the next few weeks but it will get better." I know things will be fine' it's just hard.

7/25/12 As the hospital stay went on I continually got better and better. On day three I stood up and completed all my required walks and sits and discovered that for me the food was important to keep my energy up. If I didn't eat enough I would feel dizziness symptoms. I am completing all my physical therapy movement and worked with an occupational therapist today to learn how to put on socks and clothing without bending. I had many visitors throughout the stay and really appreciated my friends and family. working with a walker is an interesting thing. I don't need it to stay standing but it gives me a sense of security for balancing. I'm just not stable on my feel. I can really feel the muscles in my back working. They are really pleased with my healing and feel my drain tube could come out soon which means I could be clear to go home. To be honest, I don't feel ready to leave yet. I'm not secure on my feel and worried I could fall. Today I also had the opportunity to

7/26/12 Each morning I get a visit from my surgeon or his PA and on day four he said my drainage tube/bag could come out anytime and asked where I was at in regards to going home. I was honest and told him I was quite nervous of leaving yet and felt that I would be ready mentally and physically tomorrow. He felt this was a good choice and said he would see me tomorrow. Today I got to clean myself up a bit and had a chance to shave. No full showers until I get home though. It's nice to start to feel normal. As for my pain and such, it's rough standing up, especially from the chair but I'm doing it. I still have some numbness/tingling in my right 2nd to last toe and the Dr. said my nerve is probably a bit damaged but it should come back. I am so glad to not have the pain I was experiencing in my leg though. Today the occupational therapist took me through going up and down stairs, getting in and out of vehicles, and how to deal with taking a shower. Everything makes sense and I am comfortable with the processes. Tonight Michele and I just hung out and watched movies in the room. It was really nice to just be with her. I sense a relief in her for me. I know it was rough for her seeing me suffering and finally we are on the downward slope of healing. She is amazing.

7/27/12 When the surgical PA came in on day 5 we decided that I would go home. I am ready to go. I feel comfortable with how to take care of myself and I feel stable enough to be at home. With that being said, he needed to remove my drainage tube. I rolled onto my side, he removed the bandage and told me to take a deep breath. As I exhaled and he pulled it out... Man that hurt and felt really weird. It was in a separate incision than where the surgery was and the tube was as round as a straw (slushy size) and about 5 inches long. The last thing we needed to happen was a bowel movement before they would let me leave. I probably didn't mention the fact that I hadn't gone the entire time I was in the hospital (I know...really gross and too much info). Now I'm not going to go into details here and I'm sure you appreciate that but I will say this. The plumbing wasn't working so the nurse said we would need to help it along. I took one for the team TWICE because the first one didn't work if you know what I mean. The nurse told me that most patients return to the ER because of serious constipation so they want to make sure all was well. My last few hours sucked... I was clear at 11am to go but I didn't leave until about 3pm due to... processing. To say the least, I am really happy to be home.

The next two or three weeks were quite uneventful (which is good) with just me resting/healing and walks a couple times a day. Most of the time the girls come with me which is really nice. I feel like I'm a dad again and it is great to be outside and moving my legs. We are also having all our meals at the dinner table again and I really missed this. My back seems to be reacting to the bandage on my back and itches around where the tape is. It is annoying but I'm working through it. At the end of week two I decided I was ready to be done with my meds and stopped cold turkey. Not a good idea at all. I got "crack itches", ran a fever, and felt like I had the flu. The nurse told me I had to ween off so with lessons learned the hard way I did over the next week and a half and I'm pretty much off the meds now. I still am taking them here and there at night though. Of everything recovery wise, my pain is quite minimal except sleeping is pretty rough. The muscles are over tired by bedtime and I toss and turn a lot. This is my big complaint but nothing will ever compare to what I felt like before surgery.

At week three I had my follow up to the surgeon PA and everything looks great. They cleaned up the remaining stitches and gave me clearance to not wear a bandage anymore. I also was told I was allowed to drive again which is really exciting for me since it has been a couple of months. I saw the MRI that happened right before the surgery (the rupture was huge) as well as the x-ray showing the four titanium screws in my back and bone grafts. I start pool physical therapy the on September 7th and will do this for 7 weeks. The Dr. says his main concern with me is the fact that I'm healing really well and because I feel so good I have to make sure I don't over exert myself and set myself back. I like this concern and I will be careful. I never want to be where I was pre-surgery ever again.

At week five I have started spending much longer on my feet or sitting. I actually had teacher meetings this week Tuesday (with an evening band rehearsal) and Wednesday for 8 hours each day. It was rough on me and I'm sore but I made it. The pain I'm experiencing is just muscle soreness now. The incision isn't much of an issue, it's just muscle spasms and extreme tightness. I think I will be ok to teach next week. It will be exhausting but it will be doable. Tomorrow we leave for our first summer vacation with family! We are going to Chicago to take Avery and Lil to the American Girl Store. I think it will be fine physically for me. I'm a bit nervous about the long drive but I think it will be ok with stops and reclining here and there in the van. Then we stay in Detroit for Labor day weekend. Currently, life is good and every day I show a little more improvement. The Dr. says that it will be six months to a year before I feel pretty normal but I will take where I'm at over pre-surgery. I can't wait until I can sleep and not think of my back though. Time will work this through.

I will report back in a couple weeks after school starts and I have had some of my pool therapy. Thanks to all of you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. The gifts and well wishes have been wonderful.

Thanks gang. I'll talk to you soon.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back Update #6 - 'Twas the Day Before Surgery

Hello friends! The last week has been really crazy in terms of my back. On Tuesday I had to goto my Dr.'s office to get all my Pre-op stuff done and it was a roller coaster. I actually was doing ok before I went in but to make a long story short, they had me standing or sitting for almost an hour and a half with a small reprieve in the middle when they did my EKG. It was a mix of a physical and then the blood/urine stuff at the end. I stood for way too long and it hit me really hard. By the end I barely crawled in the van I was in really rough shape. I couldn't walk well and every movement hurt. I got home and to my recliner and sat for about an hour. I was very uncomfortable and finally decided I had to get to the floor to lay completely flat. That pain chilled enough that I could get some food down and I layer there for several hours. I realized I wasn't moving very well and got nervous when I felt I had to goto the bathroom. I worked myself to the couch having M muscle me on to it but that was it, the nerve was shot. It hurt more than I had ever hurt throughout the entire process. I was sweating, in unbearable pain, and shaking like crazy. That my friends is the road of being in shock. I laid there and I tried to get it calm and knew I would need to move eventually, this wasn't working. About an hour later I needed to stand up. I knew I needed to at least get back in the recliner so I could easily work to a standing position with little to no help. M helped me stand and it was horrible. I walked a couple steps back to the recliner and that was it. I never left that recliner until 24 hours later when I attempted to stand using crutches. I am just going to say that my wife is a saint and without her there I don't know what I would have done. I could not take care of myself over that 2 days and I have never been that bad off in my entire life. I was scared.
On Thursday I had to get to my MRI or this surgery wasn't going to happen so after some very long talks with my surgeons nurse and a last minute decision, I mustered enough strength and energy to get in the van using crutches. I figured that worse case they could wheelchair me in, I just needed to get to the van and get on the table. The trip to the van: sucked. The trip in the van: not cool. The wheelchair ride to the MRI: excruciating. I stood up and worked myself onto the table. They put a wedge under my legs to bend my knees and it hurt. I thought this would calm it down but it just hurt. I was on that table in that tube for about 35 minutes and it never stopped hurting. I came out and they could tell it still hurt. Here is where it gets crazy. They helped me sit up, I swung my legs over and stood up and the pain pretty much went away. I was still sore but it was like from pain level 10 to 2 just from standing up. I walked to the van with no crutches and no help. Crazy. The junk in my back must have moved just right. I came home and the van ride was fine. I told M I wanted to take a shower because I didn't know if this was going to last and I went upstairs and took the most restful nap I had had since 4 days before. M and I talked and decided that the recliner needed to go immediately. We have a feeling that because I wasn't completely flat is hindered my healing over those two days so she brought up a twin bed to the living room for me to be in. This way I could be off the ground but still lay down and still be with everyone instead of up in a bedroom. I'm still nervous of trying to get off the floor. I did however discover that I can no longer lay on either of my sides or my belly. Back is the only option and if I do lay on my sides, the leg flares up. I didn't realize until I couldn't how much I sleep on my sides. I hate laying on my back currently. I will however take it over being in constant pain.

Yesterday was good, I finally stopped taking the pain pills which I hate. I didn't mention that through the course of this past week, I am also not allowed to take any anti-inflammatory meds because of surgery for a full week before. This definitely made things even worse over the week. Tylenol and pain meds, that's it. I also iced as much as possible. But the inflammation in the nerve area is the source of 90% of my pain so it was rough. Yesterday was emotionally a bit crappy also. Avery and I had worked on her riding her bike with no training wheels (funny enough at the start of my bad back pain) in May and she had wanted to go out and work on it some more. M was kinda holding off over the last month or so wanting me to have this Daddy moment. Well Avery asked me last week if I could help her and it broke my heart. I told M to help her. They went out yesterday and she picked it right up. I was so proud. I wanted to be there and it made me sad but at least I could watch for a couple minutes. That stuff right there is the most frustrating thing about all of this. I know the kids will barely remember and I probably will to afterwords but man it sucks now.

Today is my birthday, tomorrow is the surgery. It's been a very mello day overall. Not a ton of pain, just a bit uncomfortable. I really want to be on my side and can for about 5 minutes but I don't dare for much longer. M is making me a special b-day dinner and Debbie is in town to help over the next couple of days with kids and such. Just chilled with Lil while she napped and look forward to some family time before tomorrow. The surgery is tomorrow at 11am and will take about an hour and a half. I will be at Spectrum/Blodgett campus. It is an overnight stay to monitor infection and any potential complications such as spinal fluid leaks and stuff but that is very rare. I should let you all know that the success rate is 95% and should go fine. I'm nervous, who wouldn't be having someone expose my nerves and playing around in there but my surgeon is amazing and I continue to hear great things about him as days pass from friends in the medical field and people M knows. I know I'm in amazing hands. The surgeon (Dr. Brown) is confident I will be back working at the beginning of the school year. Good news indeed. Unfortunately, no band camp or pre camps for a while. I'm hoping I will recover enough to actually enjoy some of my break before I go back. I really want to get back on the drum set as well. We will see, one day at a time. I'm keeping my hopes up and I'm excited for post surgery healing. Talk to you all soon after the surgery.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back Update #5 - Post injection/Pre-surgery

The last post was two weeks ago the day of my 2nd spinal injection. It was rough but a couple days later I did feel a little bit of improvement. I found that I could be on my feet for 20 to 30 minutes before I would have to lay down to calm things down. An improvement but not quite life altering. Then it wore off about 4 days after. So much for that. During that time my spinal doctor came through and set me up to meet with a surgeon sooner. Instead of Aug 8 it would now happen on July 12! Finally something positive. So my follow up for the injections happened on the 10th and the PA agreed that it was good I had the consult lined up for Thursday. He said that even though the shot did cause some relief it wasn't enough and I'm officially part of the 20% of people that just don't recover with physical therapy and the injections. If I don't do the surgery I have a very long haul of recovery probably not being able to go back to work for quite some time. As we were leaving, my nurse asked if I had anymore questions and I had been wondering how long it would take between the consultation and going under the knife if he decided that was the right way to go. She went and talked to the surgeons schedulers and reported back that it looked like he was booked till early to mid-August. Not at all what I wanted to hear. It didn't sit well with me but what was I going to do. M and I decided we would talk specifically about my timeframe when we met with the surgeon. Maybe he could pull some strings if he knows my job situation.

This brings us to the surgeon consultation. I met with Dr. Brown yesterday and he is really on top of his stuff. As we talked and he had me run through some physical tests and he explained that unfortunately with my previous injury (5yrs ago had the same thing but I recovered with P.T.) there is quite a bit of scarring/calcium deposits from bones rubbing together while it healed the first time between my vertebrae. Due to this he isn't surprised it happened again because that stuff has misshaped the area between the disk and has an easier time pushing the disk into the wrong place. He explained that odds are that eventually (and hopefully) the two vertebrae will fuse together naturally since most of the disk is trashed. He said there was some consideration of fusing them together but felt we should give the area a chance to work it out a bit more naturally. He said that if it really gets bad in the future we will talk spinal fusion. With that in mind he feels a hemi-laminectomy is the way to go. This is surgery to help alleviate the symptoms of an impinged or irritated nerve root in the spine. During this procedure, he will remove part of a vertebra called a lamina (it's like a little wing off the back of the spine that covers and protects the nerves). This removal of bone creates more space and a little window in the spinal canal and is meant to release nerve tissue from pressure. He will also remove the debris from the nerve area that was the various parts of my disk that broke off/leaked out and is now pushing on my nerve root in that part of the spine. After the surgery I should feel relief on my leg immediately since no more stuff will be pushing on the nerve. It will require an overnight stay in the hospital and I will be on some very strict restrictions. Dr. Brown was however concerned that since the current MRI was taken, I had really hurt myself even worse two different times. He really wants to make sure there would be no surprises. With that being said, I have to do another MRI on Thursday this coming week. I am glad he wants to be thorough. As we talked he stressed the fact that we needed to get me back on my feet by the time school starts. Since everything else doctor related had move so slow, it was nice to hear him say that but we still didn't know when the surgery would officially take place. I know recovery for this takes at least 2 or 3 weeks before I could go back to work and it would be 6 to 12 weeks before I felt normal and didn't have any major restrictions. With that being said we went out to schedule the surgery. The assistant said that Dr. Brown spoke with her and they want to do the surgery on July 23rd! My mouth hit the floor. I thought it was going to be mid-August. So yeah, 10 days and I'll hopefully be on the road to recovery. I'm pretty nervous, I mean, it's not terribly evasive and it has a really high success rate (95%) but its still my spine. The doctor also said that because my injury is cross-lateral (when sitting if he raises my left leg, it sets off the nerve causing problems in my right leg) my chances of success are even greater (I don't know why but that is good). I have done the research and this surgeon is top notch as are all the surgeons at OAM so it should be good. I'll keep you all posted.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back Update #4 - Surgery Consult / Spinal Injection

I haven't posted anything in a while because not much had changed over the last week or so.  Physically I lay around and when I stand I have a 3-5 minute window before my sciatic nerve acts up and I need to sit due to discomfort in the leg muscles and my ankle.  It's hit or miss on how extreme it is and at the peak of my anti-inflammatory medicines for a hot second I sometimes remember what it feels like to walk pain free but that lasts only a few minutes.  One big thing that did go down last week was the actual scheduling of my spinal surgeon consultation. The problem is that the soonest this particular surgeon could get me in was August 8th (that was eventually moved to Aug 1... big whoop).  My mouth hit the floor, I had visions of my next month and a half of me laying on the ground going bonkers.  I called the spinal nurses and left a voicemail and basically said this is crazy and never heard another word from anyone.  On Monday I called the surgical scheduler and tried to at least get to the bottom of why it would take so long and it makes sense but it still sucks.  That was last week in a nutshell. This brings us to today.

Today I had my 2nd cortisone spinal injection. It was extremely different than my first one two weeks ago and not in a good way.  My doctor wanted to make sure he was in the correct spot so he somehow set my sciatic nerve off to make sure he was exactly in the right spot.  This experience is something that is almost indescribable.  When he set it off I felt a wash of extreme fiery pain go down my right butt cheek, and into my leg.  I felt every branch of my nervous system in my right leg light up like a christmas tree.  It felt like someone lit a firework in my leg and it exploded on the inside.  I let out the most guttural groan and sucked wind.  It was horrible.  It was numbed very quickly so it was probably a whole 2 seconds that went by but what a horrible 2 seconds.  That was indeed the spot.  After the injection my spinal doctor told me that surgery for me is probably the way I should be going and said he would personally work out getting me a sooner surgical consultation.  His last comment was "a month is way too long."  And that is where we stand (or lay) at is moment.  I want to still hold onto the hope that this 2nd injection will work but it seems realistically that if I want to be up on my feet and moving well before September, surgery is looking more like the right answer.

Let's see what kind of magic the doctor can work for me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back Update #3 - Cabin Fever!

Saturday was a rough day for me.  Physically it was worse than usual and mentally I'm struggling.  Michele started working her full time hours this past week and I am supposed to be taking care of the girls.  My littles are starting to show signs of getting really board with me barely moving around and with the nice weather they want to go out and play.  That's just not an option for me.  Also, M and my Mother-in-law Debbie set up our Intex pool Friday night and so it's now swim ready.  I told Avery she would have to wait until Mom was home.  With all of that happening, I am feeling pretty worthless.  I'm also getting really sick of just sitting around.  I'm trying to keep active working on band stuff and reading but the bottom line is I'm going a little stir crazy.  M took the girls out once she got home and I felt better but was in a funk the rest of the night.

Fathers Day!  I woke up to Avery bringing up some breakfast in bed.  The littles and I ate together on the bed and snuggled.  I needed that.  Debbie is here today so I can relax a bit and know the girls are getting some well deserved attention.  Avery is really trying to take care of me by setting up a comfortable spot on the floor with blankets and stuff.  Incredibly sweet.  I was excited to get out of the house.  We plan on going over to my Dads so the girls can play with their cousins in the pool and hang with family.  I actually got in the pool, I was curious how it would feel.  I found that dangling from noodles wasn't the most comfortable but if I put my feet up on another noodle it worked.  It was the most movement and activity I had had in a while and it was a welcome feeling.  Even better that I could spend it with the ones I love so much.  When we got home I snuggled with Avery on the couch and watched some TV with her.  I was worried about pain so I iced, hooked up the Tens Unit, and hit the bed a little early.  I needed this today.  Mentally and physically.

I want to start this off with talking about someone very special.  My Mother-in-Law Debbie has been here this past weekend.  She is a really great lady but words couldn't say how much I really appreciate all she did these last 3 days.  She came into town because she was working out near Kalamazoo on Friday and Saturday but took Sunday off to help M and I out.  As soon as she got here my littles were cared for, the house was cleaned from top to bottom, our cloths were all washed, folded, and put away and did I mention Avery and Lil had a ton of attention.  This lady is a superwoman.  I know there is a stigma about mother-in-laws being a pain but that is the furthest from the truth in our household.  She is so greatly appreciated and I hope she knows this.  I try to thank her as often as I can but it is never enough in my opinion.  Thank you Debbie for taking care of us.

As for today, I'm excited that it's a weekday again.  I am waiting for that phone call from the surgeon to get in for a consult.  When the Dr. office called last week to let us know we were on the waiting list I was relieved but it ended with a big "?".  They just said, he is extremely booked and we are pushing for you to be bumped into an open slot (which is a good thing) but it could be up to a week before you hear anything from his office.  So I wait.  Wednesday will be a week.  I knew nothing would happen over the weekend but now at least I know there is a chance of a call.  I will keep my phones close!  As for today, Debbie is leaving a little later today, Michele has the day off (we were supposed to be at the Great Wolf Lodge :-(   but oh well), Avery is currently at a dentist appointment, and we are just keeping it real.  No big plans for us.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back Update #2 (Facebook Posts)

Here are the updates I have posted on Facebook so far.

Hi everyone. Some of you know I have been dealing with some lower back issues. As of right now I have had an MRI and I have a disk protruding between my L5 and S1 section pushing on my nerves affecting mainly my right leg/hip. Physically I'm hit or miss depending on that disk. Last week I couldn't sit upright for more than a couple minutes but the disk moved a bit and now sitting is ok to an extent... Laying is still best since it takes most pressure off. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude and I'm trying to still move around as recommended. Yesterday I got out with Michele and we did some flower shopping, well I walked, she shopped. I tried to work a half day on Tuesday and that went ok but I was pretty sore afterwords. So it's day by day. I have my first spinal specialist appointment on Monday. I'm guessing that at that appointment they will decide if we are moving towards direct injections into my spine or surgery. As soon as I know more I will let you know. Just thought I would fill everyone in.

FB #2
Hey Everyone. Had my appointment yesterday with the spinal specialist. Saw the MRI... not pretty. The disk ruptured and the gooey center has moved into the nerve area which is causing me quite a bit of pain. The Dr. said that between the MRI, what he saw of my movement and the physical tests he had me do I am a candidate for surgery. We are going to try injections first though. Today I will go in and they will do a direct injection into my nerve area to try and calm down stuff. I will have 2 injections (one today and one in two weeks) and if that doesn't work we go to surgery. It was a rough morning physically between the doc moving me around to see how severe the pain was and just being on my feet for so long (also had no pain meds so that didn't help). They gave me a tens machine also which basically hooks to my back and sends an electrical pulse that scrambles the nerves and eases the pain down my leg. So today they will have me hooked up to an x-ray and will put a needle right to the spot and inject the stuff. There you go gang, thats the update so far.

FB #3
Yesterday afternoon I went in to have my first injection. They use an X-ray to guide the needle in and inject the cortisone shot directly to the spot. Let's just say it wasn't the most pleasant thing I have ever had done to me and I was pretty drained physically and emotionally after the whole event. I find that being up and moving around for more than an hour is the big breaking point (sweats, major discomfort down the leg, and shaking). So after a comment from my Dr, talking to several close friends who have either been through this or are in the medical field, I decided to schedule a surgery consult. This process will take a bit of time so I wanted to do it while going through the shots instead of waiting till after and having it take even longer if necessary. If I have the procedure done its called a microdiscectimy and the simplest of all options I could have had. So that's where I'm at. Not sure when the next update will be since it may be a week or so before there are any more visits. So that's what's up. In the meantime I'm laying low and trying to move around here and there and trying to not go crazy. That's the scoop. Talk to you all soon.

Back Issues #1

As some of you know, I have been dealing with some issues with my back. Since I am spending a very large part of my day laying on the floor, the couch, or in my chair, I thought that blogging my be a bit therapeutic for me. I'm starting to have some pretty major cabin fever. I thought I could post the updates I did on facebook and then continue updating people via the blog.

Here is a brief history of my back. About 5 years ago I actually went through a very simular situation. It was pretty bad but fortunately the PT helped and within a couple months I was back on my feet and things were fine. Actually the MRI I saw just recently showed the scarring/and calcium build up from that old injury. I didn't know before but it was in the same disk L5/S1.

So with that being said we jump to a couple months ago. Michele and I did a couples yoga workshop February 18th and due to some of the cool acrobatic moves we were doing it caused some pretty strong pressure on that L5/S1 area and I think this may have been the beginning of the end. With that being said, in February/March when I would work out, my tailbone area would be a bit irratated. Nothing major, just a little sore. Through out April it continued to progress and I started to walk a bit funny. May was a rough month. I started having issues sitting and the pressure of sitting would set off my right leg but I continued to work and eventually had to go to the Dr. They recomended physical theripy again so I started going and at first it was working a little and keeping the pain controlled but I couldn't seem to catch a break. Something would set it off and I would be back at square one again. I should have shut down all activities looking back. It would have gotten better but I was caught in the moment and thought I NEEDED to get that lawn mowed, I NEEDED to pick that up so we could get this done. I felt that if I couldn't get things done around the house I wasn't living up to my end of the bargen. Now I regret that because I'm not living up to any of my bargins. I know if I would have layed low for a couple weeks I would be walking around and probably not in the situation I'm in now. I can't change the past but I sure am learning from it. So that is the history. As I move forward I will post more and we will get through this.

That's it for now. Talk to you soon.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sean... my other brother

About 7 years ago I asked my future in-laws if I could have their daughter's hand in marriage. I however never asked her brother. Most people would probably think that I shouldn't have to worry about this and I honestly never really thought about it. He recently found out that I asked his little twin sisters if they were cool with it that same day I asked his parents (they were living with their parents at the time) and I never brought this subject up with him....and he has made sure that I know that he knows. He does it jokingly but I need to be honest and say that I truly regret now that I didn't include him in this important day. I know it would have meant a lot to him and I'm sorry. You see, Sean is someone I look up to and respect and his opinion matters a lot to me. He is a person that is genuine, caring, and is one of the best examples of integrity I could think of. As an official apology I have created a video montage for my brother. I hope that he will find a place in his heart to forgive me for not including him in a very important day;)

Sean... This one's for you.

On another note, recently we found out that Steph and Sean are going to have a little girl in a few months. Being a father of two girls, I feel like I have some things to share.
There are a couple things you should know since you are having a girl. Fatherhood is amazing, it's hard and amazing all in one. Sometimes it's like a really awesome horse kick to the gut but it's great. You will understand this when it's 4am and you are feeding your little girl and it hurts to be awake. I'm sure you have already heard it but cherish it and enjoy it. I would give anything to hold Ave and Lil as tiny little babies one more time. Every dad said it goes too soon and I was like "whatever" but buddy... It goes too soon. Also, some day she is going to tell you that she wants to marry you or some variation of an almost crazy obsessive love and affection towards you (refer to an older post I did called "Avery... My Baby Girl").  Don't be weirded out by this, it's a common phase littles go through and just get all the attention you can from her.  I work with middle school girls every day and most of them act like their dad is the devil (I keep telling myself Avery and Lil won't be like those kids but I'm still a little worried). My friend Dave said something very poignant to me a while back. He said "I'm going to push her (his oldest daughter) on the swing every time she asks because I know someday sooner than I think, she isn't going to ask anymore." Since that day, I try very hard to make sure that when the girls ask me to play (even Barbie, Tea party, or dress up), I play with them even when there is other work to be done... It can wait, the girls won't, they keep growing up. Lastly, recently I taught myself how to braid Avery's hair. Be a man, and learn how to do this, it does something to you when you accomplish this feat... I can't explain it, it just does something. Sean, you are going to be an amazing father, I know it. I'm here if you ever have a question. All the best to you my brother and friend.

P.S.  Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Manly Task #14 (part 2)

We put the finishing touches on the bunk bed and set it up.  Avery (and Lil) were very excited when they came home from a weekend at Grandmas.  It looks great and is very solid.  It took some finagling to get it set up though.  The posts that hold the inner part of the top bunk were about 1/2 and inch too short so I turned them around and re-drilled the holes so the bed would sit level.  It is nice and level and I have no doubt it is safe.  Bunk bed project.... done!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Manly Task #44

About a month ago Lillian was standing on one of the kitchen chairs and leaned back on it and it tipped over.  A scary moment but she was fine, it just frightened her but the chair must have hit just the right way and one of the main arms of the chairback cracked in half.  This wood is hard, heavy, thick wood so I was pretty shocked that it broke.  It actually cracked along a grain line so the crack at least made sense how it broke but it was still surprising.  My mother-in-law brought me over some gorilla glue and I took a shot at glueing it back together.  There was also a little chunk of wood that broke off when it cracked.  I held onto it and hoped I could work that back onto the chair again also.  So I cleaned the area, glued it, and clamped it and let it sit for 2 days.  After that I removed the clamps and lightly sanded any rough areas and touched up the wood with a wood stain marker.  It's not perfect but it is repaired and seems sturdy.

Time:  2 Days of drying, 15 minutes of gluing/clamping/sanding
Difficulty:  Easy/Medium
Cost:  A bottle of Gorilla Glue (thanks Debbie!)

Here is the link to "Bookie's Manly Tasks to do... Eventually - The List" if you are curious about other to-do adventures I have done or have in plan.

Manly Task #43

Today I finished a project that has actually been a long time coming. I will also say that it has actually been four repairs over a span of two and a half years. We purchased this really great looking kids play kitchen for Avery on her 3rd birthday and unfortunately, it didn't stand the kid test. Our little structural engineer (also known as Cal) gave the kitchen a run for it's money when it first was purchased and due to this, it's first three of four breakdowns happened. The corners of the doors just would not hold up. The wood was cheep and just wasn't meant for boisterous playing. So the microwave door broke off as well as the cupboard door under the sink. Same exact type of breaks right at where the hinge attaches to the kitchen. The microwave door was repaired right away and soon after the cupboard broke and was repaired a week later. The microwave ended up breaking again on the opposite end and it was left off the play-set for about a year and a half. The cupboard door held up pretty good. Well, finally over the last two weeks I found the missing part for the microwave door and repaired it. I took the corner and gorilla glued the piece back onto the main board. Clamped it for 24 hours and then re-drilled the hinge mounts and placed a nut and bolt on the hinge instead of screws. I was very excited to have the full kitchen back again and then literally that night the sink cupboard door completely broke off while Lillian was playing with it. I knew there was no repairing it this time. At first I admitted defeat and after some prodding/peptalk from Michele decided that I was going to build a new door for the kitchen. I went to Home Depot and found a nice piece of MDF that would be perfect. I stripped down the broken door and kept all the hardware. I then cut the MDF to size and painted it (3 coats, 1 primer and 2 of some leftover paint we had from Avery and Lil's bedroom). Today after the final coat dried I drilled all the holes and remounted the new door. The color works out great with the kitchen and I think this door will hold up a bit better. Hopefully the kitchen overall will holdup for much longer.

Time: 2 days for the cupboard door, 20 minutes for the microwave door (2 years if you count since when it actually broke)

Difficulty: Medium (Woodworking involved)

Cost: MDF - $6.99, Paint (free - leftovers from other projects)

Here is the link to "Bookie's Manly Tasks to do... Eventually - The List" if you are curious about other to-do adventures I have done or have in plan.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Manly Task #30

My plan down in the basement was to build a really great entertainment area as part of the main wall.  I built a custom cabinet that sits behind the wall. so the A/V unites are actually sitting inside the wall instead of on a shelving unit taking up room on the floor.  Once it's completed it's going to be really great.  The spot where the shelving unit meets the drywall had a pretty large gap which i figured would happen.  I patched the gap and sanded it when the basement was finished but it never painted the area.  The twins moved in downstairs and it sat for 2 1/2 years.  I finally painted it this past week and it looks great.  I had to create a line between the black shelf and the green wall and wanted it to look like the shelving was perfectly in line with the wall.  I used masking tape and tape measure to make sure it was straight.  It turned out really nice.  I can't wait to get some major electronics in this room.

Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: Nothing (touchup paint is extra from big projects)

Here is the link to "Bookie's Manly Tasks to do... Eventually - The List" if you are curious about other to-do adventures I have done or have in plan.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Manly Task #14

Last weekend M and I did a large overhaul of Avery and Lillian's bedroom. We are moving towards a transition of Lillian into her own room but the first phase was getting her out of her crib. We transferred Lillian to her big girl bed (Avery's old bed) and built the bottom part of the bunk for Avery which is a full sized bed.  The bunk bed was purchased several months ago on Craig's list at a really good deal but I knew it was going to need some screw tightening and refinishing to get it up to daddy standards for my little girl. We rearranged the bedroom and did a huge cleanup of toys and stuff. I really like the new room setup and the girls are really excited. Eventually I will build the top bunk and set it up but we are currently waiting on some parts to be mailed from the manufacturer. Maybe in a week or so (pictures to come as soon as it is built).

Difficulty: Easy/Medium (Bed building/repair, wall paint/hole touch up)
Cost: $100 for the bunk bed and $36 in parts.
Time: 6 to 8 hours.

Here is the link to "Bookie's Manly Tasks to do... Eventually - The List" if you are curious about other to-do adventures I have done or have in plan.