Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back Update #10 - One Year!

(This was taken a couple days ago of me getting my groove on... sweet to be dancing again!)

It is the one year anniversary of my spinal fusion surgery!  I can't believe it's been a year.  What a long and interesting time it has been.  I haven't posted in a long time and that's because life has been pretty much normal.  At around the February/March timeframe I finally started to feel "normal".  It was exciting.  I took a quick easy jazz gig around that time and tested out the waters with my back.  I purchased a special back rest for my drum seat which supports my lower back.  The guys were great and made sure that I had breaks so I could stretch.  It went well.  Since then I fell I'm getting close to having my chops back.  This past weekend, I played a 2 1/2 hour gig with no stops and made it through.  Not drumming for almost 8 months really took it out of me.  Not to mention the muscle building I had to do in my legs and back after laying on a floor for almost 3 months and surgery recovery.  It feels good to play, that is for sure.

In April we had this beautiful stretch of warm weather.  On one of those days M, the littles, and I decided to take a walk.  About 1/2 way through our walk Lil decided it was time to stop.  Not thinking I just grabbed her and put her on my shoulders.  We walked for a few minutes and M was staring and smiling.  She said, "you have her on your shoulders, you are back!"  It was like before I was hurt.  It was one of my first moments where I wasn't thinking I'm going to hurt myself and just was living life!

School came and went and summer break is here now and yesterday I went to Michigan Adventure and rode some rides and did some water slides.  I felt this was another test of my back and passed with flying colors.  I have heard that it takes about a year until the "healing/bone grafts" stops and we are there.  I have not had any major incidences since the surgery and I am thankful.  There have been a few moments where I felt a twinge and just made sure I was careful but all in all, I'm back.  I don't feel the surgery area any more and would say I'm about as close to 100% as I will ever be.  I do have some nerve damage that hasn't healed.  My right foot between my middle toe and the 2nd to smallest and down that line on the top of my foot are quite frequently numb especially when I'm tired or on my feet for long periods of time.  Not sure if it will ever go away but I will take it compared to where I was one year ago.  I'm hoping that I can lose some weight and maybe this will help with this.  We will see.

I want to send out a huge thank you to all of you who supported me throughout this journey.  I hope I never have to live through something like this again but I am thankful I could recover from something like this.  My surgeon was amazing, my physical trainers kicked my butt in a good way, Ave and Lil gave me love and hope, my friends and family gave me so much help and support, and most importantly, my amazing wife gave me patience, care, and love that lifted me to fight and beat this bump in the road.  M, I know that this past year was more of the "for worse" side of marriage but you are amazing and my love for you has grown so much.  I will never be able to put into words what you did for me this past year.  Thank you to all!  I am humbled and thankful for every well wish, prayer, and thought you passed my way.

I think I am done with the back updates now.  Thank you to all of you who read and followed my journey.  Time to start writing about other random things!  Maybe I'll get back to that to-do list I created a couple years ago "Bookies Manly Tasks to do".

Much love to you all!  I will certainly see you on the flip side!

Back Update #9 - 6 Month Checkup/More Surgery?!?

(I just realized that I typed up this post way back and it's been sitting in my cue as a draft... oops.  Anyways, here it is!)

It has been a while since my last back post and I felt that enough stuff has happened that I could put together a substantial post.  Here are some milestones that have happened since last I wrote.

Hernia surgery!
I also went under the knife in January.  Turns out my umbilical hernia came back (had it done 5 years ago).  The hernia had worked around the mesh and needed to be redone so I went back in.  I know, I know, talk about being kicked while you are down but I had to get this taken care of.  So I once again went under the knife and had them pop in another layer of mesh to lock it in.  The surgery was a success but somehow about a week after the surgery, the skin separated from the muscle and caused some severe discomfort.  I thought I had wrecked the surgery.  Fortunately at the follow up the doc told me what was up and that eventually it would heal and to wear my belly band to keep it from moving around.  Yuck, but at least I was on the mend.  It took about a month and a half to get that out of the way and I could get back to physical therapy and work on my core.

6 Month Checkup
I had my 6 month checkup for the spinal fusion surgery with Dr. Brown in late January.   As I walked in and they did x-rays they had me do some forward bends and backwards bends while taking shots.  This struck me as odd but I just did them and went in to meet with the Doc.  He came in and said my back looks solid and nothing in the fused area is moving.  He was very pleased.  As we talked about everything I told him that I have no pain anymore and just some tingling in my right foot that comes and goes.  As we wrapped up our conversation he shook my hand and said that we are done meeting.  I was shocked.  He said that everything is great and that I only need to contact him if I have any issues.  This means I'm done!  I just need to take it easy and continue to heal.

First Gig!
In a few weeks I will have my first gig since before the surgery.  I'm playing with Pat and Kayle for a little piano jazz trio thing.  The nice thing is that I will be able to take a break whenever I need to so all should be well.  I'm looking forward to playing again.  I know I'm pretty weak compared to last time I played and my chops are rough but this is a great way to transition back into it.  I'm very excited!

Well, until next time friends!