Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Flat on My Back

Before you go thinking this is some sort of sexual reference, forget it. Not that kind of blog, and trust me when I tell you that ain't happening right now anyway. I am flat on my back, and will be for at least another week, because I've had back surgery. On Valentine's Day, 2007, I had a microdiscectomy. Now, those of you who've had back surgeries before are going 'lightweight' and those who haven't are all like 'ewwww, sounds bad.' Truth is, this was the best of the back surgeries to get, from what I understand.

Anyway. How did I get here, with my sweeping views of a (kinda tacky looking) ceiling fan, you ask? Short version: began having pain at 19, while teaching dance classes five days a week, dancing with a local company AND attending college full time. Told me it was a dance-related injury, shot me up with steroids and off I went. Pains off and on for almost 10 years - then one day, at 29, while painting a bathroom (that was in NEED I tell you), I bent down and BOOM. That was the first hint of a serious problem. Off to the doc I went, X-rays even showed the disc degeneration (not normal, usually this stuff won't show on a simple x-ray). I pushed for an MRI, and I knew it was bad when the doc called at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Said it was rough...all of the discs, cervical to lumbar, were showing signs of breaking down. Three were bulging, soon to herniate.

So, I "hired" my neurosurgeon. His assessment wasn't much the time I went to him I'd herniated L-3/L-4 (right before the curve at the small of your back) and he set up the epidural injections. Three weeks, each Friday, twilight anasthesia. Weekend to lay flat and recover. Then physical therapy, which I did for four years. FOUR YEARS, people. Three days a week I screamed, pushed and screamed some more. Worked out 3 other days, yoga, pilates, light (very light) weights. Walked two miles a day. Pain, yes. Ultram was the drug that helped - I really almost always refuse narcotics. I don't like being drugged. Ultram was a lifesaver.

2003-2007 - pain off and on, kept working out, but slacked off in 2007 after securing not one, but TWO part time jobs (I don't know what I was thinking, but BOTH were SO exciting and new and I knew then I wanted out of radio news for a while)...I should have made time.

January 2007 - the hammer fell in New Orleans. Saints game. Walking back to the house. I barely made it into neuro's office that Monday. Surgery the next week. L4-L5 had herniated badly and fragmented. A piece roughly the size of the first two joints in a pinky finger had broken off and wedged under a nerve, causing severe weakness and lots of numbness in my right leg. Scary. And painful.

So that's where we are now. Neuro said no fusion - he says for now my back is like a burning building...he goes in, rescues and gets the heck out before it falls down. Um. Okay. So now I'm dreaming about burning buildings.