Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back On My Feet

I've had a couple good days of back healing and tonight ventured out for a walk! It was the first time in a week I'd been out other than doctor appointments and it was lovely. Although it could have been snowing and I'd have been as happy after a week of back quarantine. I've talked to the doctors about the MRI, I had a very healing massage last night, and we have a plan of attack.

The MRI showed that the possible spondylolysis fracture is likely an artifact (good) and I have a protruding L4/L5 disc that's on the nerve (not so good). I will continue my current regimen and then meet with the specialist next Thursday to determine if a steroid injection take me to the next level. Until then, I'm going to walk, get in the pool, take care of myself, and try not to rush anything. I also have a couple massages lined up to keep my mind and body aligned.

So after I finished up my work day, which consists of cycles between the standing desk and the floor with the lap laptop desk, I headed out. We are fortunate to have beautiful trails in Park City that border the Swaner Preserve and it's the perfect place for recovery. I had a successful first outing and now I'm back on the floor icing, but excited to be back on my feet and moving forward.

So much better than walking circles in a mall
Sandhill cranes were out to say hi

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Parental Support

Since they are two of my most faithful readers, a blog shout-out to my parents! They've been checking in daily on my back injury and have offered to come help. They came in January to help with Terry's back rehab and although I'm nowhere near surgery, I appreciate their support. 

They would help with anything we needed, but the back injuries hit home. I don't remember my Dad's back not hurting. Not that he couldn't do everything my brother and I wanted to do and often out-lasted us with his energy, but there was always the chance his back pain would surface. Likewise, my Mom could also keep up with all of our adventures and then had to pick up the slack around the house if my Dad had to rest.

I have memories of my Dad on the living room or kitchen floor with his knees on a chair while we would sit around him and play cards or watch TV. I also have memories of him reclined in the passenger seat of the car so he could get some relief after a long trip. Having lived with Terry's back injuries the past few years, I realized all my Mom did and dealt with over the years. At that, I only had Terry, not two children and pets.

Of course, my parents aren't just sitting around waiting for a call for support. My Dad's back has fused, he's had a hip replacement, and is back at the gym and on the trails keeping up with my Mom. They are rocking semi-retirement and my blog shout-out is for their limitless energy and sense of adventure! They have recently discovered Rhodes Scholar and are gung-ho. They just returned from a Mount Rainier hiking trip and are on their way to South Dakota with their bikes. They have several more trips scheduled in addition to grandchildren visits and their annual Sundance Volunteer vacation. They are making the most of every minute and I'm really proud of them.

I spent a lot of hours growing up in a Toyota Tercel.
When this one pulled up next to me tonight, I knew it was a reminder that my parents are always there whether at home or off on an adventure.
Love You Mom & Dad

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back Quarantine

According to google, the term quarantine comes from the Italian quaranta, meaning forty. This was the number of days ships were required to be isolated before passengers could go ashore during the Black Death epidemic.

Today is the four week mark since my back injury on the mountain bike. I haven't been in quarantine the entire 28 days but in the last 5 days, I've only left the house twice for trips to the hospital. I'm starting to improve thanks to the quarantine and prednisone pack, and today I am feeling a little stir-crazy. I take that as a good sign compared to the horrible pain that kicked in strong a week ago.

Injury Timeline:
7/28: I had a major back spasm during an afterwork mountain bike that led to a quick escape.
7/29-30: Ice, rest, and a couple spins on the road bike to try and heal. 
7/31: Massage
8/1-9: Tour of Utah - The massage had done wonders and being involved with the Tour of Utah took priority. I still had pain, but nothing sharp. I iced as much as possible and the many hours on the move were helping. It was also obvious that the excitement of each day at the Tour had a positive impact on my health. By the end of the Tour, I was still tentative to do anything major on the bike but I was considering it.
8/10: I went back to work mode with an all day trip that included airplanes, rental cars, and conference rooms. Within an hour of landing in Seattle, the back pain was back and intense. I chalked it up to the high heels, which are now boxed up for donation.
8/11: Started pain meds
8/12: Dr Appt
8/13: X-Ray shows I might have spondylolysis (or as I explain it "My L5 Scotty Dog has a broken neck") likely from years of basketball which has flared and is aggravating my back muscles.
8/14: Stopped pain meds, feeling a little better but hated mental side-effects
8/15: Bike Ride - not horrible, but not pleasant
8/16: Started prednisone pack, another bike ride (worse) and a swim (so-so)
8/17: Back to work and back to pain. Coincidence or just the pain meds wearing off?
8/18-20: Work trip to Cincinnati. By the time flight lands Tuesday night, I don't think I've been in so much pain. Then it gets worse through the next 2 days and at times I was sure I'd be stuck in the hotel with all the Shriner Convention people for at least a week. I didn't have pain meds with me, so made due with Tylenol and somehow got home Thursday without screaming out-loud in a crowd. Started back on pain meds once home.
8/21: Dr Appt - Now that I have tingling down my left leg, it's time to figure out what else is going on other than (or related to) the possible spondylolysis. MRI appt, pain meds, and more prednisone.
8/22-24: Back Quarantine - Time to heal. No sitting, limited standing, and didn't leave the house. Just a lot of time on my back while waiting for the stronger pain meds and stronger prednisone pack to kick in. Also lots of tv, reading, and internet/blogging thanks to the USA Pro Challenge. The pain finally started to abate Sunday afternoon and I was able to stop taking the pain meds after that evening. Monday, I spent a few hour stints on my feet working from home and clearing my head.
8/25: MRI. More time working, more clarity. Still improving!

Now I wait. The MRI should tell us something. Either the stronger prednisone and quarantine is doing the trick or I may need an injection to relieve the pain and tingling. I'm feeling like I should be able to go for a walk or maybe spend some time in the pool tomorrow, but that means I'll have to drive again, which even with the lumbar brace isn't pleasant. I did take action at work and cancelled my work trips with no plane trips planned for 4 weeks.

I have a new appreciation for people with back injuries or anything that requires quarantine. I get depressed thinking about spending 40 days or more like I have the last 5. I have had back pain in the past, but this round of pain has been debilitating. I've also lived through all of Terry's back issues, including this year's surgery. I sympathized but not as much as I should have, it's a tough place to be physically and mentally. I also know things could be much worse, so I'll take the positives from each day and work toward getting back on my feet and on the bike.

Back Quarantine Setup - my spot for the last 5 days