Monday, November 15, 2010

PT, and the Future

I started PT, and it seems largely uneventful. I stretch and move in all sorts of ways, and it is painless. I started running again, though slowly. A 10 minute mile should be reachable in the near future. While I did have a fusion I don't have disc disease in the rest of my back, so I should hopefully not have any reasons not to run. According to the docs I can do pretty much anything at this point as long as I have good body mechanics and don't do anything too stupid and traumatic. So no snowboarding or hockey for this season but most anything else is fair game. Everything else after the 1 year point if x-rays continue to be fine. Next one is in march.

My days are now almost completely pain free. I can hardly feel the hardware at all now--once it fuses it stops moving and you stop feeling it. If I lay on a hard floor I can feel it, but even that is dissipating as the swelling disappears. The scars are largely fading. There is some residual (maybe 1 or 2/10) on the worst days--mostly related to muscle fatigue from not being used to being upright. However this likely is not very different then those who never had surgery. Other than that there is no leg pain, no aches or twinges. I really did not expect it to be this good, though I did hope!

I will update this blog if anything changes, and will keep it alive so that others can see a "happy ending" to a back surgery instead of only the horror stories so plentiful online. (Not to say they are not justified).

If you want to know where I ended up going you can contact me through the blog, however the biggest piece of advice I can give is do all of your OWN research, don't listen to what just one doc has to say. Like anything else in life their professional opinion is still just that--an opinion. Also while there are many great community hospitals, a major surgery will usually have a better outcome in a bigger city hospital that does hundreds of these per year versus a small handful. Not always, but I would recommend getting opinions at both if you can afford it. Don't buy into any new wonderful technology if it is unproven. There are just as many snake oil salesmen in healthcare as there are everywhere else.

So for those who have yet to travel this road--I wish you luck. With each passing year the technology and outcomes on these procedures are only getting better, and I hope that soon it will be as routine as some others. For me, while I won't go so far as to say this journey was a "lost" 18 months, because I did so much despite the pain, I will admit I am quite glad and incredibly grateful that this painful chapter is over.