The Silver Lining of My L5 S1 Eruption

With the exception of an occasional hockey musing it’s been way to long since I’ve posted on my blog so I want to provide an update and say thank you.

As many people who cross my path know, I’ve been wrestling with a back injury since April of 2010.  Up until that point I wrote off what were occasional aches and pains as the byproduct of leading an active life, commuting to work on my bike, running the 5k route I have mapped through my neighborhood, or waltzing around 18 holes on a golf course were no brainers, they just happened.

That all changed when I found myself in the middle of a round on the Northwest Park golf course experiencing searing pain the length my left leg.  The golfers among you will appreciate this; I was crushing the ball so I finished the round.

I next found myself at the doctor’s office being diagnosed with a bulging disk, L5 S1, that was crowding out my sciatica nerve, which was causing the discomfort.  The conservative treatment approach that I chose included physical therapy, a couple of steroid epidurals, Vipassana meditation and twice-weekly acupuncture.   I discovered that it was important to treat the physical impact of the injury and the emotional impact of such an extreme change in lifestyle.

As the months started adding up 2 things became clear to me, the first being that I really like meditation and the second being that a more aggressive approach was necessary for me to recover from this injury.

Successful micro discectomy surgery was performed on December 9th and I continue to experience the ups and downs of recovery as I write this, but I’m on the road to recovery.  Sitting still has never been a character attribute used to describe me so judging some activities as excessive has been learned the hard way.  With that said, I’m confident in my treatment plan and in the not so distant future I’ll regain many of my preferred activities.  I’ll be taking my first dip in the pool later this weekend.

This leads to the silver lining in all of this for me.  I’ve always valued and loved family and friends, even if I didn’t tell them enough.  Because of the surgery I’ve been leading a dependent life for just over a month.  I couldn’t have survived on my own and the result is my appreciating everyone at a deeper level.  My sister came down from New Hampshire and stayed with me after the surgery, filled my refrigerator, and spruced the place up so I could recover in a comfortable condo.   I was able to travel north for Christmas and the blizzard enabled me to stay at Mom’s house a few extra days and it wasn’t until I got back to DC that I realized how much I needed that time with her.  I also had the chance to connect with my brothers, my other sister, brother in-laws, nephews, and the crew that serves coffee from behind the counter at Breaking New Grounds.

I have the best work colleagues ever, they have offered hope and humor from the start of this ordeal back in April and a couple of them have contributed to fattening me up with food deliveries after surgery.  We even had someone on the inside at the hospital, my boss’s mother is an OR Nurse and she recommended my surgeon.

My friends, yup, you got it, best ever, some have given me rides to just about everywhere, some delivered tasty treats, others have kept in touch over the phone, email, or an occasional text message.  It felt like each time I heard from someone it was when I was supposed too.

I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon after completing my first week back at work and yes I’m a little sore after a full week but I’m full of gratitude for everyone who’s offered their prayers, their hearts and their help, thank you.


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