Not feeling great heading over to the physio, been a bad week with the pain gradually getting worse and worse. I’m explaining how this week has gone in terms of my rehab and I feel like it’s not working. I haven’t had the kinesiology tape on for the last week. It’s interesting; I never thought that might have been the reason behind it. Get the quads and hamstrings rubbed out and some stretching. Small amount of tape applied to the bottom of my back to support the disc. None on my legs or upper back this time. I’ve had Lyrica at home the last few weeks but have refused to take it. Lyrica is a nerve tablet but I’ve heard some bad things about the side effects so I’ve stayed away from it. Home now and still in bad form. Watch a film and call it a night.
Going to change it up a bit today and go for a swim. Looking forward to it, a few lengths, bit of cardio, hopefully this will help. Positive. Unable to dive in so I take the ladder and immediately kick my legs to take off with the breaststroke. Not good. Dart of pain sent down my leg. Fuck sake! I try freestyle, same again, I can’t extend my leg without getting darts of pain and therefore I can’t swim. Sickened. I end up walking up and down in the pool and doing a few stretches while in the water and repeat this a few times. Conscious I look like a twat but fuck it I don’t actually care at this stage. Pop into the sauna and steam room then and back in the pool after for another walk and stretch. I’m walking home now and the pain is really bad, I’m raging. I think it’s made it worse. I get about half way and have to get a lift the rest of the way. Pissed off sitting at home in pain, it’s Saturday evening so head down for a few pints with the Father and head home early too. I enjoy that, helps you forget about it for a while.
Stay in bed until 11 Sunday morning, I can’t remember the last time I stayed in bed that long. Could do with the rest to be honest. Getting up now and the leg doesn’t feel too bad. Not getting ahead of myself though. I get dressed much easier than I have done in the last 3 weeks and I’m immediately feeling a bit positive. Is it the tape? Was it the pool after all? I don’t really know to be honest but this is the first time I’ve had a positive reaction to my rehab. I’m still getting pains in my leg and a few darts depending on what movements I’m doing but it’s not as severe as it was. Please God this is the start of something good. Need something positive to grasp. The last few weeks have been shit. I’m going to go to the pool again during the week and just do some walking and stretching in the pool and see if it continues to help. I’m also going back to the physio during the week and I’ll have a new roll of tape put on. I’m not limping as much today either. I’m not going to aggregate it so no stretching today, I’m actually half afraid to if I’m honest in case we go backwards. Chill out for the day and feeling ok. Thinking about work tomorrow though, shit I hope the Luas and train don’t set it off again. I mentioned earlier in this that once I step off the Luas the pain in my leg does be throbbing and I end up limping heavily and struggling to make the train. The train journey is so uncomfortable then. Anyway that’s tomorrow, we’ll take one day at a time.
One week away from the Epidural, I hope to God it keeps improving. If it does and the Epidural helps too then maybe we could be looking at a successful recovery. I know that’s a long way away but it’s good to have a positive thought to stay focused on. It’s sore getting dressed but not as bad as it has been, similar enough to yesterday so I’m in a positive state of mind. Hitting the gym on my lunch break and back to the same routine which is boring but if it help’s I’ll do it.
Cycle 2 ½ Km followed by stretching (Calves, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Back) Few push-ups and some core. No sit-ups (On my back and extending legs so no pressure on lower back or movement)
You don’t need access to a gym to do these stretches; they can be done at home in the sitting room watching tele, or in your room before going to bed. If the floor is hard just get a yoga mat or throw down a few blankets. I take a cod liver oil tablet every day after the gym, good for the joints. I drink 2-3 litres of water a day and eat healthy most of the time. Doesn’t help with disc pain but I feel it’s still important to keep hydrated and get the proper food on board. I’ve also adjusted the height of my monitors in work by putting two packs of A4 paper under each monitor so I’m not slouching, it reminds me to sit up straight if nothing else. I had a workstation assessment done recently too and have ordered a back support and foot stool. This will help with my posture and keep my back straight while I’m sitting.
Unfortunately the journey home sets the throbbing pain off again, on the Luas I’m struggling and once I step off it the sharp severe pains are back again and the struggle is on to limp to the train and hopefully get a seat. The last day and a half I’ve still had the pain just not as bad as last week but now it’s right back to the height of my pain threshold again. Disheartening to say the least.
I’m just about to post this blog online and I’m pretty nervous, I’m not really sure how it’s going to be received by friends, family and the wider public. It’s not your usual blog I know that anyway. It’s my day to day life managing the pain and trying to deal with it as best I can. I know there are thousands of people out there in the same situation as me that can relate to this so hopefully they can take something from it. I’ve posted it now and plan to post updates over the course of the next few weeks or months depending how the recovery goes.
Wow! The support and feedback I’ve got from the first part of my blog has really taken me by surprise. I’m very grateful for all the support and words of encouragement. Gives me more determination to recover fully and help as many other people as possible along the way. I’ve gotten lots of feedback and advice from people in similar situations as to how they have tackled the pain and I’ll share these along the way as I try them myself.
Today’s not been great though, struggling with the usual process of getting ready and going to work. Still though I’m in good spirits, in thanks, mainly, to all of you for reading this and getting in touch. I’ve an assessment in the gym today, basically the physio has gone through all the most basic exercises and stretches with me, I haven’t been able to do any of them without the pain so I’m advised to rest. Completely! Until after the Epidural anyway. Kills me hearing that! Right now it’s sore about 95% of the time, there’s literally no exercise I can do and all I can do is rest. It’s depressing but you have to turn it into a positive. I’m starting from scratch basically and in my head it can only get better.
Requested the written results of my MRI the other day. Here’s a small piece from the results:
At the L5-S1 level there is marked intervertebral disk space narrowing. There is a moderately large central and left paracentral disk bulge. This is impinging the traversing left S1 nerve root. There is enhancing granulation tissue within the left sided laminectomy defect at this level and granulation tissue surrounding the left S1 nerve root also.
At the L4-L5 level there is mild to moderate intervertebral disk space narrowing disk desiccation. There is a small broad-based disk bulge with a central disk annular tear. There is moderate bilateral facet joint degenerative change.
What it doesn’t say is how fucking painful it is and how it literally effects every single thing you do. I can’t sneeze or cough without getting a dart of pain. The journey home is as uncomfortable as ever.
Not going to the gym today to stretch, going to completely rest. I will go for a short walk at lunch time though to get away from the desk and get some fresh air. It’s good not too sit still for too long. During work I’ll often get up and walk to the printer or go get water so I’m not sitting for hours at a time. Struggle again with the usual luas and train journey home.
Physio tonight and I’ve had some ultrasound work done followed by cupping. You’ve probably seen the marks on the Olympic athletes from this form of treatment. A rubber pump is used as a vacuum inside the cup. Used for deep tissue massage. I’ve also had some general massage done and then one single line of tape down the left leg to try and take the pressure off the nerve.
Again today there has been no gym and just rest. Short walk at lunch time and that’s about it. I’ve bought some natural organic turmeric to mix with a tiny bit of black pepper. Works as a natural anti-inflammatory and once mixed with the pepper the body absorbs it up to 110% better. I don’t want to use any painkillers or anti-inflammatory tablets but I will try this, it’s natural. Only a tiny grind of good quality black pepper though. Chill out tonight and go for dinner and cinema. Nice night. Today actually hasn’t been too bad if I’m honest.
I mentioned before you have good days and bad days and there’s no way of knowing when they are coming. Today has started bad. I’m getting ready for work, its 06:15 and I actually can’t put on my shoes with the pain. Not good. Sharon helps me and even has to tie my laces. I’ve been here before and it’s a horrible feeling. You feel like a waster sometimes. Like you have to rely on other people for the simplest of things. I can be stubborn and find it hard to accept that I can’t do this or that anymore. I don’t want to have to be asking for help to tie my fucking laces! It pisses me off. It’s sore in work so trying to get up as much as possible but it’s not easy when we’re busy. Anyway get through today and see what tomorrow brings.
Getting insoles this morning, €260 for them but they last years. Badly needed. My feet are completely flat, fallen arches to the extreme. This will be my second pair to get, the first pair has ran its course, had them about 7 years. The flat feet certainly don’t help with my posture. The pain is pretty bad driving over to get them. Once they’re fitted it’s uncomfortable and sore to walk in but just need to get used to them. The arch I’ve gotten is elevated about 6 times the normal arch. Do the grocery shopping while I’m over there and actually need to lean on the trolley as much as possible. The fucking pain in my leg is killing me. Really struggling. Get home and have a really nice lunch with Sharon, Joanna my sister and her husband Rua and Jordi, my godson. He’s nearly 10 months but I actually can’t pick him up much with the pain and I hate that. I can’t get down on the floor and play with his toys. When I am holding him I have to put him down after a few minutes. That’s hard. I want to be fun and run around and kick ball with him. He’ brilliant, I love him, so cute!! I will though, just have to be patient, this is going to take time to get right.
I’m sitting at home all day today resting. I have the Cordial Epidural tomorrow and I want to give it every chance of working. The lads are going for pints but I don’t want any alcohol in my system tomorrow so I stay at home. I’m worried about if I’m been honest. I’ve been told by the specialist that if it doesn’t work, if I have no pain relief that I’ll have to go see the surgeon after the 6/8 week mark. Fuck that. Not in my plans. Not this time! After been eating really unhealthy over the last few days. After this procedure tomorrow back to eating healthy.
I’ve taken a few days off work. The Epidural is today and I’ll need a few days to rest after it. Leave the house at 08:15, appointment is at 10:00. Nervous driving up. I won’t be able to drive home so Sharon is with me. We get as far as Newbridge and traffic is mental. Shit! I ring ahead and let them know I’m going to be late. The traffic takes my mind off it though. The minute I get there and sign it at reception my name is called, happy days, no waiting around to think about it. Into the gown, here we go again, on my stomach. I didn’t look around, didn’t want to see the needle they’d be using. Doctor is good, puts your mind at ease, tells me I’m in control and can stop it at any time. The first pinch is the needle going in to numb the area, working on the tailbone here. The second pinch is the larger needle going in for the medicine. “You’ll feel a bit of pressure here, ok? Yeah grand,” just get it over with. The same question is repeated about 6 times as the needle goes deeper. Same answer too. Feels kind of like someone using there knuckle and is continuously pressing it into your lower back. It’s not pleasant. Can actually feel the coolness of the medicine going in. Nearly there. Lying face down in the cold sweats for about 20/25 minutes at this stage. I feel one last pinch. Done. The needle is out. Thank fuck. They put a bit of dressing over the area. Need a hand stool to get down off the bed and start asking a few questions. The next 3 or 4 days the pain is going to get worse, after that it should begin to work. It will take about a month for me to feel the full benefits. I don’t mind one bit if the pain gets worse short term as long as it gets better thereafter. Told to get some painkillers for the next few days if I need them and do nothing but rest at home. I don’t bother with the pain killers though. I want to be able to track my progress without them. I had taken up to and including Wednesday off but after his advice I decide I’ll ring my manager and take the week. He’s alright about it in fairness. I know this is only a temporary fix but if I can get some sort of relief over the next few weeks and months then I can do some proper rehab. I’m told to wait about 20 minutes outside before leaving in case of a reaction or if I don’t feel well. I’m grand though, just want to get home. I do get a headache on the way home though, I’d say more down to the stress of it than anything else. My back is sore too and the pain in my leg an ever-present! Home now and feet up on the couch for the day. I can’t even bring in turf for the fire so the father calls up and brings some in for me. Feel useless but appreciate it all the same.
The pain in my back from the procedure is pretty much gone now. There’s no difference in my leg though but it hasn’t got worse either. I wonder if they hit the right spot with the Epidural now? I had myself prepared for increased pain. Maybe it’s the resting that’s helped though. I’m bored at home, I’ve literally done nothing all day but watch some tv. I guess this is what resting is all about though. Still getting darts throughout the day, they are pretty much unavoidable but the overall pain is certainly more tolerable. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
Maybe I spoke too soon. The pain in my leg more severe today. It’s pretty much hurting me even when I’m resting on the couch doing nothing. Not that worried to be honest. Was told this could happen. I can put up with this for a few days.
Today it’s worse again. Struggle a bit getting dressed. It’s a constant now. Leg is throbbing as I’m writing this at the table. Thank fuck I’m not commuting to work today! Glad I took the week off to rest. Had to get out of the house though so I went for a walk today. Like an old man, small steps. Not great. Pissed off. I’d love to be going for a run, yet here I am unable to walk properly. Kind of hits home then, still a long way to go.
I’m not going for a walk today! I’m just resting. Feet up and watching some crap. The pain not as bad today though in fairness. Yesterday was the worst day.
Going to a party tonight, looking forward to it. Cooped up in the house all week and bored out of my head. Felt like a longer week than if I’d been working. When you’re out having a bit of crack you do tend to forget about it or not think about it as much. The pain is still there but you’re laughing and talking away so it’s more tolerable. Meet the lads for lunch too earlier in the day. Good day. Great night.
Bit shook today. More tiredness than anything though. Not really in the mood to do anything which is fine because I’m back to work tomorrow so I’ll just chill out and rest.
Up early and leave that few minutes earlier than I normally would. Can’t be running after a train on the platform anymore, I’m not able. I need to be there waiting on it! Just missed the bus from Heuston so need to take the fucking Luas, I hate the Luas, drives my leg mad. I do be grand on the bus. Hobble into work after the journey. Everyone asking how it is and all I can say is no better, the same. Journey home is worse, I barely make the train and can’t find a seat so end up standing to Newbridge. Finally get a seat then. Not the best for the pain but nothing I can do about it. It’s a week now since the Epidural so probably still early days. It’s 2 weeks though since I’ve done any sort of stretching or exercises. Basically 2 weeks doing nothing and I don’t like that. I want to do something but I feel lost. Everyone is doing their best to help me though, I’ve had calls and texts and just talking to people who are recommending this person and that person. It’s hard though because I don’t know who I should go with. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t my decision, it would be easier then but that’s not how it works. Need to make a decision soon though. Rest?? Physio?? Exercise??…