Friday, August 10, 2012

De pain! De pain!

Allow me to rant for a moment.  Not because I am incensed about something, but rather because it distracts me from the pain.  And, yes, even talking about my pain distracts me a bit from my pain.

Most of you are aware that I've had a herniated disc since around September of 2008.  Most of you also are aware that I have managed, in most cases, to push through that pain and still do most of the things I had done in the past, with obvious exceptions like playing roller hockey or running -- which was the activity that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, something changed.  Something is suddenly different.  After more than two years of improving or, at the very least, maintaining a steady level of discomfort, I feel like I fell off a cliff about a week ago.

I had been doing yard work last weekend.  I've been doing it all spring and summer, and while I know the evening will be pretty uncomfortable, I've done it well.  I could usually wake the next morning with at least tolerable levels of pain.

It started with a pinched nerve in my neck.  While looking down to see if I had missed any weeds, I felt pain suddenly shoot down my left arm.  So either I pinched a nerve, or this has been the most drawn-out heart attack in the history of mankind.

So, I've dealt with pain and weakness in my arm most of the week.  That's now almost gone.  But that was never really the big problem.

If you were to look at my MRI from March of 2009, and you adjusted the contrast so the nucleus of the disc between the L5 vertebrae and the sacrum was visible, you would see that it had herniated outward into the disc's containing tissue.  It's the literal definition of a herniated disc, and it's the worst place for one, for the simple reason that it is the lowest weight-bearing disc in your spine (the vertebra from there down are all fused in adults into the sacrum, so the discs bear no weight).  To make matters worse, the constant pounding of my feet on pavement, grass -- whatever I ran on in the preceding 28 years before the herniation occurred -- slowly rotated my pelvis so that, rather than forming a nice, steady curve, my spine now is in the shape of a capital "L".  That, in turn, is putting pressure on the nerves of my legs -- primarily my sciatic nerve -- causing constant, radiating pain from my waist on down.

So, that's the injury in a nutshell.  And, for some reason, it is now worse to the point that my subtle limp from years of injuries to my left knee is now a highly pronounced one.  And, thanks to the "mobile" pressure (the location and degree of pressure varies) on both sciatic nerves, the limp can occur on either leg or on both.  Add in the fallen arches and I have a painful, awkward gait.  I'm surprised I do not get followed around by baby ducklings who think I am their father.

I have an MRI scheduled for next Wednesday morning, the day after my birthday.  Hopefully we find something out then and can attack it, because I am struggling to find the joy in my suffering, as the Bible tells us to do.  So, please keep me in your prayers.

Okay, ran't over.  Get back to work.