Almost 8 weeks after surgery

I think this recent conversation pretty much sums up my back:

"How's your back doing?"

"It's SOOO much better, but it's not perfect the way it was before I was pregnant. I still feel some tingling and pain down my legs."

"It may never be perfect."

I'm trying to come to terms with that. I'm still not allowed to work out, really. My doc said I could walk on a treadmill and lift very light hand weights, but not over my head and don't use a lot of back muscles. I've been doing some very minimal ab exercises - the ones that involve laying on my back and not stressing anything other than my abs. I'm too scared to do hand weights even because I don't want to make anything worse. I can wait 4 more weeks until my 12-week check up to see if I can start lifting things more than 10lbs.

Maybe then I can start PT to work up to lifting heavier things - like my son, for example. He's up to 33 lbs now, so he's no small feat for my weakling self.

Speaking of him, I get emails about "my preschooler" now (instead of my "toddler") so I guess that's what he is officially. He's just The. Cutest. Thing. lately. I can't even describe how much I enjoy seeing his little brain work things out, or learn new words, or count to ten. He continually misses 7 for some reason. I'm working on it though.


Thoughts 10 days after surgery

I'm finally able to get up and down with reasonable ease. By up and down, I mean standing/sitting in a chair/the bed/the toilet. I still cannot bend forward hardly at all, so don't ask me to pick up something off the floor. I have to do a deep squat, and unless I have something really sturdy to hold on to, it's pretty painful.

I can also lean back against a pillow and sit in the car for a bit - putting pressure on the incision.

For about 8 weeks pre-surgery, I was taking an antidepressant that had a side effect of helping with nerve pain. For me, it was to reduce the pain with a side effect of mood-boosting. I weaned off those and am now totally drug-free. It's so nice to be able to leave the house without carrying a mini pharmacy in my purse.

I am sort of freaking out the past two days because my right leg has been having these weird sensations. They are not painful, but just sort of tingling/numbing type feelings. The first night this happened, I didn't sleep thinking that my disk has re-bulged already and OMG I cannot go through this again. My family cannot go through this again. I just want to be able to play with my son and be a real parent instead of a half parent who has hardly ever been left alone with her child because she can't pick him up.

I've been reading online that some people have this sort of thing after surgery, or even have phantom pains as the nerves heal. I've also heard that it could just be in my head - the pain doctor told me about a condition where people are in pain for so long that they convince themselves that they are still in pain. I'm really hoping this is just the nerves healing.

As a side note - the bruise on my hand from the IV I had overnight after surgery is still purple and green. Yuck.


What it feels like to need a diskectomy

I want to tell this story in chronological order, but let's back up a bit, shall we? Every time I visit my neurosurgeon's office, they ask me to fill out a "pain scale" document, rating how hard it is to do a list of normal things (like bathing, doing household chores, having a social life, etc) and they always ask if I've had any issues with my bowel or bladder function.

The last post I wrote was Thursday night. I actually worked from home that day after going home from work in so much pain Wednesday that I couldn't even walk across the street to the pharmacy to get more pain meds that my neurosurg called in. The hubs drove to my office Thursday, picked up my laptop so I could work and the pain meds. I probably took 10-12 pills that day. I was averaging about 3-5 for many weeks prior.

Friday morning, I could barely move the pain was so intense. If I tried to stand up, the pain shot down my legs and crumpled me to the ground. Even crawling, my go-to if the pain was bad, was pretty awful. I remember that I did go to the bathroom and made it to the couch somehow. I was attempting to work from my phone, but not doing much. About 10:30, I felt the need to pee, so I crawled to the toilet but could not get anything to come. It was unbelievable pain to sit there, so I thought maybe it was just too painful to pee. I laid down and petted the dog for a bit before trying again. Nothing.

Call the neurosurgeon's office, bawling. Attempt to tell the story.

Not 10 seconds later, the guy calls me back himself. Usually it's his nurse. He says I know this isn't our plan, but I need you to get to the hospital right away. We are going to operate today.

(I found out later that he was actually supposed to leave town, and stayed for me. He even came to see me the next morning to see how I was doing. Talk about patient care. I also found out that if surgery is performed within 24 hours, the bowel/bladder function can usually return to normal.)

The hubs carried me to the car after taking our child to the neighbor. Thank the lord she was home and able to take him! We get there around noon and I have surgery at 2pm. I don't really remember much of that day, but I'm so glad it's over.

The next morning when they took out my catheter, I peed on my own! I was so nervous that I'd have to use a bag, even if temporarily.

I had pain-free legs the night after surgery. The hardest part was learning to stand on them again. It was the strangest sensation to stand up and NOT feel pain. Walking needs improvement too. I'm still leaning a little crooked from doing it for so long. 

I'm happy to say that today (four days later), I only took half of a pain pill, and that was to ride in the car. I will be so glad to never see those things again. 

My scar is a little bigger than it was last time, maybe three inches instead of just one, but I'd do it all again. I'm still really sore back there, and stiff when I first stand up. I can't bend forward or do anything that involves using back muscles. Imagine when you brush your teeth and you lean forward to spit - yeah, I can't do that just yet. I know this will get better as time passes so it doesn't bother me. My biggest issue now is the constipation, but I can save that for a post all it's own. ;)

On the bright side, I'm getting a nice long Christmas break with my boys out of the deal.


Surgery Number Two

In just a few days, I will go under the knife for the second time in my 32 years. I wish I could say I didn't need surgery, but why would someone have surgery if they didn't need it? Oh yeah, they want to look good. At this point in my life, I just want to be normal again and I don't really care if I look good or not.

If you are new here or don't remember the story, read a few of these posts to see why I had surgery the first time and the experience:
9.3.12 The most pain since birth
9.6.12 Surgery set for Monday
9.13.12 Home on drugs
10.22.12 6 weeks post op

The important point is that starting less than six weeks after my first surgery, I was having pain again because the disk that was shaved off had returned to push on my sciatic nerves again. The pain has been on and off for the last year, but in September 2013, I was feeling really good. I hadn't had pain for several weeks and was dedicated to my PT program. I decided to take it to the next level and go for a short run. At that point, I was walking at least 2 miles every night pushing the stroller, so I just jogged for a bit on our walk.

While I was running, I felt my right leg go numb. I know that's bad, so I stopped running immediately but continued our walk. I was slightly stiff, but I didn't have any pain that night. The next morning I woke up with a little pain down my leg. The day after, it hurt a little bit more.

Fast forward three months, and the pain is still increasing daily. I've tried all sorts of things to not have surgery, all the while dealing with this pain. I started seeing a pain management physician, had two steroid injections and have been on all sorts of drugs to try to reduce the pain. One drug did work for about a week, but then my body got used to the drug and the pain came back in full force.

Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday and in my current state, I cannot get out of the bed for more than a few minutes without a ton of pain - and that's WITH the pain medications. Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to Tuesday morning. I've told my husband that I vow to live differently after surgery. For the last two years I have not hardly lifted weights and I think that is a major reason why my back didn't heal correctly the first time. I didn't have the core muscles to support my spine - and I still don't. I'm going to start PT as soon as my physician will allow it and having gone though PT so much this last year, I know a bunch of exercises to do that don't involve a lot of movement.


Big News!

Hi to the two people who still read this! I have an announcement!

This morning I weighed 199.0 lbs!! Hooray! I haven't been under 200 since the weekend we went to Dallas to visit my friend Denise in May 2011. We came home from that trip and found out I was pregnant, and then it was all "uphill" from there.

I'm definitely in terrible shape and have zero muscles, but as soon as my back allows me to stand without pain, I'm on the muscle train.


Pumpkin Muffins

I don't just love pumpkin, I looooove all things pumpkin. I don't like cold or even cool temps outside, but I'll permit cool temperatures if that means I can incorporate pumpkin into my diet as much as possible. I've been trying to do more of our shopping at Aldi's to save dollar bills, and as soon as I saw canned pumpkin, I stocked up. I seriously bought 12 cans. I don't think we have 12 cans of anything else in our tiny pantry. That weekend, I made pumpkin oatmeal and these pumpkin muffins.

I loved them, as did my son. I made 18 muffins - and froze half of them. I tweaked the recipe as follows:


  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used 2.5 cups)
  • 2/3 cup rolled oat
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 4 tsps baking powder
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsps cinnamon
  • 2 tsps ground ginger (omitted)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • mashed bananas (ripe)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 15 ozs canned pumpkin
  • eggs (lightly beaten) (I used 3)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I used .5)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed(I used .5)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (omitted)


Long time, no see

Well that was quite a hiatus. I didn't really plan on taking a huge break from blogging, and to be honest, I will probably continue to be sporadic. I rarely get on a computer at home anymore. I'm on my phone non-stop, but typing blog posts is just not a priority lately.

What's been going on? Well, the boy is 19 months old. He's trying to talk, learning new words every day. Of course, we are the only ones who can semi-interpret what he's saying. He can say momma, dadda, duck, dog, diaper, night night pretty consistently. He will say lots of other words as he's repeating them, but those are the ones he says unprompted.

He is just now starting to watch any amount of television for more than 5 seconds. He likes Mickey Mouse Club and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. My husband is trying to teach him "yo ho ho."

He eats whatever he wants, for the most part. I would tell you what he likes/doesn't like but it changes day to day. He will always eat a graham cracker and yogurt. Most fruits and veggies, but he goes in spurts of loving different ones. Some nights he will eat chicken or fish, others he won't touch it and gives it all to the dog.

How's momma? On the weight front, I'm down about 15lbs since January. Yesterday I weighed 204. I've been using MyFitnessPal app on my phone and logging my calories. I was doing it religiously for a while, but slacked in late July/August. I'm getting back on track now. I was dropping a pound a week until I quit tracking. I haven't gained but I really need to stay on target. I also really need to build some muscle. I'm so weak and my back is continuing to hurt because of it.

So, I've been trying to do some pilates, push-ups, air squats and lots of core work every night while we play on the floor after dinner. I do different things each night to mix it up, but always core as part of my PT for my back.

I'm switching roles at work - a completely lateral move - to do something slightly different. This is exciting and I'm glad for the opportunity to learn, but I'm really hoping to grow my career into the next step of managing people and earning more money. I get paid enough for a double income family, but since we are living off one income, I feel the need to bring home more bacon.

What has been going on with you? I really have not been reading blogs since Google turned off reader. I signed up for feedly but it's not the same, and I just haven't cared that much about my blogs as much as I used to.