6 Years ago I underwent major back surgery, spinal decompression surgery. I had rods and bolts inserted into my L4 L5 Vertabrae fusing them together. The Dr's took bone from my hip and inserted it in-between the vertebrae to fuse the existing vertebrae together.
I had two surgeons, one Orthapedic and one Neurologist. My facet bones were broken pressing onto the nerves of my spinal cord. I had tingling in my right leg and was starting to have permanent nerve damage. The Chronic pain was the worst, nothing would take away the pain, nerve pain is very difficult to treat. I purchased a Ten's machine for $500.
What is TENS?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief.
You do TENS with a small, battery-powered machine about the size of a pocket radio. Usually, you connect two electrodes (wires that conduct electrical current) from the machine to your skin. The electrodes are often placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, creating a circuit of electrical impulses that travels along nerve fibers.
When the current is delivered, some people experience less pain. This may be because the electricity from the electrodes stimulates the nerves in an affected area and sends signals to the brain that block or "scramble" normal pain signals. Another theory is that the electrical stimulation of the nerves may help the body to produce natural painkillers called endorphins, which may block the perception of pain.
Using this machine got me through the days enough I could wear it to work and not miss time from work during this difficult time.
Then finally the Dr's put me on a drug called Lyrica.
Lyrica was fairly new on the market and useful in managing central neuropathic pain (pain from damaged nerves of the brain and spinal cord). It is not known exactly how pregabalin works, but it is thought to work in the brain to decrease the release of chemicals responsible for pain. In other words the drug confused my brain, sending weird signals, I felt weird on that drug, don't even know how to describe it, almost confused like, but then again it was messing with my brain right ? It helped the pain enough for me to get to the point of surgery.
Of course with Cronic pain comes depression, with depression comes weight gain and it all becomes a vicious circle, waiting day after day for three years in pain until the day the phone rang with the opportunity for surgery in two weeks after a cancellation.
Doctor appointment after Doctor appointment and these surgeons were busy, the wait list just to get in to see them was 1 year (only in Canada eh ?) so with two years of appointments I finally left the office with a surgery date. Early April 2009 they scheduled my surgery for that December, yes I had to wait another 8 months. The good news was the Dr. put me on an emergency wait list because the nerve damage that was being done was irreversible. Less than a week later the phone rang and it was the Dr's office. They had a cancellation and I could have my surgery in two weeks.
Gulp, but I wasn't ready, this was a big deal, I needed 6 months off work, I was going to be laid up for a long time and just wasn't ready mentally. Physically I would have gone that same day just to get rid of the pain. I asked my boss for the next 6 months off work and started to prepare mentally and physically for my upcoming surgery.
So I got my custom made back brace and my tens machine in order, I purchased a grabber and some baskets and put my bathroom stuff in baskets on the counter so I could reach my daily necessities because for the next 6 months I would not be able to Bend/Lift/Reach or Twist. YIKES
April 21, 2009, my 5 hour Surgery was successful. I had a 6 day hospital stay and I can tell you the first time I got out of bed I cried the pain was excrutiating. I thought I had experienced pain before but this was horrible. I fought through it, I knew I could not let pain stop me, I had to heal, do what I was supposed to do and get walking so I could go home. I still remember the day I got to go home, I was so happy but worried that my dogs would jump on me, remember, I'm in a back brace, no bending, reaching, twisting or lifting for 6 months. Surprisingly enough, my pups were awesome, they knew Mom was in pain and did not jump on me at all, they sniffed around and slept beside me but never ever jumped, sometimes it's scary the instincts dogs have.
Not to bore you with details but the next six months were life changing. I followed the Dr's orders, I walked daily but that is all I could do. Then in July, 3 short months later we got news we had to sell the house and move. Yikes, I wasn't supposed to be doing any housework, heavy lifting or anything strenuous, so I carefully got the house ready to list, had a garage sale and got rid of lots of junk. Then I had to start travelling 2 hours plus in a car to Oshawa to look for a house, Ken got his life dream job as a firefighter and had to start in August. We sold our house and bought a new one and moved in November of 2009.
Six months were up and the Dr. gave me the go-ahead to remove my back brace and I could return to work. I slowly began rehab and some light yoga. For the next 6 months I did just that, I was pro-active and diligent and wanted to get back to the healthy me I remembered before this set back.
I was going to use this as a gift, to become better than I was yesterday, to become strong, pain free and resilient.
1 Year Dr. checkup, I was a bit nervous, waiting to see if the bone graph took properly and I knew I had over done it a bit so with the Dr's happy approval I was "Good to Go" ! The X-rays looked great, he said everything was fine and he gave me the go-ahead to start going to the gym again. I remember walking out and Ken already devising a plan to get me stronger. I was nervous because I didn't want to hurt myself but the Dr. said all was good and I would not have to see him again unless I had a problem.
To this date I have not seen him again. I started with kettlebells, swinging, and doing some training and within 6 months I was competing in my first kettlebell competition, 18 months after major back surgery.
Not going to bore you with the next few years to present but I will sum it up, I began teaching Kettlebells, Coaching Kettlebells and then got hooked on powerlifting. I wanted to Inspire and help others with rehabilitation, and let people know it's never too late, you are never too old to start getting strong, no excuses. I was an example of that.
The past year has been epic for me, I have competed in 4 Powerlifting meets, The Nationals, The Worlds, The Arnold's, who are you kidding ? I never ever dreamed of this but it happened, I hold 13 National Records, 3 World records. Here are a couple video's of my first meets, I am on a mission to reach that 1,000 lb raw total, I will not stop until I get it.
I don't want the message from this article to be "Look at me" I want the message to go out to all those people who are over coming injury, who are suffering in pain to know you are not alone and there is help out there. Never stop, seek similar people, similar situations, get help and support from people who have "Been there, done that" and be pro-active. Overcoming Adversity is what I did and so can you.
#elitefts #livelearnpasson #strongher #driven
Good for you, for never giving up!