About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pain Postpones Plans

Back in February I wrote about spinal stenosis and you can read about it here if you missed it. I've had a bad back for most of my life, partly genetic and partly from being so athletic in my youth. I finally had a CT scan in March and got the results of it several weeks ago from my doctor.

Anyway, the scan indicated that there has been more deterioration of the spine and in the report the word "severe" is mentioned five times. At L3-4 I have a herniated disc which is affecting the nerve root on the right side. No wonder it hurts. At L4-5, there is another herniated disc which is affecting the nerve root on the left side. No wonder it hurts. There is also severe left facet joint arthropathy (which basically means lots of bone spurs) and at L5-S1 there is anterolisthesis (which basically means that the upper vertebra slips forward on the one below.) No wonder it hurts.

I now have an appointment with a surgeon on August 29th. Yes, this year.

It seems odd that suddenly my back has become so much worse. But over the past few months I've noticed that I can't stand in one spot for any length of time or else my left leg goes numb. Then it happened once when I lost the feeling in both legs at the same time. I almost fell.

In the past week, I've been in constant pain and can't even think straight. I've been so exhausted because the pain is so bad I can feel it even in my sleep. When I saw my doctor yesterday, he gave me a prescription for Emtec, a pain reliever, which is sort of like Tylenol 3s, that I can take as needed, but no more than 2 per day. Last night I took 1/2 of one and managed to finally get some sleep. But I am having a lot of pain all the time - sitting, standing, walking, all the time. As I write, I'm hoping the 1/2 pill I took after dinner will hurry up and kick in.

My friend Cathy and I were going to go to the UK for a summer holiday this year, but it appears we shall have to postpone it until next summer. We had to make a decision today and we're both disappointed, but I'm glad Cathy is being so good about it. She said she could tell I was in a lot of pain last Sunday so we feel it's better to wait until this condition is fixed - probably through surgery and spinal fusion.

My massage therapist has helped me a lot. Naturally, she can't cure what is wrong with my back, but she keeps the muscle knots under control. Did you know that when a muscle tightens or knots up that it can feel as hard as bone? Yesterday, I had a session and mentioned that my legs were feeling weak and that my left foot was twisting inwards. So my MT worked on my legs and it was one of the most painful sessions I've ever had. When she got the spasm out of the muscle that controlled my left foot, I actually screamed! And she's told me in the past that I have a high tolerance for pain. I think I lost all my tolerance yesterday.

I remember how awful it was recovering from my previous back surgery, but even knowing all that, I want the surgery! Up to this point in time, I have taken good care of myself and my back in order to avoid further surgery. But now? Fix me, doctor! And quickly!

I think much of my summer is going to be spent watching my daughter weed the garden and catching up on my writing and reading. However, I will try to keep active by taking short strolls around the neighbourhood or going on day trips where I can drive (or maybe I should be the passenger as I'll be so doped up on prescription drugs).

Cathy and I might still do a trip to Calgary and Edmonton to visit friends. For those who don't know, it would be 2 days drive to get to Calgary, a couple of hours from Calgary to Edmonton, and 2 days drive home. So with visiting and sightseeing, etc. we could be gone for 2 weeks. At least we'd still be in Canada and close enough to home that if anything more serious happened to me, I'd get the best care. And geewits is coming to visit josie in June and we're going over to Victoria together. Hopefully, my friend Suzanne from Arizona will still be able to come for a visit, too.

I think I'm going to go and take the other 1/2 of that pill. My left side is still hurting all the way down to my foot. Thank goodness, I have nothing pressing for tomorrow morning as I'll probably end up unconscious until noon.


Ruth W. said...

ouch..August is a long time to wait. Please take care.

nancygrayce said...

Oh, Leslie, I am so sorry! I do know how much a good massage therapist can help though. I have a lot of neck pain and every time I go, she has to work so deep it is very painful! But it helps a little. I'll be praying for you!

Paulie said...

Remember to be good to yourself and take care! The big trip will be something to look forward to in the future.

Leslie: said...

Thx Ruth, Nancy, & Paulie - I tell myself the UK will still be there, along with friends I already have there plus all the new blogger friends I've made and really want to meet. And it'll be much more fun not having to worry about pain and being able to walk walk walk. As I always say, *sigh* "This too shall pass."

jmb said...

You must be really disappointed Leslie. It's such shame about your back, it's horrible to have something chronic like this and constant pain is awful. I hope you get some relief soon.

meggie said...

Oh Leslie, I really feel for you. I have back pain, but nothing as bad as yours. Makes me feel silly for moaning about my aches & problems. I hope those painkillers give you some much needed relief.
Gentle hugsxx

Anonymous said...

How very disappointing for you and us! But your health is of paramount importance. How I pray that tablet did the trick last night and eased the pain enough to induce a good sleep. I am so sorry to read this post. For you to have written about it like this tells all of us how much pain you are in as I suspect you usually battle on regardless.

Please take care, phone your doctor if the pain does not ease and rest when relief comes. Yes, reading and writing are good distractions. So are girly DVD films. And chocolate is part of your treatment, did you know that?

As for the surgery - well, it is always harder to anticipate these things than to go through with them when the time comes. I do know quite a lot about the post-operative recovery you'll experience BUT it will be a positive road to wellness. Please don't think about it any more than which nightwear you'll put in your bag and what colour lippy you'll use to stun the male docs once you feel better.

Just knowing what is wrong is the beginning of good health for you. God bless, Leslie. See you next summer!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

What a shame you have to postpone your trip to visit us. But your health comes first, and pain is not nice to live with.

You and your friend Cathy have made the right decision, it wouldn't be a fun trip for you..having your trip in Canada is a great idea..at least you get away but are closer to home.

Take care of yourself...and don;t over do things!!! xox

RiverPoet said...

Oh, Leslie, I am awfully sorry you're going through this. I have always said that you know the pain is over the top when you actually look forward to surgery. I've had three neck surgeries, so far, and I doubt that I'm done. And my L4/L5 disc is herniated, too. So far that doesn't radiate to my leg - thank God!

I was going to blog yesterday about the things I can't do this year. One of those things is gardening. I think the only thing I'll manage is weeding, and not much of that. Too much hurt, too many things that can get aggravated. My PT said to me, when I mentioned that I needed to get some wallpaper down, "DO YOU WANT TO BE BACK AT SQUARE ONE!??"

So, I know what you are going through, emotionally and mentally. I see a pain specialist monthly to get drugs that keep the worst of the pain at bay while I go through PT. Massage helps tremendously, too, but I haven't been able to get insurance to pay for it yet. I think they should, because it would be for medical reasons, rather than for self-indulgence.

I wish you some peace and a reduction in pain this weekend. Peace - D

Daryl said...

Oh I empathize .. I have a bad back too ..lower back is always achy ... I am sure you do this but when you sit make sure your knees are elevated .. put something under your feet .. and when you lay down or go to sleep put a thick pillow under your knees .. it wont cure the problem but it will hopefully ease the pain.


Michele said...

Sorry about all the pain you are going through, not fun at all. Know that I'm thinking about you, K? Visiting Edmonton and Calgary is cool...it's my neck of the woods! It's a pretty darn good consolation prize if ya ask me until the big prize is ready! =)

Trubes said...

Leslie: I am so sorry to
learn of your back problem and sicerely hope you will get some relief from your medication.
It's a wise decision that you and your friend made to abandon your trip in the summer, you couldn't possibly travel with such a painful condition. Needless to say(selfishly), I am disappointed as I was so looking forward to meeting you.
As you know about my on-going back problem I really can feel your pain. I found the Morphine worked a treat but the withdrawal symptoms are not to be recommended!
I still await a decision about my 'ills', but suffice to say I am more or less fit enough to go on holiday in Antibes, Southern France. Then will see the Consultant and make a decision about the next steps to be taken.
Yikes, we could both be 'under the knife' at the same time.
Take my friend, I am thinking of you.


Trubes said...

P.S. Leslie did you receive my e-mail? I will check again, I would think that ,with all the pain you are in, you probably may not have checked your in-box.



Jo said...

Oh, goodness, Leslie, I hope you get that fixed soon, soon, soon!!! My back is sore this week too, but it's nothing like yours!!!

Let's keep our fingers crossed that we have a good summer here, and you can enjoy it, and won't be too disappointed about your trip overseas.

Cedar said...


Leslie: said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words of comfort and support. I did have a much better sleep last night after taking an entire Emtec. However, I didn't wake up until 11:00 a.m. Got myself up slowly, had lunch instead of breakfast and went for a walk - well more like a stroll. I stopped halfway through my walk and sat down in Starbucks with my first coffee frapuccino of the season. It's really warm today - 22C, about 74F - so needed it. Took some pictures for tomorrow's photo hunt and will do that and then relax with 2 crossword puzzles. So far, so good today - some pain but bearable and now I know the pills will work. Hope I don't get addicted before even seeing the surgeon! lol

sally in norfolk said...

what a shame i will have to wait a bit longer to meet you but iam not going any where so i can wait !!!

your back must come first so do look after yourself x x x

Dina said...

My prayers are with you.
Shalom from Jerusalem.

Dragonstar said...

You poor thing! Good thing you have that appointment for the end of August, but it's a lot of days - and nights! - to cope with the pain. What a disappointment about your holiday.

Country Girl said...

Oh, Leslie. I had no idea. You'd never know you were in pain, for the upbeat way you write. I hope all goes well for you and I'm thinking of you here in Maryland.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sorry you're in so much pain, Leslie and that you've had to cancel your holiday. But it does seem to be the best decision - there's nothing worse than being ill far from home.