Did you figure it out? After about 25 years of grinding pain from bulging disks, herniated disks, slipped disks (it’s all the same) I’d have avoided surgery if at all possible. For reasons within my control, which was merely gritting my teeth and doing the opposite of what many doc’s used to recommend that being bed rest, I ignored pain and made it 25 years without recourse to surgery. My back used to heal on it’s own. Just like a common cold. HUGE LESSON #1, IF YOU CAN AVOID INVASIVE OR SURGICAL PROCEDURES, DO SO!!
Think about it, “Well Colin, we can just wait and a day and a little at a time, you’ll heal. In a month, you’ll be back in the rodeo, bull-riding. Right as rain, cowboy.”…or…”Well Colin, first we’ll stab you multiple times, cut a fillet from your butt, scoop out your disk, if we can get at it, dump-out the bone fragments, borrow some of your hip-bone, graft it all together, wait to see if the bone graft takes, fuse you so tight you may never twist again…oh, almost forgot, if the scars in your spine are too severe, you’ll live a lifetime of pain because those nerves will clump together. Can’t separate them after that; too dangerous. Law makes me say that stuff; most of the time things work fine, almost as well as leaving it alone.”
Of course, I exaggerate. I didn’t have a choice. Calcified disk matter was sticking into my spine like a plastic cocktail sword through an olive. I was falling on my head with increasing frequency, wetting my pants, and wondering just how fast those other cars speeding by me were going until I saw that I had slowed to 20 mph. Couldn’t feel a thing in my legs and feet, which is scary on I-95. I had to go under the knife. I still am mystified that after hours of cutting, cracking bones around and stapling me shut, they tossed me ON MY BACK on a hospital mattress. The surgeon came to visit and asked, “How do you feel?”, when I was still high as a monkey from anesthesia and industrial strength pain killers. C’mon, what patient, in that condition, ever said anything but, “Great!!! I feel like a schoolboy with a piece of pie!” This changes radically in the next few hours.
Well, lesson #2 is even simpler. I’ll take any course of action, even if it hurts, to just feel a bit better than I feel now (and will for the rest of my life). Shoot, that’s about another Billion and a half seconds. When you have chronic pain, often the most useful unit of measuring time is a second. What’s going to happen, anyway. I’ll hurt myself? I hurt, severely, all the time.
Anyone who experiences, or has experienced severe pain will tell you that pain, like chewing gum, comes in a variety of flavors. Intense or subtle strong and weak and all possible combinations. Unlike the taste of gum, pain can change from numb and throbbing to the electric hot-foot in, you guessed it, a second. Thank of the onset of a muscle cramp.
Judging by the comments and my emails, I wasn’t clear. I’m not a rash, pain for it’s own sake maniac, but I will pay any price for the ordinary pleasure of running again, or breaking-off curve balls to see if I can strike my kid out.
Wouldn’t you? God bless, Colin