my path thru spinal stenosis & back surgery

06 May

New blog

Guess I will start a new blog and try out tumblr. They always say to write what you know, so I guess I’ll write about my current struggles with spinal stenosis, and dealing with the day to day of that.

Right now, I’ve been dealing with spinal stenosis that came about from a deteriorating fight with spondylolisthesis.

Before I continue, let me explain what both of those are. Spondylolisthesis is the slippage of one vertebra off another. In my case, its L5 slipping forward. This condition itself doesn’t necessarily cause pain. But it can lead to spinal stenosis, which is when the opening in a vertebra through which a major nerve passes through becomes lessened, causing the bone to rub against or pinch the nerve.

This usually causes pain, ranging anywhere from a slight ping to a debilitating ache that makes it near impossible to function. Can also cause numbness in the extremities, muscle atrophy and drop foot, among other things.

I was unlucky enough to get the bad end of things, as I am currently only able to walk certain distances with the aid of a cane or shopping buggy. My ortho doc, Dr. William Donaldson of Upmc, did am MRI to confirm what was going on, and suggests surgery as a viable option.

The surgery is spinal fusion, and it will put me out of work for a few months. Not to mention the risk of making things worse. But the chance to live without the pain is just as compelling.

I have a lot to think about.

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