Friday, October 24, 2008

Oh My Aching Back!

I've got a broken back!

As a result of the cancer, my third spinal vertebrae has suffered a compression fracture. This was discovered by last weeks MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging ). The fracture explains the pain I've been experiencing, as well as the steady increase in that pain. A month ago I could work standing up for about 20 minutes before the pain became too much to take. That has been steadily decreasing until it's reached the point where it takes barely five minutes for the pain to rise to the point where I can't stand it and have to sit down. Sitting down causes the pain to stop increasing but the pain is still there and it takes a lot of pain-killers... or a lot of time... before I can move about.

Imagine not being able to take a pee... or to fill a glass of water at the sink... or even to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen.

So they did the MRI and there it was: the third lumbar vertebrae was so badly honey-combed by the tumor that it had been crushed: a compression fracture.

There is a surgical procedure that is supposed to offer some relief. How much depends on who you talk to. So far I've found only one person who has had the procedure done; a woman a little older than me who suffers from osteoporosis. She says the pain is less but has not been totally eliminated. To her the advantage is that the pain does not become steadily worse when she tries to do housework or ride in a car.

If you talk to the people selling it, the surgery is the best thing since beer in cans.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Personally, I don't see how the pain could be much worse. It has gotten to the point where I'm pretty much trapped; unable to move about. If I can't move, I can't get the exercise I need to keep my remaining muscles in shape. If I just sit here like a bump on a log my body will slowly deteriorate to the point where I can't move, not because of the pain but because I simply lack the ability to do so.

The surgery is an out-patient procedure that takes only a few hours. The earliest they can get me in is about two weeks from now; maybe a little less. I'll try to keep you posted.

-24 October 2008