My Back Is Back

Honestly, I’m unsure where I left things off regarding writing about my back. To summarize, I’ve been dealing with a bad back for a couple of years, along with my blood cancer. I’ve tried physical therapy, injections, and rest. But over the past several months, it became unbearable. Turns out I had two fractured pedicles in the lower lumbar, a degenerated disk, and vertebrae that were out of alignment. The pain has been really limiting. No walking, no standing for more than a couple of minutes, lots of pain.

Comorbidities - my back and my blood cancer

Two weeks ago, I had surgery to repair the problems. It was a long road to get there, that’s for sure. Several opinions. Different approaches were recommended. A change in surgeons. And finally, it’s done! Two weeks in, and it already feels better than it did before surgery.

Yes, I have to be careful for the next few months. As of now, I can’t drive. I can’t lift anything over five pounds. No bending, lifting, or twisting.

Surgeons went in from the front and back sides. Four pins in front and 4 pins in back. Rods. And synthetic bone material to fuse L/5 and S/1. The surgery lasted 4 hours, followed by 3 days in the hospital. They had me walking the very next day. Scary and painful! Now I’m home. Walking a bit more each day.  Pain is lessening, and I’m cutting back on painkillers.

More isolating than my blood cancer

Note that I’ve been dealing with myeloma for over 12 years. The back surgery has messed with my emotional state in a way that cancer never did. It’s felt so life-changing. I’m super emotional. Questioning my life decisions. Evaluating relationships. Wondering if I’ll ever have a normal life again.

Yes, painkillers and pain have added to my emotional distress. But this downtime has been a huge non-happy reminder of my childhood when I was laid up for months with a foot injury. Feelings of isolation and abandonment were strong then and are strong now.

My wife, my caregiver

Mind you, my wife has been amazing during this whole process. She, like many of our caregivers, has sacrificed her own health to take care of mine. The back surgery was my 4th procedure of 2023. That’s nuts. I carry a lot of guilt for my wife’s sacrifices. Plus, I’m not used to being taken care of, and I feel so useless.

Yes, this is temporary, and the good news is I am on the road to recovery. But, wowie, what a trip this has been.

Delaying myeloma treatment to focus on my back

My myeloma continues to be stable. I delayed my monthly treatment to allow me to focus on my back. Next week, it’s back to the hematologist for my monthly infusion, two weeks late. Life (cancer) doesn’t stop just because I have a bad back.

I don’t write much anymore.  Neither here nor on my blog. I’m so tired of hearing myself think about myeloma and my health, let alone write about it. I made a list of things to accomplish while recuperating from surgery. Included is a personal writing project that I’ve been meaning to get to. I haven’t even been working on this. Yikes. I gotta get my mojo back. Fingers crossed, I’ll get there.

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