May progress report

Hi peeps!  You get the progress report a little early this month; I might start doing twice-monthly.  I know, the excitement never ends.  Never, ever, ends.

What's Going On?

My pain level hasn't changed since the April progress report.  I still have bad muscular pain and occasional nerve sensations.  I'd say that my average daily pain level is about a 3 or 4 out of 10 but it can be very quick to flare up into sciatic pain.

What I Can Do:

Still working full-time.  I think my office chair might be making my muscle pain worse (despite it being an "ergonomic" chair), so I'm stealing various chairs from conference rooms and giving them a go for a day at a time.  I'm also trying to use the sit/stand functionality on my desk more even when my muscles aren't screaming.

No real change on the sitting and standing thresholds from last month — still holding at about an hour for standing (provided I can sit occasionally and fidget) and about 90 minutes for sitting.

Walking is also going well.  My threshold is still about a half mile; I can do that reliably with very little symptoms (muscular only), but trying to walk nearly a mile in Las Vegas resulted in nerve pain.  I took a nap and a warm bath, which calmed the nerves down a bit, but it was frustrating to get the sciatic pain between .75 and 1 mile.  Looks like I'll be sticking with half mile walks for the time being. 

Sleeping/lying down continue to be no trouble at all.

What I Can't Do:

I need to be more specific in this section, so here are more things I can't do…this isn't worse from last time, just that I didn't enumerate all of it before.

Still no carrying anything (no purse; no laptop that's not the Air).  Basically, I have about a five pound weight restriction. 

No hockey.  My physical therapist thinks I might be able to get on the ice again at a public skate relatively soon.

No motorcycles (specifically, I can't push the motorcycle and I'm not sure I can hold it upright).

No cardio training at the gym other than the 5 minute walks I do to warm up.  No weight lifting. 

There's probably a lot more I can't do, but that's what's most affecting my life. 😉

What I'm Doing About It:

I still wear a Thermacare back wrap most days. 

The new PT place is going really well. I still have twice-weekly sessions, which seem to be helping substantially.  We do flexibility work, some light massage, stretching, exercises, ultrasound, and heat/stim.

Still doing my daily home PT, which is now seven stretches and two exercises.  Twice a week I add two Swiss ball exercises.  I try to do PT at the Apple gym a couple of times per week so that I can also warm up on the elliptical (5 minutes at 0 resistance) and use the Swiss ball there. 

The Zero Gravity chair from Relax the Back is awesome. I sit in it every day and it really makes a difference.  I sit on my heating pad and recline the chair and can actually feel the weight being taken off of my spine.  I feel about 200 years old, doing my cross stitch on a heating pad in my big fancy recliner but, hey. 

I try to get weekly massages with a physical therapist, which helps a lot with the muscular pain.

The only other addition to this from last month is that I'm setting up an appointment with a neurosurgeon at Stanford for a second opinion.  One of our hockey friends is a doctor at Stanford and he recommended this new doc; in fact, he referred to him as the "Stanford spinal Jedi".   So, tomorrow I'll fax in my MRI report, a demographic sheet, and my insurance info and supposedly they'll call me within a few business days to set up an appointment.

So, all in all, not a lot of change from April.  But it's important to me to keep blogging this crap — mostly because I have no memory for improvement, so in my own mind, I'm still just as broken as I was in October.  

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