I have been quiet recently on social media as I have been dealing with some significant health issues that have long term ramifications. This will be a rather long post, but I want to share about this so others can pray with us and perhaps we can help others working through similar challenges. I have been open about my caregiving for Angie over the years, so this is a next step in that caregiving for my wife who has Multiple Sclerosis. Items that impact my health, impact my caregiving for Angie. As of today, I have a full diagnosis and direction, so I am sharing now with each of you asking for prayer for Angie and me. I have a bulging disc in the lumbar region of my back (L5-S1 for those that are in the know). After reviewing the MRI and other tests, my doctor believes steroids and rest can repair it if I am careful, so no surgery at this time which is a happy thought. I go back to the doctor on Monday to see if the steroids are working. If so, I go back to work Tuesday with some prescribed limitations. If I have increased pain or weakness on Monday, then we pursue a surgical option.
There are two significant limitations with this prescribed treatment (would also exist if I have the surgery), I cannot lift more than 10 lbs for six months. The more difficult limitation, even after the six months, I am no longer to lift Angie as her caregiver because of the strain would likely bring back the pain and increase the severity of the injury. It is probable these past few years of increased caregiving created the wear and tear on my back that caused the injury. Angie and I want to remain living together at home if at all possible, so we are investigating home remodeling, hydraulic accessibility lifts, electric wheelchairs, accessible vans, and more. The doctor did commend me for the years of quality caregiving I have provided Angie, but said my body is telling me a change is necessary at this time. Temporarily, we are staying with Angie’s parents while I recover and so she can receive care.
Please be in prayer for Angie and me. This has been a very painful experience physically for me, but even more painful emotionally for both of us as this brings some realities about our life going forward to the forefront. Our families are beside us in these discussions. Please be praying for my physical recovery, our emotional recovery, and the difficult discussions and decisions we are going to have to make over the coming days, weeks, and months. Without the support of our families and faith, this would be an unbearable experience.
UPDATE – Thursday, September 26: Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. After a day of the steroids, I am noticing some physical improvement. I was able to sleep better than I have in over a week and reduced pain today so far. Able to walk a bit, even if still a bit hunched over. Trying to take it easy and allow my body to slowly heal. Emotionally this continues to be challenging for both of us. Lots of research and conversations ahead of Angie and I today.
UPDATE: Continued thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. Angie and I really appreciate your emotional support. I will be honest. It has been a rough time for both of us. We continue to discuss and pray about next steps in regards to caregiving options. It has been a very emotional process. With wise counsel from family, we are making significant process. But, I am still experiencing hip and leg pain, and struggling with mobility. I return to the doctor on Monday to evaluate the process with the steroids and determine next steps.
UPDATE 2019-09-30: Met with my doctor today. Seeing no significant improvement on the steroids, he has referred me to a neurosurgeon for consultation. My appointment is 11:15 am Tuesday in Fort Wayne.
UPDATE 2019-10-01: Neurosurgeon determined the back injury is significant enough it will not heal on its own. Outpatient laminectomy surgery scheduled for Wednesday, October 9th at 9:15 am. Post surgery recovery is expected to take 1-3 weeks then months of exercise and reduced lifting. Dealing with the pain & challenges until then.