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


"Harry Smith" said...

It gives me great sorrow to hear this latest turn. I've been a quiet admirer of your posts on RAMVA and read the Tullz series religiously around the time that I was trying to figure out a course for myself in life. Your thoughtful approach to hands on tinkering could even have helped lead me into my chosen vocation in marine engineering. So you've been a bit of a role model for me and in a selfish way I am wishing for you to bounce back from this so I can keep hearing from you! Have no doubt that you have touched more lives than you know and are a positive influnce to people you'll never meet.

Get well soon, Bob. I hope I can send some good karma your way. Hang in there, I know you haven't run out of wisdom to share.

C R said...


I'm sorry to hear about this setback. I will keep you in my prayers.

I really hope that if you elect to have the surgery that it brings you relief from the pain you are experiencing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob

Just to echo Chris's comment really.

I know of you from RAMVA and drop in from time to time on your blog to see how you are keeping.

My thoughts are with you, wishing you to be the best you can be.

Rich (Tricky) England

Max Welton said...

Ouch. Allow me to lob some good thoughts in from mid-country.

Hope you feel better soon, Bob.


Ludwig's Drivers said...

Back pain has got to be just about the worst. Here's to hoping the surgery will give you some relief.

Kato said...

Hi Bob,

Sorry to hear about your back. I have suffered from a bad back too.

I ran across your blog because I have a VW beetle and I,m in need of advice. It has to do with front wheel bearings. I have read the manuals but they are vague. Thanks.

beetle said...

Hi Bob,

Sorry to hear about the back. Although, mine is not that bad, I know the feeling. Hope you get well soon.

I ran across you blog becuase I am having a tough time with some front bearings. I have several manuals but are very vague. Can you help? Thanks.