Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hope for a Better 2015

Most of 2014 was pretty much a write-off. Oh, it started great (visiting my daughter and friends in Oz and NZ) and it ended great (my daughter and Simon visiting for a long spell at Christmas and New Years, and even Ukrainian Christmas), but most of the time in-between I was not feeling great. I had no appetite and lost 25 pounds, didn't feel much like doing physio, Pilates or yin yoga, had problems sleeping and/or sometimes was sleeping too much. Sure, I did have good things happen - friends from Oz visited, we spent quality time at the cottage, my mobility scooter made life easier and more fun - but things just didn't feel right. Finally, just after the annual Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, it hit: a streptococcal infection in my spine, next to my spinal chord in the L3, L4 and L5 vertebrae area.  This caused huge and very painful back spasms and my MS symptoms (especially related to weakness and mobility issues) to hit the roof. The surgery required shaving away some backbone to drain the abscess, hopefully reducing the spinal stenosis that may have led to much of my hip and sciatic pain in my left leg.

I really don't remember a lot about those times. I hardly even remember my daughter visiting me the first time. Maybe some of it (pain, horrible and embarrassing MS symptoms) I just don't want to remember. I do remember progressing from not being able to transfer from one chair to another without help to being able to do short walks with a 2-wheel walker. Luckily, I got out of hospital two days before my son left for his teaching job in China.

Since my operation on October 4th, I've been recuperating steadily but slowly, though the improvements seemed to have stopped now, perhaps even regressed a little, with stomach upset seeming to be an ongoing problem. Given all the penicillin I got (mega-doses for 6 weeks after the operation), it shouldn't be an infection anymore, though it could be that my stomach ecosystem hasn't yet recovered from all the antibiotics. What has improved greatly and stayed better is a huge reduction in pain in my left hip and leg. I hope that is due to the removal of the spinal stenosis, but it could be also due to the reduction in my walking. While I progressed to a four-wheeled walker and, finally, to using poles and a cane again, the winter weather and ice and snow keep me inside and sitting a lot. I sure hope no more health problems keep me from taking our 5-week vacation in Costa Rica at the end of this month.

I wish all of you a happy, health and prosperous 2015.

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