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Valerie's Dance Partners
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. My dear friend Lori Stine and I are using it to keep family and friends updated about my back surgery and healing in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.
My story? I wrote a big long thing and then hit something and lost it all sending me the message it was too long. So, short version. Through years of dancing, dancing related injuries, being kind of klutzy, genetics, age and not taking better care of myself, I have ended up with 2 herniated/bulging disks, spondylolisthesis, (that's where one vertebra slides forward instead of being in alignment with the other vertebra), stenosis, arthritis, scoliosis and degenerative disks. That has all resulted in pinching of the nerve roots going straight down from the spinal cord and the nerve roots that come out through the facets, (openings on sides of the vertebra). This pinching has caused bad lower back pain, excruciating pain from my rear end down thrown the back of my left calf, (severe sciatica) every once in a while down my right, tingling, heat, numbness, fullness, primarily in my left leg, drop foot in my left leg, some balance issues and dragging my feet. (I thought the dragging my feet was part of my klutziness, being out of shape or not paying attention. :) )
All of these issues are happening at L4/5 and L5/S1. The symptoms have basically stopped me from doing every "physical" thing I love- dancing, horseback, swimming, tennis, taking a walk all the way to everyday things like standing while brushing my teeth, flat ironing my hair, standing in the shower, and as much as I don't do it often, even cooking or making simple toast and cream cheese. It has also been part of why finding and/or sustaining work has been difficult as I can't sit, stand or walk very long without having serious pain. Lifting, bending, twisting and reaching is serious pain provoking as well. The other symptoms can be very uncomfortable but not debilitating. I am fortunate in that, sometimes, I have no pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, when I start to move again, I am reminded why I need the surgery. There are two exceptions, thank God, and only because I don't have to stand to do them. ;)
Without surgery, I am looking at worsening quality of life and permanent nerve damage. I am thankful that there is something that I can do that can get me back to living a full active life and have an easier time starting a new career. What I regret is that I didn't continue my Iyengar Yoga practice with my amazing teacher, Claudia Kuhns. (She specializes in people with acute and chronic illnesses and injuries. Ask me about her. I've experienced miracles with her as well as seeing other's miracles working with her.) While some issues like the stenosis may not have been prevented, I know for a fact that scoliosis, spondylolesthesis, herniations/bulging disks and pinching could have been avoided. And because I waited so long to get back to yoga, it seemed too late to do enough to correct things without risking the permanent nerve damage.
As a result of all this literal pain in the rear stuff, Friday, July 21 at 7:30am I am scheduled for a TLIF - Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion. 5-6 hour surgery 3-5 days in the hospital, home most likely, (rehab may be an option depending on many factors). After that it's a healing process. 4 months before I can take an airplane to CA with any kind of comfort. That's what I know right now.
All your prayers, love and any physical assistance you can offer would be most graciously accepted.