Welcome to my CaringBridge website. It is designed to provide me with a journal documenting my journey through the health care system from the other side, as a patient. And also to share my experience with you. So let’s start from the beginning.
After being hit by a Mack Dump truck in June 2012 while riding a bike, I required an L5-S1 discectomy to alleviate my left sciatica. I tried to regain my active athletic life (marathoning, cycling as a tourist along with the Tour de France, windsurfing, kitesurfing, skiing) but continued to have pain which interfered with all sports as well as adding new photos to my collection of handstands around the world. As a former competitive gymnast, I just wasn’t ready to “hang up my grips.”
After two perfectly successful transformational epidural steroid injections at L3/4 which worked for 2 months, the last one wore off during a 2 week vacation in Tel Aviv totally hobbling me. I got an MRI and scheduled my outpatient discectomy for the next week. However, despite a normal physical exam, my preop labs revealed a PSA of 12.5 and an MRI confirmed a high likelihood of prostate cancer. And so my unwanted journey began.
Lastly, this tale is not to be confidential, or secret in any way. HIPAA BE DAMNED! My objective is also to stimulate conversation not just about prostate issues, but preventive medical care as well. Doctors (and I am as guilty as any) consider ourselves obliviously invincible. We are the worst patients. “Doctor heal thyself” should instead be: “Doctor, go get an annual checkup!”
And that is the message I want all of you to learn. If not for the need for my disc surgery, who knows how much longer it would have been before this was discovered. Ironically, while I can say I know what it feels like to be hit by a truck, I can be thankful for it as it might have saved my life!
So please go get a checkup if you’re overdue. It might save your life!
I think the euphoria just to wake up postop rapidly disappears when the anesthetic drugs and local wear off...with a vengeance.
Biggest miscalculation was not sticking around UCLA an extra day just in case I needed something.
Of course, problems always seem to happen with physician patients. I didn’t disappoint.
By the time we got the rental car and crawled down the 405 to Newport Coast, I was beyond ready to lie down. The extra 3 hours of waiting to get our condo was too much. Turns out, my catheter was blocked and the pressure was building up. Picture the scene in Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” when Mr. Creosote eats one last dessert wafer and explodes. Worse still, drug stores don’t carry catheter supplies or irrigation saline and Orange County medical supply stores all close by 5 pm. Luckily, there was one CVS that had an irrigation syringe. I boiled water, cooled it in the freezer and managed to flush it out and get it draining again. A bush fix is as good as any of it works! No way I could have tolerated the 60 miles of LA freeway back to UCLA each way and I know how useless a trip to the local ER would have been.
While today is a better day, I know I’ll feel better still once my bloated belly gets “going” again.