Thursday, March 12, 2015

Quick Health Update

Yes--I know I still owe the Vinson climb report--and I'm almost there--but lots of visitors here and a big effort to resolve my myriad health issues are slowing that publication.  On my health, here is the latest:

1. Degenerative Disc Disease:  while this is a permanent feature of my life going forward, the epidural did eliminate all of my pain and my right leg has been pretty normal ever since.  I've received conflicting reports on whether I should ever run or climb again and have decided that once other issues (see below) are resolved, I'll continue to do so--albeit at a more conservative level.  I'm happy to report I did run twice in the last 3 weeks--once for 20 minutes and once for 30 minutes and I did do a 2-hour climb/hike and my back/right quad held up fine.

2. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.  I had EMP/Nerve Conduction Testing on both lower arms and confirmed I have moderate/severe CTS on my left and moderate on my right.  Essentially, my Ulnar nerve in both arms is being compressed and this is leading to numbness, weakness and muscle atrophy in both hands.  At this point I've loss a lot of my fine muscle control in my left hand so I can't play guitar or open bottles (for example) with my left hand.  I'm seeing a elbow/hand surgeon on Tuesday and fully expect to schedule surgery on at least the left elbow/wrist.  Hopefully, not to many of my current symptoms will be permanent--although clearly some will.  At the moment, this means I can't swim because I'm supposed to minimize bending my elbows and putting force on them.

3. On-going Left Knee Issues.  My knee has been pretty painful as of late--generally, I can only tolerate about 30 minutes of walking on it.  I saw the ortho here in SaMo yesterday and the X-rays showed once again the bone-on-bone situation in my left knee.  Also, some newish bone spurs growing, which aren't super helpful.  They determined that I had waited too long between knee injections (been 7 months) and my knee tissue was inflamed and painful as a result.  I received a cortisone injection yesterday, which brought immediate relief and we are going to try to cycle through a 15-day Uflexa injection sequence starting early next week.  Hopefully, this will get me back to a more stable knee situation.

4. Left Calf Issues.  Probably some of these are related to the knee but I continue to receive PT 3X a week and I'm hopeful i can get my calf under control.

Bottom line, I hope to avoid back surgery (and knee replacement surgery) for the time being and hopefully everything I have going on will resolve/control my current issues and by July 1st or so I can get after what no doubt will be a several month rebuilding process.  At this point, I don't plan to do any triathlons or climb any major mountains in 2015.  If all goes well, maybe 2016 can be a comeback year for me!

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