Surviving In This Very Moment…

My Personal Battle with Prostate Cancer … And Life!

Archive for the tag “Physical therapy”

Good to Be Back

Good to be Back

Good to be Back

I feel like a suspended NHL player, having missed a week or more of posting to the blog. Let me explain. A week ago today, my wife began complaining of severe pain in her neck, upper back and knees, especially the left knee. Nothing, not medication, physical therapy or sleep seemed to do much to relieve the pain. She went to her internist who scratched his head and said, “Hmmmm?” and sent her to the emergency room where the ER attending physician scratched his head and said, “Strange?” and wrapped her knee with an ace bandage for lack of anything better to do and suggested a follow-up with both the internist and her orthopedic physician. The orthopod drained a bit under 200 cc of fluid from her left knee and said, “Hmmmmm, the fluid is cloudy suggesting gout…Let’s run some tests.” When the tests came back all within normal range, he scratched his head and said, “Hmmmmm?” in agreement with everyone else. It is no small wonder that my grandfather always said, “Doctors don’t know nuttin!”

Over the past week I have tended to her needs, her demands and her complaining. The one thing the three doctors did agree on was that she contracted some strange virus but none were willing (or able) to identify the virus or suggest a cure. Hmmmmm!

Since we have a wedding to attend in Grand Forks, ND (in February for goodness sake) we left home yesterday after going to the orthopod for a cortisone injection in her right knee. It seems the stress of the pain in the left knee placed an additional strain on her right knee and, well, you can guess the rest. Now in Grand Forks, the weather was good to us, we are getting ready to join family for dinner. I am tired from all the driving but not so tired that I didn’t want to avoid another day of not checking in.

On another front, I have been reading a lot that I want to comment on but that will wait until the very next post.

To the Pain…

To the Pain...

To the Pain…

At the end of June, 2012, I had a total knee replacement performed on my left knee. For three months I was in so much pain, a pain that simply didn’t seem to be getting any better, that I regretted having undergone this surgery. I was shocked and, frankly, surprised that the pain was so intense. After all, I have two total hip replacements and a titanium back from a laminectomy to deal with a stenosis caused by my severe osteoarthritis. I expected recovery to mirror my prior orthopedic surgeries. Then, one day about three months after surgery, the pain simply disappeared; while I was left with some discomfort, it was getting better from my commitment to physical therapy. But my healthcare nightmare of 2012 was not quite over. In October I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and, because of the biopsy, the bone and CAT scans, it was decided that surgery was the most appropriate option. So in late November I underwent a radical prostatectomy. So far, this is nothing new for those following this blog. Here is where it gets a bit dicy. Because of the surgery and the post-operative restriction on lifting, I was unable to continue the exercise program that my PT laid out for me. Three weeks ago I was granted a lifting of all restrictions on lifting and exercise. Ten days later I was in my orthopedic surgeon’s office for my six month evaluation. I was complaining about a stiffness developing in my left knee. He suggested that I go to physical therapy just to make sure that I didn’t do any serious damage to the knee as I worked my way back into some kind of shape.

Yesterday was my first serious day in physical therapy and man do I hurt today. There isn’t a muscle in my lower body that is not feeling the effects of having been sedentary for the past two months. Things that I did with ease prior to the prostate surgery were not only difficult, they were painful as well. When I rolled out of bed this morning I could feel the pain everywhere. I have a whole regimin of exercises to do at home and I will not return to PT until Tuesday. With enough effort on my part, perhaps I will rejoin the ranks of the reasonably fit but right at this very moment that doesn’t seem like a reasonable outcome. What I’ll have to do is shelve my pessimism and visualize the end result as I go down to my basement to push myself harder but within the limits laid out by my PT.

Okay, I know this is a short post, but I am out of the house to meet with the orthopod about another issue, nothing I am terribly worried about, and then to see Zero Dark Thirty. Exercise will wait until I return.

Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Beyond My Wildest Dreams

In October of this year, right after I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I started this blog as an exercise in thinking about life and my struggle with this potentially deadly disease. I was (and still am) writing for myself yet I am also writing with the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, by my writing I will be available for anyone struggling as I am with their own disease. As of this morning I have recorded over 1,500 visitors to this site; something I never expected or anticipated. Sure, I had a boost in visitors from WordPress when the blog was selected for their Freshly Pressed page and I am grateful for that but it doesn’t explain the fact that so many others follow, comment or like this blog. It provides energy for me to continue to be present for readers no matter what their struggle for as long as I can.

Regular readers may have noticed that I am now using a single graphic, a stylized portrait of me painted on a brick wall. I have a particular fondness for functionalist imagery, stripped to its bare bones while still representing something in the world. I tag the image with the title of the post and let it be.

On another note, as I am writing this I am in some significant pain. Four months prior to my cancer diagnosis I had a total knee replacement in my left knee. I regained almost complete mobility in the knee through hard work and physical therapy. Since my prostatectomy I have been unable to do the exercises that are necessary to keep the knee functional due to the potential strain and weight limitations for lifting resulting on both stiffness and pain in the knee. I am reasonably certain the problem is caused by fluid on the knee but I can’t be sure until I see my orthopedic surgeon on the 4th of January. Who would have ever thought that a side effect of radical prostatectomy surgery would impact my knee?

Finally, on this day after Christmas, I certainly hope everyone had a joyous and restful holiday. While I don’t celebrate Christmas myself, remember I am a Jewish atheist, and I am bothered by the constant commercial clatter of the holiday that begins the day after Halloween and seems endless, I am a champion of diversity and acceptance of the other person, no matter what his or her beliefs are. Would that we could all be like that! Acceptance is the key to serenity if all you do is accept your personal set of circumstances. On a broader scale, acceptance of the other is the more powerful path to peace, love and understanding even when the rest of the world is falling apart around you.

I thank each and every one of my readers for your interest in this attempt to share with you some of my stories of recovery. I wish each one a very Happy New Year. So glad the Mayans were wrong.

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