The astute among you will notice that I have basically been AWOL from the forums for about six months. So here’s what happened.
At the end of April I was minding my own goddamn business and my right leg seized up. After a few days, it had gotten better to the point where I felt semi-comfortable walking and driving, so I took myself to urgent care - the doctor said it was likely a pinched nerve and prescribed me muscle relaxers and massage because I think physical therapy is a scam.
The massages and muscle relaxers helped, but, long story short, it wasn’t just a pinched nerve.
One morning in September, I woke up in excruciating pain and couldn’t move my right leg at all. After a few days of trying to treat it with (legal!!!) weed, acupuncture, and stretching, I found myself in the ER shrieking in pain. Two MRIs later it was confirmed that my L5-S1 disc had killed itself, with the cartilage mostly removing itself from the disc wall. The ER doc said it was one of the worst he had ever seen.
Two weeks and a lot of painkillers later, I headed back to my primary care provider for a consult, who referred me to an excellent spine surgeon. My doctor is very cautious, generally speaking, and said that he is an internist, not a spine expert, and wanted me to build a relationship with someone who knew their stuff in the event that, if it didn’t get better, I’d have someone I liked and trusted I could call instead of being at the mercy of whoever was at the ER.
A few weeks later, the spine surgeon walks into the room. “Now, Mr. Afro-Pope, have you seen your MRI?”
“Yes I have.”
“So you understand why I recommend surgery.”
“I don’t know how you got here and I don’t know how you’ve been functioning for as long as you have. I don’t even know how you’re sitting up right now. I don’t think this will get better on its own and at this point you’re risking permanent damage to your sciatic nerve and your spinal column.”
“Oh. Uh, okay, when?”
“Can you come back in the day after tomorrow?”
Two days later I had a microdiscectomy. The disc came out in several pieces - it had not only herniated, it had been shredded. I felt almost instantly better, but now there’s a new problem - I have barely used my right leg for seven months and haven’t set foot in a gym in about that long.
I have taken this as a golden opportunity. As I believe my injury was the result of years of neglected biomechanical issues and muscle imbalances, I am working with the fabulous crew at Kabuki Strength Lab here in Clackamas, Oregon, to make sure that never happens again. We are starting my training from the very beginning, starting with injury rehab, and the ultimate goal is that one year from today I will be stronger and healthier than I have ever been. The doctor says I may not be able to squat or deadlift again, but his assistants/PAs/etc have also said they’ve never seen anyone recover so quickly, so not to count those out entirely. That said, there won’t be anything that involves loading the spine for at least another month or so.
The point of this log is to be fun for me and informative for everyone else - what’s going into recovering from an injury like this, what I wish I had done differently before getting injured, and just because it’s fun to log stuff. I don’t know if the crew at Kabuki wants their methods kept secret, since I’m paying them quite a lot for this, but I’ll be putting as much info in as I can and have time for.
Oh yeah, about the “Afro Pope” thing, I’m clearly a white guy - “Afro Pope” was a character in an indie game I liked in the mid-2000s whose most memorable line was “I respect your beliefs, but that does not change the fact that you are wrong,” which I very much identify with, and I’ve been using it as a handle on lifting sites for about that long, long since before I knew that maybe a white dude calling himself the Afro Pope on the internet was kind of weird.
Anyway, that’s that. Nice to be back in the gym. Today is Day 3, I’ll be training Monday, Wednesday and Friday to start. I’ll keep everyone posted!