My Spinal Fusion Story – Ages 41 – 50

So, as you’ve read, my spine problems began very damn early in my life and got progressively worse with each passing year. It was from the age of 41 onward that I rapidly descended into a hell I could not withstand.

I know that sounds like dramatic language, but man: things got really bad for a long while there. There was a pain so excruciating that it no longer was isolated in just the lumbar region. It also radiated into my buttocks and worst of all: the pain radiated into my abdomen region and really screwed up my urination.

It’s extremely unpleasant just retelling this tale.

But, basically back/spine damage can rally wreak havoc on your whole peeing life. I was truly worried that I had some type of bladder cancer. And, the doctor—not at my urging—had me do various MRIs including a bladder MRI.

The first bit of enlightenment came when my general doctor looked at my spine X-ray. “Did you ever fall off a ladder or get in a car accident?” he asked me.
“No, why?”
“Well, you have a vertebrae that’s chipped.”

Now, let me tell you something. In retrospect, I’m somewhat kicking myself for my general stupidity. But, the problem just isn’t my stupidity. The problem is the same one shared by a lot of folks who live in the United States of America.

And the problem is…drum roll…I have shitty health insurance.

And, in the next breath I must also declare that I’m very thankful for the health insurance that I have. It ultimately covered my spine surgery: which was a very pricey affair!

So, I’ve got some mixed feelings along with some ambivalence. I think those sort of emotions happen easily when dealing with out nutty USA way of treating people’s wellness.

Because, if I had real insurance…if money were no object…hell, I would have gone to a spine surgeon thirty years ago!

I’d have gone when I was 12 years old and experienced my first disabling experience with back pain! I’d have gone for a lumbar MRI and X-ray when I was in my late twenties and groaning on a bar stool every night.

The truth is that for most of my life I just haven’t had much access to doctors and dentists.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but thinking how much it would have helped my entire life had I had access to doctors during my twenties and thirties.

Anyway, by the time I got to the spine surgeon, I was plain-and-simple A MESS… BIG TIME!

I was at a point where I thought to myself, “Well, at least this will be over some day. I mean…no one lives forever!”

So, I don’t want to upset anyone by recounting the morbid thoughts that I had during this time of nonstop physical agony. But, I do think it’s very important to be honest about this…particularly as I know there are other people going through this excruciating hell of back/spine/lumbar agony right now! I feel for you! I’ve been there!

And, I want to tell you that there is hope! Now, I sure can’t guarantee that. But, I can say that I was an absolute mess. My daily pain level ranged—on a scale of 1 to 10—anywhere from a 4 to an 11.

It was a trip because there would be little intervals when, by comparison, I felt pretty good. But, those were short-lived!

And, as mentioned, the pain was radiating into my buttocks region and abdomen…and, I know now that it was my spinal dysfunction that was causing my frequent and urgent urination sensations…I know this now, but I wasn’t sure at the time…

…but, my point is that I was miserable and hopeless. I was looking forward to the end of this life. And, when the surgeon was discussing some of the risks, I told him: “I don’t care about the risks! I can’t live like this!”

And, I meant it. And, he knew I meant it.

And, thank God for Dr. Cortez.

He saved my life…and, I really do mean literally.

Read on about my general hopes for the rest of my life post spinal fusion surgery.