I’m going to have to throw in the towel and admit some defeat. As much as I want to release Innocent Dreams on Halloween, there’s just no way I’m going to get it done in time at this point. So, look for a November release.
The good news is that I am track to release the first in the companion part of the Dreams & Reality series: Triggered Reality. Expect a December release for it (unless something miraculous happens).
This comes because I got good news and bad news. The good news is my computer will be here today. The bad news is it is going to take me several days to get it set up. It is going to need programs installed, files transferred onto it, and it always takes me a few days to adjust to working on a different computer… Plus the health news below is going to slow down some of the set up.
We figured out the source of my back pain: degenerative disk disease. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like; the disks in my spine are starting to deteriorate. In my case, it’s hereditary and while most things seem to come from my father’s side of the family, this one may have come from my mother’s (I learned yesterday that she is the only sibling that hasn’t had back surgery or treatments for different reasons). I can’t stop it. I can’t fix it. I can only slow it down and when the disks start to disappear completely, I will have to have them replaced.
At the moment, I have only one deteriorating disk. It has gotten bad enough that it needs help. Thankfully, we aren’t to the needing surgery point yet, but that day will probably come. This afternoon, I start cortisone shots. It’s two injections, directly into the disk, using a sonogram machine and a huge needle. I’ve been told it hurts. I’ve also been told there is a slight risk of spinal infection and leaking of spinal fluid, both of which can be a serious complication. After the injection tomorrow, I’m not supposed to do much for 24 hours. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, which is good, but I also know it causes me to push myself past the limits at times. Instead of risking screwing up my first treatment, I will be following doctor’s orders.
The stress on the surrounding nerves of this deteriorating disk is what is causing my lower leg pain. It may or may not be permanent. We will have to wait and see how the injections and therapy goes. If it is, we have already begun discussing pain management options. When I was sent to see this doctor, I was told he was the best in Missouri. After talking with him today, I can see why people think so highly of him. He spent nearly an hour in a room with me, discussing everything from what I can expect tomorrow during the injections to what I can expect twenty years from now. We discussed treatments options for scenarios we aren’t even dealing with yet. I found out later that he has done several back surgeries for people I know and all raved about him. So, I feel very confident with his diagnosis and treatment plans. Now, it’s just a matter of time.
Which brings me to part two of the current treatment plan: I have to retrain my back. Monday, I contact a physical therapist in town that deals with disk deterioration and we began working on retraining my back as well as the way I move, in general. There are certain things I am going to have to be careful about doing, regardless of whether the shots help or not. One of them is lifting. One of them is twisting. And the big one for me, stooping. I will also have to adapt to a new routine for typing, especially since I do so much of it. Having a new computer will not help, but I will get used to both at the same time and that might actually be a good thing. My posture isn’t terrible right now, but it isn’t great either. However, the retraining is to keep me from hurting it as often as I did this year – all a symptom of the deteriorating disk that was chalked up to pulled muscles over and over again.
For the most part, I’m still processing the fact that the disks in my spine are going to fall apart and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I can only slow it down. Since, I have the hereditary version, the doctor said I would probably require at least one surgery on my spine before I am 55. Strangely, 19 years doesn’t seem so far away when you are staring down that barrel. If the injections don’t work, it will be much sooner, which doesn’t fill me with joy. However, it’s not next week and that does make me happy. Also, it could be worse, I know a couple of people who have degenerative spine disease, where they are actually losing the bone from their spines, and that is awful.
In Mid-September I will have a progress update on it, upcoming books, how I plan to handle next year (some of that may have to change), and maybe some more good news.