The last couple of months I have been slow in responding to emails and late in getting things done. If this has affected you, I’m sorry about that. My deepest apologies go to the Dragon Age fans, who have been waiting for Set 3 long enough already.
The trouble began at the end of April when I woke up with a sore shoulder. I thought I just slept on it badly and it would right itself in a few days. A week later I went to get a massage because it had not gotten better and I was sleeping badly. That did not help, so I went in to see my doctor. She thought it might be my rotator cuff and referred me to a physical therapist. She also had me take 12 Ibuprofen a day for one week to see if that’d relax the muscles.
The therapy and exercises seemed to help for a couple of weeks. I still had to sleep on the couch though, as I could not lie flat in bed without pain. Then one Sunday the pain came roaring back. That week I could find no position–standing, sitting, or lying down–that was without pain. My thumb went numb and I started to get shooting pains up and down my arm. I could not sit at a computer for longer than 15 minutes. Sleep was horrible and I began to dread each night.
I went to see my doctor again and she made what turned out to be the correct diagnosis: I had a pinched nerve in my neck. She gave a 5 day course of steroids and a small amount of Vicodin for the pain. I also continued to see my PT. The steroids ended the worst of the pain but then things just plateaued. She told me to do another week of 12 Ibuprofen a day, and I hoarded the Vicodin so I could take one pill before bed (well, couch).
My physical therapist told me to alert her if things didn’t get any better and she would escalate my case. By this Monday I was still in pain all the time, so I sent up the Bat Signal. I went to the Spinal Clinic on Monday and was diagnosed again by a different PT and a new doctor. They agreed that the culprit was a pinched nerve. We scheduled a MRI for the next day and then a steroid injection by my spine for Monday. He gave me more Vicodin (hooray!) and some Valium to help me get through the MRI.
So yesterday morning I went in for the MRI. Since I had been unable to lie flat without pain for two months now, the idea of having to do that in a narrow tube did not thrill me. I followed the doctor’s instructions and took a Valium and Vicodin when I woke up. Then I took two more Valium before the MRI. Nonetheless, when they strapped me in, there was searing, stabby pain. When they are giving you a MRI, you can’t move or you ruin the imaging, so all I could do was lie there and suck it up for 15 long minutes. Goddamn, that was hurt but I did it. The tech said I was “awesome at laying still.” I hope the images are worth it.
Monday I go in for the steroid shot. With a needle near my spine, I don’t expect it to be pleasant, but if it works I will gladly suffer through it. By bathing that area with steroids, hopefully the muscles will finally relax and unpinch my spine. Then a little more PT should take care of it. With GenCon coming up next month, I really want to get back into fighting shape. I also have a ton of work to do, on Dragon Age, Freeport, and more. I’ve lost enough time already.
And hey, Spine? After this let’s never fight again.
I broke my back in 2006. It was a minor fracture and after the initial injury which I don’t remember it seemed to be fine. Then, slowly it got worse. I was sucking it up for 9 months before I got an MRI. At that point it was a situation where two vertebra and a disk were horribly messed up. I needed surgery but didn’t have insurance and even if I did, no surgery offered had the level of success I’d be happy with in order to greenlight the procedure.
One day in 2009 in the midst of a horrible, horrible cold I felt WONDERFUL. The back was better. I went running for the first time in almost 3 years. I was so amazed I called home. I had to take medication for my eye because that was affected. I quickly determined it had to be the anti-biotics going into the eye that were helping as their would be a way to by-pass the blood/spinal fluid barrier that way. Alas, I was wrong. A week later I was back to pain. It turns out your body will produce cortizone (a steroid) naturally when fighting a bad infection.
Eventually the back healed after I lost weight and did a lot of core exercise. It might be worth it to consider the benefits of doing basic core exercises on a stability ball. Even if you have pain, it might be your way out of it for good in the long run. In my case the one concept of truth that kept me going was “the only way out of hell, is through it.”
I hope you feel better soon. I hope whatever they are doing brings you relief. I spent far to long on strong narcotics like what you are on and I can say they will only serve you in the short run.
Hey man, there’s no worries about anything as this is a serious health issue. That is a bit more important than emails and such.
As I had a player in one of my games that suffered from the same pinched nerve, I know that it’s a really rough time, so do what you need to do to feel better. I’m pretty sure everyone understands wholeheartedly throughout the community.
Hoping you feel better soon! And if you ever want to trade some classic punk songs/stories, I’m down.
Chris, don’t ever feel bad about getting better. I have followed your posts on facebook. I am sorry that you were hurting so much. I am a very big Dragon Age fan, and honestly I could wait a long time for the 3rd DA book. I love what you do with them. I loved watching Tabletop with you on it.