Well, folks, I made it! I'm at six weeks post-op today, and that means one thing - I'M FREED FROM WEARING THE NECK COLLAR!! WooHoo! The funny thing is, I'm sitting at my desk writing this, and I'm still wearing it! It's become a sort of "love by comfort" thing for me at this point. It provides comfortable support for my head and neck when I'm at the computer. (Okay, I just took it off! I have to get used to holding up the weight of my head again.)
I had my first therapeutic massage yesterday after two months of absence (I go every two weeks). I was able to lay face down on my stomach with my head in the horseshoe-shaped padded cushion without any pain or discomfort. And when it came time to lift my head out and flip onto my back, for the first time in years, my neck did not "crunch," and I had no pain. It was a big deal for me to see that the surgery had corrected a problem that has been dogging me for so long. As far as the range of motion goes, I don't feel like I've lost any, which is also a big deal. My cervical spine feels like it's been solidified and made safe to use again if that makes any sense. I continue to have neuropathic symptoms in my arms, hands, and feet, but I'm told that they should hopefully, pass with time.
My IBS, which is a significant obstacle, and can be quite debilitating at times, continues to be my biggest challenge. I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, that coping and living with IBS has been harder than living with Psoriatic Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Hard to imagine eh? Before my IBS, I was able to live a reasonably normal life. I could manage my invisible diseases with medications and lifestyle - hence: "being invisible". But now, the IBS has ultimately jeopardized my quality of life. I am more or less housebound because I never know what to expect. I'm doing a lot of research at the moment, especially on dedicated IBS/SIBO Facebook groups to try to find what works for me. Diet is the most crucial consideration. However, it's tough to figure out what foods are trigger foods. Now that I'm "collar-free", I'm going to take an appointment with a lab in Ontario to have a food sensitivity test done which will undoubtedly be quite helpful.
I recently submitted swab samples of my GUT, NOSE, SKIN, GENITALS, and MOUTH to a private lab: www.ubiome.com. They found two elusive bacteria in my gut, one of which is called Rahnella and is pathogenic in humans. Not good. I'm currently waiting to hear back from my Infectious Disease doctor to see what can be done to eradicate it. From previous tests that were done last year, I also have other harmful bacteria, candida, and parasites in my gut. This is what makes managing the IBS/SIBO so tricky. Anyhow, with my surgery behind me, and a big chunk of my recovery out of the way, I can now dedicate more time to finding a solution to this terrible IBS condition. If you are someone you know suffers from IBS and has any tips, please reach out to me and share! The more information I can gather from people living with it, the better.
I thought I’d close this with a happy moment. My massage therapist had these cool looking plant holders in her bathroom. I had no idea what they were. She told me they were called "Groots," and that they were Marvel action heroes from the movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" which I've never seen! Anyhow, they just really looked so friendly and happy, I had to post the pic!
Thanks for reading!
Patrick 2.0 - Your Friendly Neighbourhood Bionic Man