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Sunday, March 20, 2016

A SLOW ROAD BACK -- March 20, 2016

The decision to have surgery on my back was not an easy one and not one that I took lightly.  Ultimately, I knew that, if I ever wanted to walk comfortably without pain again, I would have to have it done.  Over the course of the last year it had become difficult, if not sometimes impossible, for me do some simple things that I had always taken for granted...things like taking an evening walk around the block with my wife, Robin.  I think the hardest part of my decision was coming to terms with the fact that I would have put, not only my biking, but pretty much all physical activities, on hold for a while.

My wife will probably be upset with me for posting this pic...but this was the first "pain-free" walk that I was able to take with her for quite some time.  It meant so much to me -- March 16, 2016
I will admit that, in my head, I had set (what I found out was) some pretty unrealistic recovery goals:  I'd be walking around the block within a few days...I'd be back on my bike by the beginning of May....yep, considering that I can't bend, twist, drive, or lift for two weeks and considering that I can't go back to school for at least four weeks...those goals were unrealistic.  I understand now that this will be a slow road back to normal.  The great thing is that, according to Dr. Salatto, the operation (Right L3/4 Foraminotomy) went perfectly and, with proper care, should relieve my pain.  That means I had to change my mindset and change my goals.  It means I can't be stubborn and need to be a good boy and follow my doctor's orders so that I can get back to normal as quickly as possible.  

I started this blog in August with the purpose of sharing the stories of my adventures and the friends who are part of them.   It looks like, for the time being, that I'll be focusing on my friends and family...beginning with my wife, Robin. The one thing that I can't overstate enough is how much I love my wife. No one has ever loved me the way that she does.   Not only is she beautiful, successful, intelligent, and my best friend...she is also a worrier.  I don't mean that in a negative or bad way...I say it because I appreciate how she worries about me, how she cares for me, and how she loves me.  It's making this process easier.  The evening of my surgery, she and I took a walk around the top floor of the hospital. She and I hadn't been able to go for a walk for quite some time.  It was the best feeling in the world...I teared up.  

Written on the white board in my recovery room by my father -- March 16, 2016
My dad and Mary Jane made it just in time for me to be wheeled back for the surgery and stayed with me and Robin for the rest of the day.  As a kid, it was my father who took me to the emergency room each time I broke a bone...or just did something "boneheaded."  I can still remember him breaking into the closet in the ER at the hospital in Bedford and blowing up the latex gloves into "cow utter" balloons.  He has always made me laugh.  Both my dad, and MJ, are coming to visit  tomorrow to help "keep and eye" on me since Robin has to go back to work.  They're beyond awesome.  

My son Alex is one of the most amazing young men I know.  He takes honors courses at Northeastern High School, plays varsity baseball, competes in computer fairs, holds down a job at the local Subway, and still manages to be one of the most polite and level headed people I know.  He's my inspiration -- March 16, 2016
Three months ago I was visiting Tim in the hospital after his neck surgery.  Turn around is fair play -- March 16, 2016
Lydell stopped by the house yesterday to check in on me.  He made sure I was ok, gave me a nerdy book about Albert Einstein to read, and lectured me about listening to my wife and my doctor.  He knows me well.  -- March 18, 2016
My daughter, Emma Kate, has been over the past two nights to check in on me.  She's a senior at Kutztown University and is graduating in May.  I'm extremely proud of her.  These are some of my favorite pics of the two of us -- 2013
I think that Robin was pleasantly surprised with how well I did in the hospital.  I tried my best to be the perfect patient for her and for the nurses and therapists that took care of me.  They were amazing. I'm finding that it's harder at home than it was in the hospital.  I'm more tempted to do things...little things...that I shouldn't be doing.  I'd be lying if I said that my heart didn't drop into my stomach when I got home and saw my bikes hanging in the garage patiently waiting to be ridden.  A few weeks ago, Robin expressed concern that I would be bored.  I've made sure that I have plenty to do...books to read, lessons to plan for school, and even an online class to work on.  Oh...and Netflix.  I have Netflix.  I can only hope that this is enough...especially once the weather breaks, the birds begin to chirp, and the grass begins to grow.  
Let the healing process begin.

Life is a journey, not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- March 20, 2016

The bikes are getting a brake because they are two tired -- March 20, 2016