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Monday, January 20, 2014

Plan for This Week

Here is my plan for this week.  I want to make sure I have a good loss.  I need to keep moving, for surgery’s sake.  So my plan is to continue with the Atkins shakes breakfast, lunch and snack, and then an Atkins dinner.  The difference is that this week, I will not be supplementing during the day with nuts, cheese, etc.  I can have raw veggies or dill pickles, etc. to supplement, but nothing with a lot of calories.  And I plan to drink 4 24-ounce bottles of water each day.  I should be drinking that much anyway, but usually I am drinking 2-3 on a good day.  Honestly, I like drinking the shakes and having a nice dinner.  Of all the “diet shakes” I have had, the Atkins shakes are the best.  They actually taste pretty decent.  I don’t crave them, mind you, but they don’t make me gag like a lot of diet shakes would.  And I like not having to give any thought to what I am eating for breakfast and lunch.  It’s working for me right now.
I also plan to have no sugar.  No small piece of hard candy after a shake.  No sweets on my off day.  I just need to leave them alone.  I will make a decision when the time comes whether I will make an exception for a very special occasion (like my birthday or Thanksgiving or Christmas).  One thing that has improved is my ability to leave them alone when I set my mind to it.  But not when I am eating them on a regular basis.  If I decide to eat them on my off-day, I tend to eat way too much on that day.  It is better for me to leave them alone and keep my mind closed to them as far as my day-to-day plan.  That’s just for me.  I am not saying that is what everyone needs to do.  But if I eat them, I want them all the time and a little is never enough.
Also in my plan this week (and I only decided this since I got to work today) is that if I am not in the midst of an active episode of the sciatic nerve firing, I will do a recumbent bike workout (with no resistance and a relaxed speed) each day.  The best time for this is first thing in the morning, I think.  Unless something happens during the night that sets one off (which generally has not happened when sleeping on the chaise), I am not having a problem with the sciatica first thing in the morning.  It is generally after walking around too much that I will have the problem.  Weight bearing seems to be what sets it off (aside from lying flat in the bed).  I just want to do something to get a little bit of activity.  That being said, I may not be able to do one today if I have any trouble during the day today.  But tomorrow, I will get up early enough to hopefully do a 30-minute ride (but will play it by ear when I am actually on the recumbent bike).  Something else I think I am going to try is to do a modified plank every day.  A good friend of mine, who has had back surgery, recommended that I do this to help with my core strength.  At the time he recommended it, I was not having as bad of problems as I am now.  I never got started because we were moving right then and I was going to wait until things settled down after that.  That’s when the bad back pain started.  The plan is to do a plank from the knees and hold it for 30 seconds, to start with.  Then, each week, or few days, or whatever works, add 5 seconds.  At least it is not weight bearing and does not require any bending of my back in a bad way.  I will have to try one to see how it affects me and go from there.  Core strength is very important with back pain, and in recovering from surgery.  One thing that may be a problem, though, is the shoulder and arm pain I am having right now.
I slept in the bed last night; however, I woke up with a lot of back pain (not radiating pain) at around 5:00 this morning.  I moved to the chaise and felt so much better.  I wore my neck collar last night and that seemed to help my neck and shoulder issues a lot.  So I will keep doing that every night, without fail.  I am having more headaches right now because of the flare-up with the neck.  L
Reading online about people’s experiences with a lumbar fusion is scary.  My daughter had the surgery and it was not nearly as bad as what I have read online.  I don’t know what to think.  But I have had a cervical fusion and I know what that is like.  So I am going to read about that and get the general feel of what people said about recovery.  If there is a lot of negative, I will know that people who post about it tend to be more negative than I am because, honestly, the cervical fusion was not that bad for me.  When I woke up from anesthesia, I was quite aware that I felt infinitely better.  I went back to work in less than two weeks and did fine.  I have been told I have a high pain tolerance and I think that is true.  It’s not that I didn’t have discomfort after my cervical fusion.  I did.  But it was not anything that I could not work through.  I suspect it will be that way with my lower back (although I know it will take me longer than 2 weeks before I can go back to work).  If I can be back in 4-6 weeks, that will be great.  Reading last night, I became worried that I would have to be gone so long that I would lose my job, or at least my position.  I hope the FMLA would protect me from that.  If my daughter does not get a job by then, it would be nice if she could go in as a temporary for me.  She does not have my skill level, of course, but she could help the lady who is my backup in doing some of the less skilled things so that my backup would not be as overwhelmed with having to carry my load.  Whether they would do that here, I do not know.  But at least I would have eyes and ears about what the attitude was with my absence that way.  One thing that scares me is that the lady who worked for my boss before I did (for 20 years!) wants to come back here and would do just about anything to work for him again.  One good thing is that she works for the firm that is opposing us on our big suit, so to bring her in at this point in time would not smell right and would make them a lot less likely to do that.  I really do not think they would anyway, but you tend to worry about these kinds of things when you are going to be out for an extended time and you work for the big boss.  :/
My boss came in this weekend and left a long dictation tape.  He rarely does that.  Usually he comes in and we work together.  When he dictates, he dictates with me sitting in front of him.  But I like coming in to a lot to do.  So I’m a happy camper.
I have now done some reading about recovery from cervical fusion surgery (I had a double fusion in 2011).  My conclusion:  you read a lot more negatives than positives on these boards and my experience was much more positive than most I read.  I can see that a lot of the symptoms I had for months after surgery were part of the recovery from the surgery (as opposed to the surgery not working).  Some things that I thought I was just going to have to live with have now improved.  Like the bad headaches.  I think that was more part of the recovery because they got a lot better, the further out from surgery I got.  It was hard to know because I had headaches for so long before surgery.  That is one reason I want to be really careful right now with my neck.  I was getting used to not having them all the time and this flare-up caused by sleeping in the chaise has brought them back a little bit.  But all of these things that went along with recovering from the cervical fusion let me know that what other people think are a huge deal that keeps them from going back to work, I tend to just deal with and work through them.  So I feel more optimistic about being able to get back to work in 4-6 weeks, as opposed to being off for months, with the lumbar surgery.
There are other things that make me think I need to go ahead with surgery very soon.  My legs are getting weaker.  I read some people describe it as walking through deep snow.  I have had that feeling for a long time.  Or tiring so much like I was walking uphill all the time and legs just didn’t want to move as easily as they should.  Now I have noticed that my legs are so weak, I can barely climb stairs.  To lift my body weight from one step to the next has gotten very difficult in the last few weeks.  It was not like that before because I was climbing stairs at the loft for extra exercise not that long ago.  This is not a good sign.  I think putting it off longer will bring more nerve damage.  It’s time to get this done.
2-1/2 bottles of water down.  I’ll get this one done by the time I get home, so I just have one more this evening!  Looking forward to dinner – my daughter is cooking baked chicken stuffed with pesto and cheese.  You need to try this if you are eating low carb.  Sooooo good. 
I’ve been very twinge-y and sore all day, but no bad pain so far, thank the Lord.
Dinner is done -- the pesto chicken and some roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon.  I'll let that settle a little and then have some hot chocolate.  That should fill me up sufficiently.
I've written enough for today, so will share some more pages from my motivation book tomorrow.


  1. I haven't done dictation in a few years - back in the day when I started as a legal secretary 25+ years ago, I would have a dozen tapes waiting on my ledge to do all day.

    Now the younger attorneys type everything themselves, I'll just do corrections, and my litigation boss has voice recognition software, so dictates into that. We may also go to electronic filing - pretty soon my job will be obsolete!


    1. Biz, I work for three older attorneys and none of them type for themselves and they all dictate. I am so glad because I would get bored just making corrections and mailing stuff. Of course the big boss gets most of my time. Let's don't tell him about voice recognition software, okay? But he really likes just having my presence, which is one reason he dictates person to person a lot. We are now required to electronic file in Texas. I like it. And we do a lot of filing in the office electronically. But my bosses like paper, so when they want some thing, I know where to find it quickly and I print it out. Plus, I operate as a paralegal a lot of the time, so I have those kinds of duties. I won't be obsolete for a while yet, anyway.


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