Plan B? Nah, This is Definitely Plan C…

Well, damn.

I’ve seen more than enough MRIs of the lower spine to know that the one I was looking at had a pretty screwed up L5-S1 disc.  The problem was that the image on the screen was, for the third time, of my own back.

This is just the latest chapter of a losing 13 year battle with this disc, including two previous back surgeries, and I was fresh out of options.  So, in mid December, I’m having spinal fusion surgery.

In the span of an hour, my plans for the next six months to a year have changed drastically. Instead of debuting my brilliant little boy, Des, I’m going to instead be inventing Rube Goldberg-like devices to be able to tie my own shoelaces.  The cool (and disturbing) part is that I’ll soon have titanium parts: screws, rods and bionic thing-a-ma-doodles.  You can bet the first time I run post surgery I’ll be making ‘na-na-na-na6 Million Dollar Man sound effects.  The not so cool part is that I won’t be able to even shuffle around outside with the Merlie Boys for a couple months, and if all goes well, not back to running at all until sometime next summer.  Gah.  I haven’t gone three days without working Des in a year.   Mr. Neurosurgeon, I think you’ve officially taken away my birthday.

How did I get here?  Well, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been told “you’re too young to have xxx back surgery…”, (as if that fixes things) I could buy you lunch.  But since I’m a few years shy of 40…

Some would hazard a guess that it came from the years of hanging my arse over the side of a boat, my unofficial major in college.

That’s my said arse in front, in the blue lifejacket. San Diego Thistle Midwinters, January, 1997.

Others may speculate it came from hauling 1/3 of my (then) bodyweight across the countryside for weeks on end and spending days bent over digging as my means of employment with the St. Joe Hotshots?

A few years after my hotshot days, I guess the crew didn’t stop digging <ahem>to take pictures.

Or years later, dragging almost that much weight around for fun?

Mmmm….red rock canyons!  How I long to have red grit in my ears again!

Or maybe I’ve just been too stubborn to slow down combined with a bad draw in the joint lottery?  Whatever.

If you’ve read this blog before or know me peronally, you might think I lean towards a little ‘too’ positive (at least where agility is concerned and after I’ve had my coffee).  Well, now you know why.  Every time I’ve stepped to the line in the three years since my last surgery I’ve known two things:  to cherish each and every run with my amazing teammate, and that each day that my body carries me around the course is a gift.  Life is too short, too good and running Merlies too much fun to let this slow me down permanently.  So let’s screw this problem down (literally), and get on with things!  With luck, Des’s debut will only be delayed a few months, and I’ll be running harder and faster than ever come summer.  Because if you’ve seen the DesMan lately you’ll understand why that’s gonna be a requirement!

I have a few weeks left before my surgery, so I’m putting my time and mobility to good use.  I’m aiming to get Des to full height on his dogwalk, and his channel weave poles closed.  If we don’t make it, that’s okay, but goals are good.  Stay tuned for video progress!

I’ll apologize now, in the coming months, I may be posting a little more about surgery and recovery than about agility.  But I’ve learned there’s that there’s a huge lack of positive stories about surgery and a return to athletic pursuits on the internet to help others facing the same situation.  So I plan on documenting mine.  Because I’m determined that I’ll be back out there Running Happy as soon as the doc says it’s safe to do so.

Thanks, C for finding this, and you and G for getting this picture! It’s Dunc’s mantra!

It’s been a while since I was a professional dirt thrower, but some of the lessons learned on the line become ingrained for life.  Hotshots have a pretty straightforward mentality on tough assignments. Here’s the PG-13 rated version:

“The hill is steep.  So the heck what.  Quit your bitching and get going”.

I know this isn’t going to be a walk in the park.  But I’m going to get going, and keep going.


16 thoughts on “Plan B? Nah, This is Definitely Plan C…

  1. Well put Hope! And as a fellow agility pal with titanium parts, I can say that yes, the road is hard, but if anyone can do it, you can!!!
    If you ever need to vent, I’m your gal. : ) I just concluded my third round of PT in the last two years, and figured out that I’ve spent 11 out of the last 24 months in physical therapy. Goals are my motivation (yes, mostly agility) and are what keep me going.
    Let me know if I can ever help you out in any way, and know that I’m pulling for you!!! : )

  2. you’ve entered my sons Hall of Fame for even mentioning Rube Goldberg! If you make cool like contraptions, you must post the videos! Sending good thoughts for the surgery ahead!

    • Thanks, Nancy. And I’m pleased I rate a Hall of Fame mention from your very talented son! I’ll do my best to invent something that takes 5 or more moves before doing anything useful…

  3. Glad to be in a picture with you, but sorry to hear about the surgery. Will be there with you (electronically) for positive thoughts and support. You can do this, you and your bionic body will be better than ever.

  4. Steph, I was hoping you’d see that, considering it’s your butt on the rail right next to mine! I adore those memories…all but the one of taking a swim right in front of the clubhouse. 🙂 And thanks, having e-friends to type at will be a lifesaver!

  5. You have never been one to back down from a difficult situation…, in fact I’m not really sure you understand what “difficult” really means. Life has thrown you a wind shift. Tack and head for the line!

  6. Hope, you are full of the grit needed to take this on and have a goal of running again. I know you will do great and I hope I can be of help in getting back on your feet.

  7. Hope-
    Indy, Eowyn and I wish you quick success at integrating your new bionic parts into your DesMan training plans. We’re looking forward to you and Des burning up the courses next summer. If there is anything I can do to help let me know.

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