Nothing worked.  Not physical therapy, heavy duty pain killers, therapeutic massages, manipulation by an osteopath, cortisone shots or countless core exercises.  After several years of sporadic lower back pain and excruciating sciatica, which has grown increasingly more chronic, reality finally dawned: Val, it’s time to do something about your aching back.

So….. on March 14, I’m going to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for a fusion of L4/5, a laminectomy and an excision of a spinal cyst.  

Am I happy about this?  Hell, no! Am I worried, concerned, scared and a little overwhelmed? You bet. Am I convinced this operation will eliminate all pain so I can once again stroll my beloved beach with Mr. Wonderful, play golf with my pals and frolic with my grands?  I’m hopeful and guardedly optimistic.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. But 85% of my doctor’s patients experience life without pain after this surgery. They return to normal. They regain what they’ve lost. I’ll take those odds any day.

Preparing for this operation has been an education. I have just about memorized a pamphlet my doctor gave me — LUMBAR SPINAL SURGERY — which features nasty looking diagrams of bone spurs and facet joints, along with with cheery illustrations of smiling patients lying in bed. I can’t help but wonder if those photos were taken before, or after, the knife.

I’ve become an expert on portable raised potty seats. My knitting needles are hibernating. Instead I’m working with a three-foot-long clawed Nifty Nabber to help me “grasp items beyond my reach.” I’ve perfected the log-roll to get up out of bed.

And, as of this blog, I’ll be taking a hiatus for a while.  Wandering With Val will return. I shall be back. I’m just not sure when. 

But hopefully, as the crocus and daffodils in my front garden rise to the sun and prove that spring has sprung, I too will shed these waning winter blues to dance around the May pole.