Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back To Back New Adventures

I haven't done an entry in what seems like forever. A lot of things going on that have kept me occupied.
Veronica and I are going on another adventure. We are leaving on Sunday and we will be making our way to Budapest, Hungary for several days. We will travel in 1st class by train to Prague in the Czech Republic for several days before flying back home. This should be an interesting and fun filled adventure for us and of course I will be taking plenty of photos.
A couple of weeks after we return I am in store for another adventure but not one that I am looking forward to.
I have been having back issues for years now. Within the last 2 years or so my back has really got worse.
I had been getting radio frequency ablation (RFA) procedures done to deaden the nerves in my lower back to relieve the pain. After having 2 sets of those procedures done I decided to go to a neurosurgeon to check into my options for back surgery. Before going over my options with the surgeon I had a bone density test done along with bone scan.
I ended up with 4 options. Option 1 would be to keep getting the RFAs done every 6 months but due to the fact that my back was going to get worse, the RFAs were only a temporary band aid to worsening back issues. That left 3 other surgical options and the 1st and least intrusive surgery would not really help me with my situation. The 3rd option was a very invasive surgery that would require actually 2 back to back surgeries with the doctor opening me up basically the full length of my back, removing and replacing several discs, fusing some vertebrates together, putting in a long rod along the length of my back and screwing it in place, relieving the pressure on my nerves along with a few other things.
As I said...this would be a very major surgical endeavor but hopefully would take care of all of my back issues. I would lose approximately a year of my life healing and getting back to a place where I could finally enjoy my life again.
I am in no way ready for such a in depth surgery which led me to option #2. Option #2 is called L2 - L5 extreme lateral inter body fusion (also known as XLIF) with percutaneous screws. This procedure is actually the first part of the bigger back to back very invasive procedure that I called option #3.
They would do this procedure first, take me back to my room and the following morning do the rest or second part of the total procedure.
I decided to do option #2 because it isn't quite as invasive and should provide me with the long term pain relief that I am seeking. It will also address the degenerative disc issues by removing the bad discs and replacing with "new ones", putting a smaller length rod in my spine and utilize screws to keep it where it needs to be along with taking the pressure off of the nerves that have been causing my back pain.
The surgeon would do an incision on my side to reach my back but by doing this he will not have to do anything to my back muscles like he would if doing that option #3 surgery. In the option #3 surgery the surgeon would make an incision down my entire back rather than a small incision on my side. The surgeon will also be doing approximately 4 smaller incisions on each side of my back9spine0 in order to attached the rod with screws.
By doing this procedure now rather than wait until I get older, it gives me a good chance to never have to go through that bigger more intrusive surgery.
I would spend approximately 3 days in the hospital before coming home. It would take approximately 12 weeks to get myself back to being somewhat normal minus the back pain. If I work hard at it I might be able to shorten that 12 week period down a bit.
I have already given up my weightlifting and most likely won't be able to get back into it like I used to but hopefully I will be allowed to do some light lifting. I have also had to stop going on my long walks due to my chronic bursitis which is due to my body compensating for all of my back issues. This surgery will hopefully assist in clearing up that issue also.
What is odd about everything that is going on is that I used to be 5' 11" and during the Summer months around 175lbs.
With my back issues I am currently around 5' 8" tall. I have lost approximately 3 inches from my waist up.
Because of the height I have lost I am now considered overweight and my BMI went up quite a bit which means that I have had to lose a chunk of weight to get myself in the normal weight range for my new height along with getting my BMI lower.
I did get my weight down to 157lbs which is the lowest I have been in the last 4 decades but I was really counting calories but always felt super hungry. My body just isn't used to that lower weight and I can't do the exercises like I used to do in order to keep it there. It has been very tough to maintain that new weight. My goal was and has been to get down to 155lbs.
That will be a tough goal to get to but I will do my best to reach it.
Here is a video to show a portion of this procedure:
XLIF video
And for those who want a real life more in depth idea of this surgery... Real life XLIF surgery video
And here is one last video XLIF procedure
So like this blog entry title reads...I have some Back To Back New Adventures in store for pun intended

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Last Garden Harvest Except For Potatoes

Well my gardening season has come to an end. It was a very tough season this year. Made a few mistakes which cost me my corn crop but I learned some valuable lessons.
My sweet peppers plants were all but taken over by black spot although I was able to manage to harvest some peppers. Next time I plant sweet peppers I will stick with the ones that have really worked for me in the past and stay away from some of the fancier varieties that I tried this years that I did not have very good luck with. I did pretty well with my 2 tomato plants that I harvested the larger juicing tomatoes from. These are the tomatoes that I specifically got to make spaghetti sauce out of. I just recently finished with a 3rd harvest in a matter of 10 days and they are now inside to finish ripening up. I usually like to let them ripen on the vine but with the way the season has gone I did not want to take any chances with insects or birds getting to them, so I brought them in to ripen. Once they have all ripened up we will clean them up real good and put them through the juicer and then vacuum seal them and put them in the freezer for later use.
I just recently planted some Yukon Gold potatoes but those won't be ready for harvest until October and that will be it for this year.
Here are some photos from this years final tomato harvest:


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Update On The Garden

Well there isn't much left of the garden. I have 11 planter pots left with sweet pepper plants but I am not sure how much more that I might get out of them due to the fact the that Black Spot got a hold of all of them. I already cleared and cleaned out approximately 18 plant pots that were on the back deck due to the black spot along with cleaning out 4 big planter pots that had tomatoes in them. Besides the 11 sweet peppers that I have left I still have a mini garden of sorts out in oval garden area that has 3 tomato plants that are planted in the ground and approximately 8 stalks of corn. I am nor sure if the corn will produce anything since it looks like something is beginning to nibble on the leaves and stalks.
Now the tomatoes are a different subject. 2 plants are the Supersauce Hybrid tomatoes. Between these 2 plants there are roughly 80 larger sized tomatoes on them. The other tomato plant is a larger Roma style.
Below are photos of the 3 plants. The Supersauce are the larger tomatoes:

Within the next couple of weeks I will be planting my 2nd round of Yukon Gold seed potatoes which should be ready for harvest late September or early October

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