Back From Our Latest Adventures And Now Time To Get Serious

Veronica and I returned home from our most recent adventures which took us to Budapest and then Prague. We also took a train to get from one city to the other.
This was Veronica's first train ride and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
As usual I took lots of photos on this trip and I will post them as soon as I get a chance to go through and edit them.
It might take me a while until they get posted because I am gearing up for my back surgery which is only 8 days away...October 5th. Something that must be done but also something I am not looking forward to at all.
The day before yesterday Veronica and I headed back up to Herndon, VA so that we could go through our final interview the Customs and Border Control folks in order to secure our Global Entry status. Besides our final brief interview, we had to bring in some paperwork, have our fingerprints taken electronically and photos taken. Before the evening was finished we had already received confirmation that our Global Entry status had been approved and we were each assigned new Known Traveler Numbers. Our Global Entry cards should arrive via mail within a 2 weeks period.
By having our Global Entry status it will allow us to be processed much quicker at the airports upon our returning to the U.S. from our international travels.
Between now and the date of my surgery I will be tying up all of the loose ends as much as possible since it will be a bit until I am back to my "normal" self.

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

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