Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Other than Golf

"Jesus!" I thought.  As my doctor chundered professional advice on my current neck issue:

"Perhaps you should seek to find one of those bicycles that you sit back on, because your neck probably won't allow much more of the standard positioning, not if you want to be pain free or fend off rapid and inevitable surgery".

It was with restraint that I presented him with a vision that did not include riding a friggin recumbent on the Katy.  I love my Doc, but like other general practitioners, sports injuries require a certain presumption of recovery;  an optimistic presumption of activity continuance; a return to things "kind of better" for the aging, beat up, adventure athlete.    

I had forgotten that I had gotten an MRI back in 2007 and frankly, didn't take in to account what it meant longer term. I was under the impression that it was nothing; a couple therapy sessions, some stretching exercises, no big deal.  It got a little better, but I have had increasing neck pain for a few years, come to think of it, my neck never really got any better.  I was just better at keeping my strength at higher levels.  I never saw the reading until today. 

And I have always had problems with my neck. Ever since a spearing hit in a high school football game my junior year.  I remember it well, but sucked it up like most of us did back then.  The "no spearing rule" had just come out, and I honestly got pulled out of the game for ramming my head into somebody else's...head.  It was fine with me, getting tossed out of the game. I was hurt. I remember feeling like I got hit by lightning, a jolt!  I had another injury 25 years later, falling off my bike busting up my shoulder pretty good in a MTB race (I still have the plates and screws in there).  There were other injuries: ribs, shoulder separations, clavicles, wrists, fingers.  What the hell was I thinking? 

Livin baby, wouldn't change it, no regrets! --until you rise from your bed each morning.

At 50, man, I am really feeling it.  And since I have limited my activity for the past 8 weeks, I am really feeling it.  Quit moving, and start feeling the pain if you have had prior injuries, folks.  This has got to change.

So when he pulled up yesteryear's MRI to get a clearer picture on what lies next, he chose not to do another one yet.  Not until he could treat the severity of the prognosis that I had 5 years ago, a moderate degeneration of the C5, 6, 7--the situation from 5 years ago and presumption of whats likely happening today. I didn't really want to cough up the co-pay, to be quite honest.  Nor do I really want to see what's changed.  When you have numbness, it is a pretty good wake up call.

My hand, arm and shoulder have been numb since labor day, this just after a particular delicious Yard Sale on Roller Coaster (Castlewood Park), while trying to get a way from fellow MTBer, Mike Landers.  I should have charged him admission to see a "fail" like that.  I had been training for a solid 10 weeks.  I was fit.  This happens from time to time in competitive mountain biking.  Fit trumps skill sometimes. It was just stupid.  I was able to shake off the tingling for a while.  It later turned to chronic pain.

So a bulging disc and degeneration requires getting the inflammation under control with some steroid goodness.  I have taken more ibuprofen than I am comfortable with. I am quite happy to be taking the steroid, as I have been in pain and the whole ordeal has deteriorated my motivation towards health and fitness.  Not to mention the fact that ever time I drive, or type, or ride, or kneel over, I feel pain.

Fears:  I cannot rely on good diet alone to look and feel awesome.  For every missed day of exercise, there is likely also the need to refrain from a proportionate amount food and... (I know) malt beverage.  While some might think that is good, I really don't like being disciplined in this area. There is a logical calculation for caloric intake in there somewhere, and it sucks.  MTBers understand the reward better than others.

Solutions:  Find something else to rock at (music doesn't count). I have had my way with a lot of this stuff.  To be honest, I probably won't quit doing it anyway. But, bottom line is that I have always wanted to do a couple of significant other things, like hikes, a portaging in some back country lake stuff, some kind of funky mind blowing pilgrimage. Maybe I will beg for my Hobbie back from Chris Ploch and finish what I started on the Missouri River. I started a book on Buddhism today.  Looking at robes...

Tomorrow I am going on an all day hike, some solitude, by myself, to figure out what next I can be great at (other than golf).  Find another mountain top perhaps, ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.

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