Let's talk about something other than my back today ... Ha! Just kidding! My back occupies 99% of my brain space right now. The other 1% allows me to do the basic tasks required for survival, but that's about it.
So, here we are. It has been four weeks since my back officially went bad again. For the past week, the sciatica has been better. And a few days ago, after I discovered that Ambien can cause muscle pain and began tapering off it, the upper back pain improved. So I started to feel that most dangerous of emotions: hope. Hope that maybe things would improve on their own, and this whole reherniation scare would turn out to have been overblown. I that my decision to wait on surgery would mean avoiding surgery altogether. I was starting to move, ever so tentatively, into recovery mode. I was trying to focus on other things. I was feeling positive about the future. Yesterday, I was even testing out the smallest bit of exercise, thinking maybe I'd be hiking this summer after all.
And then today I woke up and the sciatica was worse, and my hope was crushed again. Jesus, I can't live like this. I keep trying to tell myself to lighten up, that it could be worse, that this isn't the end of the world. And all those things are true. But the reality is, this situation fucking sucks. To not be able to rely on my body in any meaningful way. To not be able to do basic things: take a bike ride with my family, chaperone my daughter's field trip, plant flowers in my yard. To be facing a decision about whether to have a second (risky) back surgery in less than six months. And to have things vacillating wildly from day to day, yo-yoing me between hope and despair. It just plain sucks.
So here is the new, new plan. Tomorrow, one more steroid injection. Give it some time to see if it helps. Next week, a third opinion from another surgeon. Guess I have to wait to see what he says before I get any further into the plan. But I think that if the sciatic pain continues at this level or gets worse, I will schedule some kind of surgery. God, please let this nightmare be over soon.