Fat Back Odyssey

As you all know, I have a bad back. I’m not sure where or how my back went bad, but it has, and so dealing with daily pain is a way of life for me. I tried the chiropractor route and got nowhere, so this time, I decided to try a new tack.

The orthopedic doctor I saw feels there are three factors at work here:

  1. I’m way, WAY overweight. My size is probably 80-90% of my problem. I’m so huge, I’ve gained about 120 pounds since I arrived in Illinois about 20 years ago. In fact, 125 pounds. Can you say, “Holy Sh!t!” Yeah, I knew you could.
  2. I’ve got a condition called spondylolisthesis of the L5 vertebra, grade II. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Along with that impressive name comes a slippage of the vertebra and subsequent pinching of the nerves which split off. See below for more details.
  3. My age. I’m almost half a century old, and yet, my wife and I continue to try and do things with our bodies like we’re in our thirties. Sometimes I lose all track of my age and get myself into trouble. I don’t lift correctly, I don’t bend right, and I didn’t do much to take care of my general health over the last, oh, say, thirty years. So I’m behind the 8-ball in that regard.

So, those are the three things which come into play with my back. There’s little we can do about it, but he did recommend a short course of physical therapy over the course of something like two weeks. Twice a week for two weeks and I would learn the exercises and then go home and do my own PT.

I’ve not decided about that one yet because I have to clear it with my boss. We’ll see.

So now, for the diagnosis of spondylolisthesis. It’s a fancy word for something which is a fairly common condition. Matter of fact, it’s probably genetic, according to my doc. He says the Eskimo tribes have rates of something like 25 or 30%. It’s a common thing for young boys in their early teens to have. (That’s when I got mine, according to the last doctor to mention it to me in something like 2001.)

The “grade II” part indicates degrees. A grade 0 indicates no displacement. Grade i is 25% slippage or less. Grade II is 25-50% slippage, and so on. Grade IV would, of course, be total displacement and there are many issues which occur with that. Things like numbness in the leg and foot, loss of bladder and/or bowel control, etc. are all common with severe slippage. A slippage as low as mine (grade II) doesn’t warrant surgery, so the only recourses I have are weight loss and physical therapy.

Now, they don’t give away those PT sessions, and I don’t have unlimited HSA funds to pay for them, so this is going to become dicey. But my loving wife and I have already adjusted our diet — and continue to do so — to try and bring ourselves to a greater understanding of the path between here and there.

We’ve also learned more about our nutritional lifestyle of choice than we ever knew before, and we thought we knew quite a bit. Turns out, there’s a lot more to know and we’re learning it. So it’s a gradual process and a learning process, and my spouse is more excited about it than she’s ever been. She absolutely glows and can’t wait to share the new things she’s learned as she delves into books which explain, for the first time in our lives, how we ended up here, and how we don’t have to feel guilty about it.

There’s a lot going on for us in this area, so I’m excited to find out what the future holds and how well this works for us.

Stay tuned!

What’s up for you this weekend?



10 thoughts on “Fat Back Odyssey

  1. Best of luck on your journey Darc. This is all more familiar to me than you know. When it seems too tough, remember the days you feel good and that it is a journey, not a race.

    Thanks, Jaymie, I very much appreciate the encouragement and the sympathy and well-wishes. πŸ™‚ God bless.

  2. Have you considered the possibility that somebody has placed a voodoo doll curse on you? Generally, when you see voodoo dolls, they always got pins in the back.
    You see, back doctors and chiropractors and such don’t like to diagnose voodoo curses because they can’t treat it with expensive treatments and stuff like that.
    Go see a voodoo witch doctor. Then maybe get some jerk chicken while you’re there.

    I’m not helping at all, am I?

    It’s always worth something when jerk chicken’s a possibility, bud. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  3. You have spondi (as my yoga training teacher referred to it), ouch. Not uncommon. A lot of ppl get this as they get older. Have to be careful with the kind of exercise you chose though.

    Weight loss is actually pretty simple in theory but hard in practice b/c modern life conspires against the things you need to do: move more, take in fewer calories and get enough sleep.

    Physical therapy though is awesome. Better than chiro’s and yoga as a start place.

    Good luck!

    Thanks, Annie! Much appreciated! My regards to Rob and the girls!

  4. Good luck! Share any food information on your blog or something. I’d love to learn more about how to lose my pounds, because I’m worried that a couple of decades down the line I might be in your situation because of my weight.

    Well, I don’t know that I’ll do that. I don’t feel like defending my diet choices to a bunch of people on the Internet who’ve bought into the diet lies of the last fifty or so years, so if you’re really interested, send me an email privately and I’ll tell you what I’m doing and how to research it yourself. And if your answer is, “Well, with school and all I don’t have time for research,” then you’re not ready to embark on a lifestyle change which is going to require a commitment of time. But I’m happy to share what I know, what I’m learning, and where I end up…just privately is all. πŸ™‚

  5. So basically your weight gain over the last 20 years is equivalent to giving a piggyback ride all day every day to me while I’m giving a piggyback ride to my mom’s overweight cat. No wonder your back hurts!

    Something like that, yeah. Only instead of a piggy back ride, you’d be hanging off the FRONT of me from my shoulders. Which would be kinky and all if you were into that and, y’know, neither of us was married to someone else, but as it is, it’s just a back pain. πŸ™‚

    It’s so easy to get there, though. I mean, gaining 6 pounds a year seems like nothing, until it starts to accumulate.
    I look forward to hearing about your healthy eating adventures. πŸ™‚

    Thank you, Spark. πŸ™‚ I really mean it, you’ve been a great source of support and encouragement. I really appreciate you.

  6. I’ve gained so much weight in the last few months my pants feel like sausage casings. My fat dog and I need to start walking.

    In all my time learning about diet and exercise, I have discovered that exercise’s impact on weight loss is minimal. To really lose weight, diet is 80% of the game. The other 20% is a combination of exercise and rest. πŸ™‚ FYI!

  7. Sounds like the orthopedic doctor was a success. Glad to hear you guys are taking such positive steps.

    Thank you sweetie. It’s baby steps, but yes, we’re trying. πŸ™‚

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