Thursday, May 26, 2011


Lil Abner comic strip character Joe Bftlspk 

I've hit a speed bump on my gay journey but hope that I am now slowly on the mend.  About five days ago (Day 1), I woke up with a severe pain radiating down one arm, shoulder and back.  I dragged myself around that day, but by Day 2, I was competely bedridden, popping Tylenol and Robaxin like they were Jube-Jubes but they weren't helping.  I thought it was a pulled muscle.

By Day 3, the pain worsened and I had numbness in my hand and foot on the same side and realized something was seriously wrong.

My doctor came over to my house ( okay, okay... he's my neighbour and friend... Canadian doctors don't do housecalls!)   He quickly diagnosed an extremely serious disk problem in my neck and told me spinal surgery might be needed. Back story:  I've had serious osteoarthritis in my neck since the age of 34,  an after-effect of radical surgery and radiation treatments on my neck done when I was a cancer patient 25 years ago.  This latest occurrence wasn't completely unexpected.

After he left, I suddenly became overwhelmed with everything that had happened over the past five months:  coming out to my family, my marital breakdown, crushing workload at work, a million jobs to do around the house and finally the prospect of surgery and now this unrelenting 24-hour-per-day pain.  I imagined spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair or in chronic, unmanageable pain.  I imagined my gay sex life being over even before it started.  It was too much!!

At that moment, my estranged wife phoned to find out what our doctor friend said.  At the sound of her concerned voice, I broke down and started to cry uncontrollably.  I couldn't escape the pain, I couldn't drive a car, could barely was just too much!!!  My wife immediately offered to come over and help out, but I said thank you, but no.  I just could not have her here.... I just couldn't.

The kids were hanging around, gravely concerned, as they had never seen their father sobbing uncontrollably.  When I stopped crying thirty minutes later, I explained to them and to my wife (on the phone) about the situation. The kids have taken over completely the running of my household and have been waiting on me hand and foot ever since.

X-rays on Day 4 confirmed a "moderate to severe" degeneration on two vertebrae in my neck but we already knew that.  Most likely, these vertebrae were causing pressure on my spinal column or a spinal nerve, causing the relentless, excruciating pain.

My doctor friend arranged for me to see a specialist doctor on Day 5.  Since I didn't have an appointment, I spend the two hour wait lying on the waiting room floor in excruciating pain.  I spend the entire consultation curled up in a fetal position on the examining room floor, gasping with the intense pain while the doc asked his questions.  The excellent doctor prescribed the maximum possible pain relief and heavy-duty anti-inflammatory drugs (to reduce swelling of the disk).  At work, my colleagues have been working hard to ensure my replacements have everything they need to do my job.

Right now, Day 6, I am on 100% bed rest, but very comfortable and  nearly pain-free. I've had a great day, free from job worries, tucked up on the couch with my dogs, eating, buzzed on pain pills and watching DVDs.  Not a care in the world! (at least I'm trying hard to convince myself that is the case)   I am confident that the anti-inflammatory drugs are doing their job. I can feel them at work!   In fact, I've now cut back on my pain meds by 50% (I didn't like the spaced-out feeling) and still feel fine.

Next step:  an MRI on Day 7 or 8 will tell us if there is actual disk damage which will require surgery.  Otherwise, drug treatment will suffice for now.  I'm pretty sure that I won't need surgery next week, but time will tell.  
I just needed some eye-candy to look at.


  1. Oh my. That is very scary and I think I would have reacted exactly as you did. I hope that you are on the mend. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that surgery is not required.

    Healing hugs from Boston,

    PS - good choice in eye-candy. I too can feel its healing affects.

  2. Send you a little prayer!
    Wish you the best!

  3. Holy crap. That's not good. But you know that already!

    Sending positive thoughts your way that you'll be up and back to "normal" very soon.

  4. anne marie in phillyMay 26, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    awwwwwwwwwww, buddybear! {{{{{gentle hugs}}}}} and smooches! you poor thing; get better soon; and you REALLY needed a good cry - that in itself can go a long way in easing the pain.

    I personally would like to see the rest of the eye candy (sans undies)!

    please keep us posted on your health; we love you!

  5. So sorry to hear about your physical condition. I know the pain can be excruciating. I am glad the anti-nflammatories are working; the sooner the better for your MRI. Best of luck. I know that any kind of spinal surgery is something to avoided, if at all possible. Relax as best you can, and let your loving children tend to you. It sounds like work will wait and all is good to that end. I agree with anne marie in that, although it did not cause your condition, the release of stress can do wonderful things for your body.

    Take Care and Speedy Recovery!

  6. Sending you positive thoughts. Get well soon.
    I hope and pray that everything will turn out ok.

  7. I hope you feel better soon.

  8. I'm really sorry about this Buddy. I knew I was probably holding onto your head too tightly the other night in my fantasies. I'll ease up next time and allow you more control.

    What? You've come to expect innuendo in my comments by now, haven't you?

    I'm really shocked and saddened to read about how much pain you are in. I sure hope you don't need surgery. My hubby has problems with his neck too. He's always uncomfortable. I hope at least you are getting the rest you need. Take care my friend.

  9. Thank you everyone for your support! Yes, I feel that I am slowly on the mend. I am down to one slow-release pain pill per day and still am comfortable. The challenge now is for me to "do nothing" and lie down for at least another week or more; I'm very restless especially when I'm starting to feel better.

    I didn't blog about it, but I know the incredible stress I've been under and a few specific events on "the evening before" did contribute to the flare-up of my neck problem.

    I was diagnosed with arthritis of the spine (in my neck) 12 - 15 years ago, so this sort of occurrence was something that I was expecting (and dreading) for a long time. I know it is something I will be dealing with when I'm older as well. I doubt I will be needing surgery now, but most likely will in the future.

    These sorts of health problems allow me to be truly appreciative of the times when I am healthy and pain-free. It is the main reason that I am generally such a happy person.

  10. Jeez BB - best of luck my friend!

  11. I'll have you in my prayer tonight. Take good care of yourself.

  12. So sorry for your pain. A real pain in the neck. I suffered a similar disk problem last year and, while it was nowhere near the severity you describe, it was painful and debilitating. I was in a neck brace and taking the anti-inflammatories (wow, that's a high I hadn't experienced before, and like you, I cut back as soon as I could). They really helped and I healed up in a few weeks.

    Here's hoping you mend up, too, and without needing surgery!

  13. Oh, my God. I so admire your willingness and ability to share this experience with your on-line friends. I could practically feel the pain (apologies to Bill Clinton)

  14. What a hell of a bummer! Reading experiences like yours always makes one appreciate one's own health more. I do hope things turn out much better than expected - and that no drastic treatment, surgical or otherwise, is needed. Without wanting to sound flippant, hoping that you'll be posting soon to say how the pains have alleviated enough to allow you to function pretty well near normally. (And you so YOUNG too!) Thinking of you, pal.

  15. Good thing you didn't hook-up with the 23 y/o hottie - you would've been paralyzed! LOL

    I hope you feel better soon - sending good vibes your way!

  16. Hey BuddyBear... Hope you feel better soon!

  17. Take care of yourself and give thanks for your family who step in with loving concern.

  18. Sending good thoughts your way. Take it slow. Doctors in the lower 48 don't do housecalls either. Hope you're feeling better soon. Take care.

  19. Hey BB, I'm praying for you. And thank goodness for good docs, meds and your family. Good health is truly a great blessing that we take for granted too often, although the older I get the more I do get reminded. Hugs.

  20. Sending healing thoughts your way from Florida. Hang in there Buddy!

  21. Thanks again for all your concern. You are all fantastic! And Jim (@10:51 AM) I read your blog... amazing story. Why don't you e-mail me?

  22. Oh buddy, i am so sorry that you're going through this and I'm too far away to be of any help. Just do everything you can to stay pain free and relaxed and don't go be a stupid man trying to do things you can't do while you're injured, you here me? You're gay now, you get to eat bon bons and watch soaps and feel good about it.

  23. I am sorry to be so late in the line of people wishing you well. I am glad though to see how much love and support you have. Good!

  24. I've been away and now it's been a few days since this post. I hope you're still pain-free.

    Any news about the MRIs?

  25. Two Lives: I'm feeling quite comfortable as long as I don't do anything but lie on the couch... so I think I'm getting better, slowly.

    Plan to phone the hospital and my doc first thing Monday morning to 'rattle their cage' about the MRI, as to when I'm scheduled.

  26. Wow, that was more detail than you gave me. I am so glad the kids are stepping up to the plate. One small quibble. I think you should have let the wife help. Would have made her feel good. AND shown her that you love her enough to let her help. Sorry maybe I shouldn't have said that. But I remember how it was when my wife was in pain and the feeling I couldn't do anything. It makes the person feel better to help. And I think she would have appreciatedit. Sorry if I seem to direct.

  27. Anonymous: Have we e-mailed each other? I'm not sure who you are. Don't worry about being direct. The problem is that my wife is very aggressive, so bossy and controlling that she would have taken over completely, but not always making the best choices. In my weakened state, I just wouldn't have had to energy or the inclination to argue with her.


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