Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 11

Today's the 11th day that Bryant has been unable to sit down.  Literally.

Two years after he became a pilot he went to the doctor once for some back pain and hasn't had to revisit the issue again until about 4 months ago.  All of his trips are international so an eight to twelve hour flight is the norm for him.  On his last several trips, after one of these long legs, he would experience pain and stiffness in his lower back that would only subside after icing it for the remainder of the day.

Since these episodes starting occurring more frequently, he decided to start physical therapy a couple of weeks ago.  After just three appointments, he was already feeling better and back to running a little bit each day.   This same week he had to leave for a trip and by the end of the second day his back began hurting again.  To date, this has been the worst and longest episode he has had.  It started on the 12th of this month and he has not been able to sit down since.

Because he was on a trip, it was quite an ordeal getting him the medicine he needed and a flight home.  It's pretty hard to fly home commercially when you can't sit down!  He stood up for most of the three hour flight home since the shorter flights don't offer the Business Elite lie flat seats.  However, we are thankful he was not overseas as an international flight would have been miserable for him!  He has only two positions these days - standing up or lying flat on his back.  Nothing in between.

Since he's been home, we've been to two physical therapy appointments and the PT has given him some stretching exercises to target his lower back.  He is on some anti-inflammatory drugs which are slowly helping to increase his mobility.  Friday morning, he had an MRI which showed the disc is moderately herniated - which explains the excruciating pain he experienced.  Wednesday he has an appointment with a neurosurgeon at Semmes Murphy.  This appointment should bring some clarification and confirm if he is on the right track with his PT schedule.

Everything we have heard so far is that he will not need surgery at this point.  Back surgery is usually the last option and much can be reversed through PT.  His condition is very common in pilots due to the nature of their job - the sitting in cramped spaces for hours and the effects from the pressure difference.

Everyone has been very helpful with shared stories and experiences.  Even though there are probably a million different issues one can have with the back, there seems to be a camaraderie among fellow back pain sufferers.  Bryant has received lots of advice and understanding- all of which are appreciated.  If only the answer was truly as simple as, "strengthen your core."

So here we are, 11 days and counting and 11 pounds lighter (collectively).  Pain killers haven't done much for Bryant's appetite and I guess my missing two can be chalked up as sympathy pounds.  I'm sure mine will find their way back let's say on... Friday!

Looking on the bright side, Bryant will be home for quite awhile.  He won't be flying for the rest of the year as he allows some time for the physical therapy to make some progress.  We appreciate your prayers so far and covet them for the days ahead.

5 comments:

  1. That is horrible! I didn't realize he couldn't even sit down. We will be praying for a quick recovery, for sure!

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  2. did you look into myofascial release? so sorry for him!

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  3. wow, melissa! i had no idea he couldnt sit down! praying for you guys.

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  4. Thanks, girls! Lee, we asked the physical therapist about myofascial release and it appears to be more muscle related where Bryant has a specific disc issue which needs P.T. to heal. You'll have to tell me more about it sometime.

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  5. Bless HIS HEART! I will be praying for you guys. Keep us posted, Mel!

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