2018: good riddance

As 2018 draws to a close and I look back on it I can’t help but think it has been the worst year of my life. Obviously I’m in a very privileged position but the problems started early on and kept on coming.

First of all, I had resolved at the end of 2017 that this would be the year I “took care of” the ruptured disc in my neck that was impinging on the nerve root. So I spent the first couple months obsessing about whether to have ACDF surgery ( vertebrae fusion) or CDR (replace bad disc with artificial one). So I was already pretty anxious as the year started. Regarding the disc, I ended up with another MRI and a doctor informing me that surgery was only 50% effective in fixing numbness in the fingers, and was really only recommended for cases of extreme pain. So I guess it was good news – doing nothing is the right course of action.

Then in March we had to put our dog Chloe to sleep. I wrote a couple posts about this already, but when it happened it sent me into a depression unlike any I had experienced before.

On Easter, I was playing football at my brother in law’s house and the next day I started feeling a strange pain in my chest. It bounced all around and was very faint. I kept it to myself for a couple weeks because we had a vacation coming up and I didn’t want to ruin that with a bunch of health stuff looming, but it was on my mind the entire trip. When we got home I told my wife about it and went to my doctor. He couldn’t find anything wrong but sent me for a cardio stress test and an EKG. those didn’t find anything wrong either. I went to a cardiologist and had two more stress tests (treadmill) and none found anything wrong.

At some point around April/May I also developed a weird twitch. I’d be sitting at my desk with my hands on my keyboard or mouse and my finger would press a button even though I hadn’t meant to. It wasn’t just my fingers, sometimes it was my arm, or leg (I was awakened a couple times when my leg twitched overnight). I sent back to the doctor who said I should cut out caffeine, but that had no effect. He said it was most likely Benign Fasciculation Syndrome and I should just try to ignore it.

Things started turning around when we got our new dog Maisy, though the day we got her I happened to develop an abscess on my back and ended up having to have a surgeon drain it, and that took a couple weeks to heal., during which time it was very painful to sit down.

Then of course, over July 4th weekend I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon. It’s now over 5 months later and while I can mostly walk normally, it’s far from back to normal and I have rather significant pain when walking. I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week since September and it’s helped a lot but it’s not magic. On my PT days I work from home, which also lets my leg rest, but the decrease in my exercise has led to gaining a bunch of weight.

Of course, there have been a lot of positive things this year. Mostly seeing my son grow from a little boy to a young man and seeing him succeed on school. But overall this has been a terrible year and I will be glad to put it behind me.

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