Cauda Equina Syndrome – Unforeseen relief

I really didn't want to believe it...

But today it is for certain.

Last week, I had increased problems with my balance.  Now that really helps when I've also got a torn peroneal tendon on the right ankle!  Anyway, Thursday evening my Cauda Equina Syndrome upped the ante - I got increased pain in my right foot/ankle (nerve pain, muscle cramps, imaginary pain - all of it).

ps21v14So imagine my surprise when late on Saturday, just before bedtime, the balance returned along with greatly decreased pain!!  I went to bed thinking it to be a fluke.  I didn't mention it to my wife because I thought it was just one of those transitory things we get when we suffer with CES.

Well Sunday morning, the pain was still very low.  We went on to church and came home.  I waited for the pain to increase...   After returning home from church Sunday evening I was very hopeful that a permanent change had occurred, but still I waited.

On waking this morning, my feet felt like I could run on them again if not for the tendon.  Of course my legs wouldn't let me run anyway, but it had now been over 36 hours - long enough to declare that my foot pain has dramatically changed for the better.  All of this just after the 1 year mark.  In fact, as I post this, tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of my decompression surgery.


I've also regain some feeling in the back (hamstring) area of my left leg - that's new feeling too!  So progress continues.   God has a wonderful sense of timing - just when you think you need encouragement in one area, He gives you encouragement in another.   And that encouragement reaches out and stretches itself right into the area you need it to go.  So that is a double blessing!  Thank you, Lord!

Continuing the walk...




Back Story – CES | Month 3 with Cauda Equina Syndrome

Welcome to Back Story, Part 3.  

These posts will be catching up from when I was stricken with Cauda Equina Syndrome until starting my blog at Month 4.  

Apr 17th, 2013, Home:

From me - my rehabilitation continues and I am seeing improvement, which is welcome, but not always pleasant. As I start getting feeling back in an area, it is usually pain that I feel. I've had a lot of pain related to a very tight piriformis muscle in my right hip. I've had exercises and stretches for it, which have helped some. As some other pains have subsided, it is time to concentrate on the biggest pain I feel right now and that is at the top of the hip on the back side. It comes from a knotted up, top end of the piriformis.

Monday at Physical Therapy, my therapist took about 5 minutes to do a deep muscle massage of that spot. It "hurt good" the whole time. A few minutes after the massage, the pain decreased to nothing. I had much better mobility, no pain from walking or sitting! Monday and the first 1/2 of Tuesday were great. Then, of course, the muscle started tightening again. Thursday I have my next PT session. Kim is going with me and my therapist, Carrie, is going to show her where and what to do. During the relief from this pain, I need very little pain medication. Now that is a goal I'm looking for!

I'm working 1/2 time right now, and with the PT and still rebuilding stamina, that works good for me. I will stay at 1/2 - 3/4 time a few more weeks then try to make it back to full time.

Feeling recovered in the last week:

Right outside thigh (parts) - result is that I feel the tight, inflamed tendon there now
Bottoms of feet - I can now feel when the floor is cool
Top of right foot - anything that touches it feels like I'm being stung by a wasp
Both calves - I can now feel the cramps they have been having

Still numb/no feeling:

Backside and groin areas
Thighs - back side, upper 4 inches only, both legs
Lower legs - I can tell touch to these areas, no pain in shins or sides, calves cramping though
Feet & Ankles - still mostly numb

Still hard to balance - I can stand without assistance for 60 - 90 seconds, I can reach a short distance (in certain directions only) for objects

Sitting - still tough to sit for long. Some chairs I can last an hour, others 10 minutes. And how long I can bear to sit in which chairs changes from day to day.

Walking (with walker) - pain from the piriformis usually limits me to walking around 400 feet at a time with a long rest in between

Walking (with cane) - I can now walk short distances (<50 feet) with a cane. Very tiring to do so, so I don't do it much. Therapist recommends 3 short cane walks a day.

Walking (unassisted) - I can walk very slowly, make dead sure of my balance for each step, for a distance of 5 - 8 feet. This is new.

Summary - progress being made, a long way to go yet. Keep on praying for Kim and me as there are still other issues from the cauda equina syndrome which are likely to never get back to normal and affect everyday life. These are the toughest as there is no treatment available for these issues, it is just up to the Lord whether the nerve damage heals or not.

Our hopes and faith are in God's hands. Praise be to God for His blessings!

Apr 26th, NovaCare Rehabilitation, Westerville, OH:

From me - Well today is a sad day of sorts. It is my physical therapist's last day here in Ohio. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy student who has been doing her final internship at NovaCare in Westerville. After today, she will be finished and headed back to Buffalo, NY to graduate. Congratulations, Carrie!

NovaCare had a goodbye party for her yesterday with a Shrek theme. Carrie was dressed up as Donkey. As for me, the following picture will confirm what some of you have thought about me for a long time....




Apr 20th, 2013, Home:

From me - Bummer... but good, I hope. The front of my right thigh feels like it is itching. Of course when I scratch it, I don't feel a thing. But I'm hopeful that this is an indicator of feeling coming back to that area. However, nothing escapes the fact that it is a total bummer having a body part itch and not be able to get relief from scratching it 🙂

And with that, we come to the end of the back story.  Continue with Month 4>>>

Back Story – CES | Month 2 with Cauda Equina Syndrome

Welcome to Back Story.  

These posts will be catching up from when I was stricken with Cauda Equina Syndrome until starting my blog at Month 4.  

Mar 16th, Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant, Columbus, OH:

From me -  After having changed jobs last year, I had planned for a reunion of my former staff.  We had planned it for March 16th and just because I couldn't walk, was zonked on pain pills, and needed diapers was no reason to postpone it.  We met for lunch and had a great time!

sm_The whole group

Mar 18th, 2013, Home:

From my wife - We ordered a rollator for David which has a basket (his "purse" of sorts--with wipes, diapers, meds, the whole 9 yards) and a bidet to attach to our toilet seat. NOW he can really experience independence as much as possible. The therapy we're doing at the house keeps him stretched and a bit more limber by the day, although it seems like a very tall mountain to climb. His dr. has modified his medicines, and hopefully his ankle swelling will recede the more he can walk. We are so blessed and fortunate to know that folks keep us in prayer. Thank you deeply!

Mar 19th, 2013, Home:

From my wife - David began his outpatient (out of house) physical therapy this morning. His sessions will be about an hour twice a week for now in Westerville (about 20 min away). The location is fairly close to his workplace so when he gets back to work, they'll be handy and have extended hours. He fared well today and has been given more components in his routine to do twice or 3 x a day, with printout, and he has been "feeling the stretches" today more so than usual. We continue keeping his outcome in prayer and are confident that the Father will heal His way, His time, for His glory!

Mar 27th, 2013, NovaCare Rehabilitation, Westerville, OH:

From me - I'm 4 sessions into my outpatient therapy and making good progress. I plan on returning to work next Monday. I still must use the walker to walk, but I can walk on my own for a few steps before I am unable to maintain my balance. My legs are strong enough, it is not being able to feel what my body is doing on my feet (balance) that is the big drawback at this point. I still am numb from about 3 inches below my waist down to mid-thigh and then tingly-numb and very tender from knees on down to the toes (except the shins - I have normal feeling there.) I am better able to predict the need for a bathroom stop, so maybe soon the incontinence will be a thing of the past. It is a big part of the challenge right now. I go back to the surgeon on Thursday for my first follow up with him. And I am now able to drive again.

Thank you to all who have been praying for us. It has definitely been a time of struggle for us in the physical realm and all of your support has been both special and appreciated by us. We love you all!

>>>> Month 3

Back Story – CES | Month 1 with Cauda Equina Syndrome

Welcome to Back Story.  

These posts will be catching up from when I was stricken with Cauda Equina Syndrome until starting my blog at Month 4.  So join me as we look back at the beginning...

Feb 25th, 2013, Riverside Methodist Hospital, day of my decompression surgery:

From my wife, Kim - David was taken down to pre op at 5:30 this morning. Surgery was at 7:30. Out by 9:30. All went well, but he still has residual tingling in his feet. He has not moved much all day; pain is at a 2 (MUCH better than before). Tomorrow he sees the phys therapist and IF he can walk he can go home they say. But he has not had a bm, still has a catheter, and they were concerned with his kidneys. So he had an ultrasound of them. Maybe tomorrow we will know more. Thanks so much for all the prayers! He continues to bless us with such a movement of encouragement we are awestruck. Thanks so very much!

Feb 28th, 2013, Riverside Methodist Hospital:

From me - Today should be my last in the medical side of the hospital. The plan is for me to start intensive rehab therapy on an inpatient basis here at the hospital. I don't have much pain, but there is still numbness and tingling from my hips to toes. My right side is weaker than the left, but am able to get up on my feet and walk 50+ feet (I had not walked since 2/11, so it feels good, even if it is challenging and added to the pain.)

No one knows how long for the rehab yet... They say anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Of course, I could go home today and rehab there, but the house isn't suited to it and I still need a good bit of help that Kim is unable to provide. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts during this time. Now the tough part begins, and we still need the prayers. We love you all!

Mar 2nd, 2013, Acute Inpatiant Rehab Center, Riverside Methodist Hospital:

Update from Kim on David - His occupational and physical therapy sessions are productive; his lower back across hips still grieve him but nowhere near as badly as before; hamstrings are way too tight and require stretching exercises as does his core; 6 sessions today dispersed thruout the morning and afternoon hours; he got a good sleep last night and hopes to tonite as well. His foot stability is the biggest obstacle now. He uses walker & special toilet chair but is able to get in and out of bed ok, and walk halfway around the rehab unit on 6th floor now. This all takes time. He is still catheterized and will be well into next week or longer depending on some bladder control test on Wednesday. His bowels are loosening almost too much now !! ;O We so appreciate everyone praying so fervently and consistently for recovery. Even with trials of your own, you still pray. THAT is LOVE for ya! Big hugs to all.

Mar 3rd, 2013, Acute Inpatiant Rehab Center, Riverside Methodist Hospital:

From me - The staff tells me I will be finished at the rehab unit on Wed (6th)! I just hope that my week left knee doesn't slow that down.

Mar 3rd, 2013, Home:

From Kim - Well, it's good to have David home again! Now for the disciplining of each of us to make sure he gets the PT exercises done (some he does, some I need to do TO/for him). He is still incontinent in both areas, so we're keeping the Depends folks in business 🙂

Thanks so much for the prayers, and we thank God for His answering in His way, in His time. David's not out of the woods yet with his walking/stability though. We'll keep y'all posted.

Mar 12th, 2013:

My first month with Cauda Equina Syndrome ends ...  Month 2>>>>