This isn't so much a Wednesday Word as it is a Wednesday Update.
Most of you are aware of my many back issues I've had over the past few years. As a reminder, I have experienced back pain to the best of my memory all of my life – not all of my adult life, but all of my life. That problem was getting progressively worse as I got older.
In 2019, at the recommendation of a physical therapist, I made a visit to a surgeon connected with the University of Maryland Medical Center. After x-rays and consultation, it was decided to perform surgery to correct the excessive spinal curvature as well as improve the spacing between some of my vertebrae. That surgery took place on November 13. And then in July of 2020, for the first time in my life, I was pain-free. That lasted through August.
But then in September I started experiencing pain once again. Without going into all the details, I suffered a collapsed disc immediately below the original surgery point. More appointments and attempts to solve the problem in a variety of other means followed. Unfortunately a second surgery was the ultimate outcome of this; but due to COVID that surgery didn't happen until August 4, 2021.
Another rehab followed. This time, however, I didn't even get to experience two months of painlessness. More x-rays, MRI's followed which showed that I developed a herniated disc immediately below the second surgical site. After more consultations I am going in for my third surgery.
This third (and hopefully final) surgery will take place on August 3 – three weeks from today. The plan is to remove my last disc and insert a cage and supporting hardware which should provide the support needed to prevent anymore collapses and/or problems. Since this is happening at the base of my spine, I am quite literally at the tail end of this.
I have put out a message to clergy colleagues in the diocese letting everyone know of what is happening and asking for supply clergy for the four Sundays in August since I will be taking all month off to recover/recuperate.
I don't normally make my health a topic of conversation, but this was the best way for me to let all of you know what was happening without having to have multiple conversations and possibly miss someone. I also wanted to give you all a heads up as to where I would be come this August.
Deacon Sue and the Pastoral Care Team, amazingly led by Dusty Graham, will be available for pastoral emergencies. Senior Warden, Bob Speelman, and Junior Warden, Deanna Soulis, will also be available to assist as needed. And as always, Melonie Orr, our fantastic Parish Administrator, will be around to help.
Thank you for your prayers and concerns, and I'm hoping that I will finally get to a place of, if not no pain, at least a dull throb.