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You’re probably well aware of my ongoing back and legs issues and the search for a solution. A week after I arrived home from Switzerland in a lot of pain I received a letter from the Edinburgh Spire hospital accepting the referral from my local doctor. I called them in the morning and that night I saw a consultant who set up an MRI scan which was organised for the next morning. The scan happened on the Tuesday and on Saturday I went in again to see my consultant Dr D.
When I saw the words ‘degenerative damage’ on the screen of his PC which had images of my spine in detailed display I knew I wasn’t going to be getting good news.As a layman I recognised that what I was seeing wasn’t a healthy specimen.
I took in as much as I could from the medical spiel and recognised that what I was hearing had already been mentioned by my Dutch consultants in April. Bulging discs, trapped nerves, bone growths, protruding vertebrae plus a host of other issues were discussed.
In short I was given 3 options which were quickly thinned down to the only one that offered me a relatively long term solution. Physio and other remedies were ruled out as were more injections as it had gone too far and it required a ‘mechanical’ intervention. I’d been told in Holland that this would eventually be the case as injections could only provide me with short term relief and they were only masking the real issues..
And so I am now looking at a small surgical operation in November ( if I go down the private medical route) with 6-8 weeks rehabilitation and lots of post op physio. Dr D has told me that this procedure will take all the pain from my legs and vastly alleviate my spine issues. It involves cutting away bone to allow the disc and nerves space and thus removing all the pressure that is giving me this hellish sciatica and knee problems. It won’t deal with all my back issues and I may need to have vertebrae fused together in the future but for now this is a welcome first step to having my movement returned and getting rid of the increasing pain.
I’m annoyed that I had an MRI scan done on the NHS a year ago when I first went to the doctors on the behest of the Dutch team. Whoever looked at those September 2015 scans must have seen the damage back then as all this didn’t happen in a year. I didn’t receive any contact from the NHS about those scans and if I hadn’t elected to take a private health route I could still be waiting on that consultation. I managed to arrange 2 consultations,an MRI scan and get a diagnosis in the space of 7 days but it’s not been cheap.
I am one of the lucky people who have the ability to pay for a private option and I genuinely feel for people out there who are trapped in waiting lists and unable to move forward and receive treatments because they can’t afford it.
If I continue down the private route and take the operation in November it’s going to be a hit and a half but I have to look at the long term and without remedial treatment I will probably be unable to tour again.
The prospect of being able to walk properly again and to get a decent night’s sleep without pain has no financial value as far as I am concerned and in all probability this means ironically that I may have to put my retirement plans back for at least a year.
It shouldn’t affect the album writing too much but I will lose a chunk of time at the end of the year. I’ve been told I will, be able to walk out of hospital next day but will have to take it very easy for at least the first 6 weeks. I’m just glad I have Simone here as I don’t think it would be easy to cope with the rehabilitation and recovery on my own. Thankfully my lady is a trained doctor’s assistant and I know she will take great care of me.
I knew on Saturday that there was a high probability that a surgical operation would be the only answer so I wasn’t particularly shocked at the news. I’m just glad there’s a way forward now.
I’m being positive and looking forward to getting down the gym, riding a bike, building up these leg and back muscles and getting back to some level of fitness again. Hillwalking is something else I’ve been unable to do for a couple of years but the grail of grails is the possibility of playing 5 a side football again.
one step at a time, one step at a time