Post Back Surgery Rides

On Monday, November 16th, I had back surgery. It was not major surgery, just a trimming of a protruding disc and arthritic spike on a vertabrae that were teaming up to put pressure on my L5 nerve. That had been a problem for many years, and had progressed to the point that I really needed this surgery.

Four days after the surgery, I was back on the bike. I rode 12 miles on the Xstream. Back when I had lung surgery, I found that the more upright seating position on my long wheelbase bike of the time put less pressure on the surgery incision on my back, and so was more comfortable. I figured that would apply to this surgery as well. But I found that every bump in the road hurt my back, and wasn’t happy with the pain level I experienced on that ride.

The next morning, as I got ready to ride again, a cold front had come through and there were 40 mph winds. Because of the pain of the previous day’s ride, and the fact that the Xstream, with its fairing, doesn’t handle 40 mph winds very well, I decided to ride the F5 instead. The F5′s more reclined seat puts more weight on my back, but spreads it out all along my back. I rode 18 miles on this Saturday ride, and was much more comfortable on the ride. I decided that the F5 would be my ride of choice until my back is much better. The next day, I rode 15 miles, then took a day off the bike on Monday.

Yesterday I did a 22 mile ride out to County Road 2938, and this afternoon, did my regular 30 mile loop out to Purtis Creek State Park. I’m going to try and get in a few miles tomorrow morning before the Thanksgiving gathering, but there is rain and cold forecast for the rest of the week, so it’s not clear whether or not I’ll get another ride in this month. I have 327 miles total for November. Not much, but considering I had back surgery in the middle of the month, I’ll take it.

4 days after surgery, on the Xstream.

50 Mile State Highway 19 Loop

The rain was just ending when I got up this morning, so I waited a few hours for things to dry out before taking off on the F5. I rode my 50 mile loop out to State Highway 19, and did an extra loop through Purtis Creek State Park to end up with 54 miles for the day. Combined with Tuesday’s 30 mile ride and Thursday’s 36 mile ride, that gives me 120 miles for the week. I rode 560 miles in October, a pretty good monthly total for me. I’ve ridden 230 miles so far in November, but my riding mileage is about to take a hit, as I’ll be off the bike for a bit.

I’m having back surgery tomorrow morning. It’s not major surgery (though using the phrases “back surgery” and “not serious” in the same sentence is hard, when talking about yourself). I’ve had cratered discs in my lower back for over 20 years. The one between the L4 and L5 vertebra, combined with an arthritic spike on L5, is pinching a nerve, and this surgery is to alleviate that. Hopefully, I won’t be off the bike too long. I’ve been taking etodolac for many years to control the inflammation in my back, but using etodolac for that many years is too dangerous for kidneys, so it’s time for me to get off of it once and for all. This may not be my final surgery in that quest.

All of those years of etodolac have also masked what was happening to other joints in my body. I did not realize how bad my shoulders were getting until I needed surgery on my left shoulder, and ruptured the bicep on my right. My left knee, which has been a source of pain during winter rides for the last three years or so in spite of the etodolac, has started popping and cracking, and sometimes buckling when I make a wrong move. I suspect it won’t be too many years before I need a knee replacement. Ah, the joys of aging. But, I do think that dealing with this repair of body parts due to overuse and abuse is still better than dealing with the health issues that a sedentary lifestyle brings. We’ll see how I do with the surgery.

Today’s route.