Resetting the pain scale

The common question after my countless surgeries (I’ve had 7) or ablations (I’ve had 17 ablations of thoracic/lumbar nerves T5-L1) is “Are you pain-free yet?” Those who ask always have the best intentions, and I almost feel like I am letting them down when I say “no”. The answer is always no. Since my chronic pain, and many of yours, is forever, I suggest resetting the pain scale. The pain-free ship sailed many years ago. … Continue reading

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Chronic pain roller coaster

Chronic pain can strike anyone. I never imagined myself as a person who would visit not one, but two pain clinics and have two surgeons on speed dial. The seven-year anniversary of the bike accident that started this all is in a week. Over the years, I have had six chest wall surgeries to repair extensive damage to my rib cage, along with numerous other procedures meant to curtail the incessant rib and abdominal pain. … Continue reading

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Rehabbing for pain management

Back in November I wrote about my body renovation project, a veritable injury rehab situation. In that post, I outlined the history of my rib surgeries and various other procedures. Little did I know at that time that my project would be delayed by several months and cost a lot more money. I suppose all renovation projects are subject to such hiccups. When I had surgery in February, I wasn’t naïve enough to think everything … Continue reading

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The body renovation project

I watch home improvement shows. Not out of a desire or likelihood of doing any sort of renovations on my own home; no, I don’t have any plans for that. I am more like a voyeur, appreciating the niceties and waiting for the catastrophes, because, in the world of home improvements, there is inevitably some sort of misadventure. It takes a while to choose the right workers and then there are disagreements with the very … Continue reading

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Aliens, intercostal neuralgia, rib surgery: a chest wall story

A few months after my 2009 bike accident, I started to notice some swelling on my side below my 11th rib. Time passed and nobody could determine the cause of this painful protrusion. I dubbed it The Alien. I was certain that at some point a hand would push its way through my skin and some kind of strange creature would pop out. Since my life is not a Sci-fi movie, nothing so interesting happened. … Continue reading

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Exercise and endorphins

Among the long list of benefits of sports and exercise are the opportunity to test oneself on a regular basis, improved health, a social outlet, a general sense of well-being, goal setting, and improvement in self-esteem. I would be remiss to omit endorphins from this inventory. Indeed, an endorphin surge might even top the list. Exercise and endorphins seem to go hand in hand. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, “Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid … Continue reading

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Injuries suck

I often tell my athletes that not every race can be about obtaining a personal best. Some races are merely stepping stones to other races, because nothing gives us the information we need about how our bodies will handle racing in the way that doing a race does. With that in mind, I toed the line yesterday at the Colorado Half Marathon in Ft. Collins. I had one objective and that was to get a … Continue reading

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Post-surgery update

Recovery from surgery is kicking my ass. I realize that is a rhetorical statement, but, it is. It is harder than any week of training combined with the absolute worst Ironman! The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Indeed, when I left Boulder almost two weeks ago, I had no idea I would come home with a fresh new scar on my abdomen. The reason I waited so long to have surgery on my … Continue reading

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7 steps to dealing with chronic pain

Do you remember the book Flowers for Algernon? It is the story of a man with an IQ below 70 who undergoes an operation which triples his IQ. Over time, though, his IQ starts to drop and returns to its original level. I read the book way back in junior high, but I still vividly recall feeling compassion for this man who suffered so much. I cannot help but think about this story with regards … Continue reading

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Keep moving

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written an update about my rib health. Since my accident in 2009, I have been very forthright about the treatments, pain, and how the injury has affected my general well-being. With all that I have been through, the last 6 months have undeniably been the hardest; writing about the continued pain, the struggles I have undergone to alleviate the pain, and what the constant nagging pain has done … Continue reading

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