Under the Knife Again

By Greg W. Gilstrap

The primary mission of this blog has always been related to encouraging individuals fighting significant health challenges to consider taking up hobbies or practices — like photography — that produce joy and elevate one’s spirit while moving their minds away from their ailments. Along the way, photoremedy.me has created opportunities to share the fruits/photos of what can be created when one exercises this, for lack of a better term, alternative medicine approach.

I captured this gull as he floated above Ireland’s River Shannon.

I’ve always known that photoremedy alone was not the only answer to my struggles with what I am now told is “failed back syndrome.” I’ve had two brutal surgical efforts to rebuild my lower back following a broken vertebrae. Both of those efforts failed to produce meaningful results, and are now complicated by significant psoriatic arthritis and four degenerated discs in my neck. Lying in bed, sitting, and standing all tend to rapidly elevate pain levels; so, I spend most of my day changing positions and fidgeting like I did back in grade school. That’s a lot of fidgeting. Just ask my Facebook friend, and former Randolph Elementary School principal, Mr. Walters. Yes, Mr. Walters rightfully introduced me to his paddle on more than one occasion.

This combination of conditions has left me rather unbalanced, as I have lost significant motor skills in both my left leg and right arm.

In an attempt to reduce pain levels and fight declining functionality, I will head back to the surgeon’s table this week for a four-to-five hour surgery in which a two-surgeon-led medical team will implant two neurostimulators that will deliver 32 electrodes to both my lumbar and cervical spine. The new ‘gear’ is intended to sharply reduce pain and restore significant functionality. I’ll need to limit movement for six-to-eight weeks, but I hope to be able to blog again soon. I’ll keep y’all posted on my progress.

St. Jude Medical photos

My son, Will, says I will be a “cyborg” when we add the new electrical elements to all of the titanium I already have in my back. If it kicks my recovery into full swing, then he can call me anything he wants.

Personally, I am rather fond of “Iron Man.”

4 thoughts on “Under the Knife Again

  1. Greg,
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your surgery is successful and your recovery speedy. Here’s to a better, healthier new year!

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