Back Where We Started

Nov - 29

Back Where We Started


After a very long hiatus from blogging, I have returned to update you on my latest travails.  Longtime readers of the blog may recall my back surgery in 2012; if not, here are some helpful links:

Back and Badder Than Ever (June 4, 2012)

Bringing It All Back Home (June 6, 2012)

Get Back (June 9, 2012)

Back In The High Life Again (June 10, 2012)

Walking Back (June 13, 2012)

10 Days Update (June 19, 2012)

It’s The Itchy and Scratchy Show (June 26, 2012)

Getting Back To Normal (July 13, 2012)

Back To Basics (December 8, 2012)


Generally speaking, my back was in pretty good shape for the first year and a half after my surgery, but I obstinately continued to coach softball, and daily bus rides combined with hitting hundreds of fungoes to my players ended up hurting my back again–by 2015 I was having flare ups, and since 2017 I would say that I’ve spent 3-4 months per year in a good deal of back pain. In January 2022 I hurt myself loading the dishwasher and despite months of physical therapy, pain injections and medicine, nothing is helping. The therapy actually seemed to exacerbate a problem at L5-S1, and now on top of considerable sciatic pain, I have very intense pins and needles all through my foot and calf.  After multiple visits to doctors, the consensus is that I need surgery to repair L4-L5 from 10 years ago and fuse it along with L5-S1. Surgery is set for Tuesday, December 6th.


I am nervous, because this is a considerably bigger operation; while 2012 was set to be a 20 minute procedure that took an hour, this will be a 6 hour operation at minimum and I will likely be in the hospital for several days. They will be removing my disks and filling the space with a bone mix that will eventually fuse into solid bone connecting my lower spine to my pelvis and installing six titanium screws and two rods to hold things in place while I heal. The bone won’t fully fuse for 12-18 months, and during that time I will have to be very careful with moving and lifting, avoiding “B.L.T.” (Bending, Lifting, Twisting).  My concerns are the same as they were a decade ago, except now my wife will need to bear the brunt of my household chores for longer than she did then. I am also worried that I will mess up like I did before and “break” myself.


Hopefully that won’t happen; in fact, my goal is to use this as a motivator to really get myself in better shape. Unfortunately standing and walking have been quite painful for several months, but walking is the best therapy to recover from lumbar fusion, and I am really excited to begin walking a LOT, which will hopefully also help other systems in my body improve their health.  We’ll see–it is going to be a LONG recovery.   I’ll keep you posted!

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14 Replies to “Back Where We Started”

  1. Gid luck, Ethan! I’ll be thinking of you and hoping upon hopes you do well and that it’s smoother than you fear and worth it in the end.

  2. I love you Ethan… stay strong and positive.
    Praying all goes as it should and you can live your life without pain and do the things you love to do.
    I’ll be calling you
    Aunt Lisa💗

  3. Ethan,
    Thanks for sharing an update. I’m sorry you facing such a challenge! I hope the procedure and recovery go well!

  4. Good luck to you in surgery. An may your recovery proceed smoothly and quickly.

    Do you get to wear a turtle shell after surgery?

    Will you need to construct a stand for your ax?

    1. Thanks, Rick. Electrics will be in their stand until March at the earliest–gonna have to work on my acoustic chops instead…

  5. Sending positive healing energy to you and offer of support to you and Courtney during your recovery. Gibson SG is fairly lightweight.
    I still recommend yukulele for early recovery.

    1. I don’t usually argue with doctors, but I question the ukulele prescription–do you have any journal articles to back up your recommendation? Thanks so much for being such a good friend!

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