Category Archives: Updates

Going Under for the Third Time, and Regrouping

Yes, a bizarre phrasing for a title, but there’s an explanation for it. Keep reading to find out how yesterday’s meeting with our lawyer ties to my 6th grade graduation party in Northern California, AND the lessons taken from that connection.

The Actual Meeting:

The meeting yesterday morning went as I worried it might. We weren’t shot down, BUT the lawyer was STILL unwilling to commit to anything yet. He didn’t stay long either, which was also expected. His main purpose was to introduce us to the contractor he was using to do the home inspection. After that, I walked the inspector through the house and showed him everything we and other hired experts had found.

Getting back to the lawyer however, he said he can’t make any decisions until he sees the report from his inspector, AND he still insists that there’s missing paperwork from the original home inspection company. Primarily in the form of a signed contract.

More on the trip to the inspection company’s office in a minute.

So, yes, despite telling the lawyer multiple times we’re hanging on to financial life by a thread, he was non-committal. On one hand, it just plain pisses me off. On the other hand, and looking at the world through the other party’s eyes, attorneys have to under-promise and try to over-deliver. They get sued for malpractice and trashed online by most people for any perceived lack of perfect results. “It looks like you MIGHT have a case, IF…” gets turned into “You said we had a case (even though the IF never came to pass) and I’m going to sue you!”. So it’s yet another example of where the greedy and self-entitled have made life miserable for the rest of us.

So, (again) yes, I understand his perspective and need for caution here. None the less, that does nothing to resolve our short term issues. Likewise, the potential long term victory doesn’t mean anything if we don’t survive the short term disaster.

Lessons, Regrouping…

Here’s where we get to that tie-in to a sixth grade graduation party decades ago…

I kept my cool, but I was quite fed up at the point the lawyer left the meeting. After a few minutes though, a cold calm hit me and I realized if we’re going to get out of this mess it MAY (hell, probably will) fall upon us to do it ourselves.

Hell, half of the problem thus far is that we’ve gone against our better judgment and trusted “experts” instead. We let a realtor tell us about buyer legal protections and area conditions instead of researching. We let that same realtor give us horrible contract advice when we should have known better. We trusted a home inspector’s word over our own eyes, etc…

On the way home after the home inspector was done, the graduation party comparison hit me. My sixth grade graduation was a (swimming) pool party at a rather modest resort in the area. I went back to the pool area for some reason (I can’t remember exactly why) during the time food was being served in another area. I got shoved into the deep end of the pool by somebody who had snuck up behind me. Hard. Right into the dead center of the deep end.

Harmless prank right? It would have been IF I could swim back then. I had flip flops on also, which act exactly the opposite of flippers if you’ve ever tried to swim with them on.

I came up three times, gasping for air and yelling for help. Third time going down, I knew my air was running out and “this is how I’m going to die?” ran through my mind. That same previously mentioned calm, cold, steely determination hit me, and I kicked off the flip flops and managed to fight my way back to the surface and dog paddle to the edge of the pool.

I survived, but only because I got absolute determination to fight my way out of it and accepted that nobody else was going to save me.

For those who are wondering, nobody was there when I finally got to the edge. Everybody else had been in another area (indoors IIRC) eating, and the one girl who later confessed to me had ran off and left me. The prank I can forgive. She didn’t know. It took a good while to let go of the fact she didn’t grab a life preserver ring or that silly pole for rescuing swimmers though.

Instead she ran off, knowing I was in trouble but more concerned with covering up her mistake.

End of that rant though. The similarities did strike me. We’re figuratively drowning now, and it sure as hell looks as nobody is going to help us. No life guard then, apparently no life guard now.

and Resolutions:

IF I was feeling a little more spiritual at the moment, I might do same naval gazing and speculate if the whole experience today, and my seeing a connection to WAY back then was some sort of spiritual message from my subconscious, higher self, the Divine, etc… Maybe it was. Right now, I’m more worried about resolving the mess though.

After a long talk between ourselves, we decided we could struggle through ONE month of double payments (rent and mortgage) before it took too big a toll on our dwindling savings.

We also decided, after reading context clues from the lawyer, and some feedback from the inspector that it SEEMS like we have a good case. It MAY even be a matter of how many people we can sue as opposed to IF we can sue anyone. The home inspector said, for example, that when he does this kind of work for the lawyer that he normally spends four hours trying to find anything the lawyer can use in court.

That also tells me the lawyer has plenty of experience with this kind of case.

At any rate, the inspector left our place in two hours with dozens of pictures and notes, and just shaking his head at some of the things he saw. Good for us or bad? Hard to say. It definitely means the house is a disaster area, which works in our favor. It could also mean that a judge or jury could decide we should have seen it all ahead of time and it’s thusly all on us.

Getting back to that one month though… We decided that we’ll give the lawyer two weeks to at least present a planned map forward. No expectations of a guaranteed win. Life doesn’t work that way. Without a battle plan though, we have to take things into our own hands.

We’re exploring a handful of options. Trying to turn the mortgage company and their army of lawyers against all involved is one option. An absolutely MASSIVE insurance claim is another. How much would be covered is a huge question however. Lastly there’s just bankrupting out of the house and forcing the mortgage company to deal with it all. That means years of renting and fighting hard to rebuild our finances, but we’d be going in with eyes open and knowing it’s better than living in a house full of asbestos and radon with leaning walls and a collapsing roof.

The only thing I know for sure is we aren’t going down without a fight.

And Then There Was That “Missing” Inspection Paperwork…

Later that afternoon, we went to the inspection company’s office. We told them a story about a computer hard drive crash and asked for a copy of our file so we’d have all our test results to show a future buyer what we’d found and repaired. A necessary deception even though I dislike deceptions in general. The idea was to avoid getting them looking too closely at receipts or actual signed documents, as well as not tip our hand of potential legal action.

We got a folder full of printed out paperwork. No receipts and no signed contract though. No record of any payments in our bank account either. That tells me one of two things:

Either they’re complete screw ups whose oversight caused them to overlook the signed contract that covers their rear in the case of this kind of screw up, OR… There’s some legitimate deep and dirty collusion going on between our realtor, the home inspection company and others involved here.

That last bit may seem like a reach, but there are numerous other pieces of admittedly circumstantial evidence that all point that way. Proof? No. Enough to cause suspicion that something is rotten in Denmark? Yep. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

But then again, we do live in interesting times, don’t we?

Nothing to do but continue to Follow the Evidence, and keep pushing to get people to look at it. Come, Watson. The game is afoot!

The House War Goes On…

So yeah… Not much posting the last week. Things are still pretty overwhelming here. Every time we think we’ve hit rock bottom, something else turns up wrong with the house we never should have bought.

It’s like a BAD reboot of the movie “The Money Pit”, except it’s so over the top nobody would find the story believable.

So let’s see… It started after closing when we FINALLY got the seller out, and were able to do the final walk through that we SHOULD have been allowed to do before closing.

The electrical was left ungrounded despite a contractual obligation to bring it up to code:

And once there were no longer boxes and crap blocking them, we discovered holes in the cinderblock walls:

We found windows that were installed without being properly sealed, the worst hidden by ivy:

We can’t even find a contractor that will look at the windows either. If it’s not a $15,000 full replacement job, they can’t be bothered. We did get an electrician to come out and look at the outlets and grounding issue however. When they did, this happened:

That’s Vermiculite ‘insulation’ pouring out of the wall through the electrical outlet’s box. More on that later. Right now, the biggest electrical company in Chattanooga, that even handles major industrial work, doesn’t want to touch this house.

Given the trouble with the outlets, we peeled back the wood paneling in the den and found TERMITES! In an all brick house mind you.

I got up into the attic and found that the home inspector lied his arse off about the condition of the roof. The rafter beams aren’t even flush against the crown beam of the roof:

Note the weathered look of the plywood decking on the right side vs the newer look on the left side also. Oh and those boards aren’t painted with any kind of wood stain. Nobody knows what it is yet, but the folks that have looked at it don’t think it’s black mold. You can also see wiring left hanging loose randomly, oh and the elephant in the picture; the crown support that’s supposed to be vertical is crooked as hell.

The roof itself has rotting decking, and a few rafters that need to be replaced as well, and it’s sagging in multiple spots:

The section around the chimney has actually gotten worse just in the month we’ve had the house. Why? The foundation is falling in everywhere. I already sort of covered that in my “Follow the Evidence” posts. This post is already getting REALLY graphic intense too. Suffice to to say that checking the house with a laser level didn’t find a level room in the house. Some walls were not only unlevel, they are leaning also.

We’re looking at $50,000 to $60,000 or higher to fix the foundations and walls. That will involve tearing up all the floors to add supports to the interior walls. So we’ll need to install new flooring afterwards too.

So another $10,000 to $20,000 for flooring on top of the $60,000 for the foundation and $15,000 for the walls. We haven’t even touched the improvements done without permits also… Things like the gas water heater plugged into an overhead light fixture’s socket:

THAT is why you want all work to have the legally required permits.

What doesn’t have a permit? All the windows except 1 were replaced (and left unsealed and without trim), a new side door was put in (without properly reinforcing the door way, leading to the accelerated roof collapsing), the new instant hot water heater, electrical rewiring of the kitchen, a completely renovated bathroom, a new electrical breaker box (sitting right on top of an outlet), new electrical and plumbing for the relocated clothes washer and dryer. Probably a few other things I’m forgetting right now as well.

So, then comes the kicker, part 1… Weeks later, we finally get our radon test results back…

We’re sitting at 3.13x the EPA maximum sort of safe limit for radon gas. Per other sites, that means we have a 1 in 30 chance of getting lung or some other cancer.

We also have an asbestos inspector come out and gather samples for testing. Long story short there, the flooring tile that I showed in my previous post is 90% likely to be asbestos.

Note how level the floor is also.

That vermiculite ‘insulation’ that I mentioned up towards the top of this post? Turns out that almost certainly contains asbestos as well. The primary (ie almost exclusive) mine location for it in the US up until… 1990 I think I read, had the vermiculite contaminated with asbestos.

The ceiling tiles and bottom most layer of attic insulation MIGHT also be asbestos. The technician that gathered the samples was a bit more optimistic about them.

Combine all of that with a dozen other issues I mentioned, like ant and roach infestations, and the utilities for the two neighbors behind us cut through our yard, and kind of close to the house (undisclosed easements), which in turn prevents us from doing anything like adding a garage without having to relocate the neighbors’ underground utilities, and the house is a freaking mess. We’re looking at a good $100,000 to $150,000 to make the house right, on a house valued at $250,000 (and is really only worth the land it’s sitting on).

It could even be more depending up how much asbestos abatement is needed.

A New Blogging Topic:

All of that leads me to a decision here… I’m going to start a new blog topic or series here on avoiding getting burned the way we did. I’ve learned FAR more than I wanted to about home inspections, building codes, etc… and it’s time to pass that on.

The sad reality is that you often can’t trust your realtor or home inspector to look out for you. Your realtor is all too often focused only on closing the sale and moving on to their other clients, especially if you’re under $400,000 in home value. Too many home inspectors are more interested in keeping their referral business from the buyer’s and seller’s agents to be thorough also. They won’t risk blowing up a deal to save your butt. The standard contract from the international inspector’s association includes a hold harmless clause in their contracts too, no matter how bad a job they did.

So yes, lots of new info coming your way soon.

She Didn’t Make It

I mentioned in my “Month from Hell” post that on top of everything else, we had a really sick cat on our hands.

If you look closely, you can see she was bloated around her mid section, but insanely thin around her hips and “waist”

After Banfield passed us off immediately to a pet emergency center (after telling us for ages she was just overweight), and we got jerked around by that pet hospital for a week and $1500, we took her to another pet ER. They did surgery and cleaned out what turned out to be some sort of a massive infection in her mid section. The Internal Medicine vet and the Surgeon had never seen anything quite like it.

After a day recovering in the pet hospital, she came home with us. She seemed to be slowly getting better despite not eating or drinking much at first. We took her with us to the new house today so we could get some work done while still keeping an eye on her.

New space, so (particularly being an indoor only cat) she was a bit nervous, but seemed to be adjusting, and enjoying the attention. We packed her up in her carrier to take her back to the current (rental) house, and when we opened the carrier, she was dead. 😥😭😟

We had her ten years… adopted her probably a little earlier than she should have been put up for adoption, given how small she was. She was almost all of what got me through many of the bad days I’ve had over the years. $7000 total spent (which REALLY hurt our house repair budget) and all we got with her was two days.

I miss my baby kitty. I’ve cried off and on all night. I want to scream but nothing will come out. The worst part is I can’t stop wondering if she’d still be alive if we mistrusted Banfield sooner or at least hadn’t taken her on the trip today. 😫 I don’t know if what happened was that bounce back phenomenon where a dying person or pet seems to recover temporarily, long enough to sort of say good bye, or we did something that killed her.

I’ve been miserable to the point of not being able to post (and I’ve had numerous topics lined up ready to go) or reply much for almost two months. Now this…

Life has been nothing but one giant shit sandwich since we began the move out here.

R.I.P. Chloe. There are NO words for how much you’ll be missed…

So, M$ Outlook Actually Taught Me Something Yesterday

I was in the middle of an email with my uber small writing circle, and misspelled “Epilogue”. The spellchecker in Outlook automatically throws up suggestions before you can even do a correct yourself, and “Apologue” came up as a suggestion.

I’d never heard of the word, so I had to search it out of morbid curiosity:

So yes, an allegory or parable. The word is obscure enough nowadays that I’m not certain if I’d use it in writing… Perhaps if a character was fairly erudite and known for their vocabulary.

Still nice to learn something new however. 🙂

Another Quick Personal Update:

There’s precious little to report over the past couple of days, BUT I wanted to let readers know that my back is “back” to normal, heh. After a trip to the chiropractor yesterday, I slept for about 12 hours and feel fine now.

The Chiropractor didn’t feel confident making a diagnosis on the situation. He’d only say that with the nerves running through the spine controlling so much, and multiple areas of my back being a problem, it could be a combination of factors (ie multiple parts of my back out of alignment.).

It makes sense. We all want easy answers; X is caused by Y. Life is rarely that simple though. Take cancer for example: My own suspicion based on reading is that it has multiple contributors. Excessive sugar consumption, pollution / toxins, stress’s effects on the immune system, etc… No reason the back problem couldn’t be a “Twist A this way, pinch B that way and knock C out of whack” kind of situation. I will admit it’s annoying though, because without being able to identify the cause, there’s no easy way to prevent or fix it.

All I can do is double down on the known good practices (stretching, diet, etc…) and hope that keeps things good. Thankfully this situation has been really rare to start with.

In other news, there’s our 1994 Ford F150 pick-up truck.

It developed a fuel leak in the engine compartment. Turns out that the fuel rail (metal fuel line that brings the gas to the injectors) has sprung a leak. $800 to cut out the bad section of rail and clamp in a high pressure hose as a bridge. Why THAT route? Because apparently there’s no way to get an actual replacement part anymore.

THAT blew me away and I did my own checking online. Sure, it’s a 27 year old vehicle (doesn’t look it, does it? 🙂 ), BUT it’s also the best selling vehicle in the US for decades running, and it’s 5.0L engine is the most common variant.

I think the problem here is that the fuel rail is one of those parts that should theoretically last forever, so there’s been little call to manufacture replacement parts. It’s stainless steel after and more than thick enough to handle the 30 to 40 PSI of pressure a fuel injection system delivers.

Something really odd happened here for sure.

Help; Have You Ever Heard of This?

This one especially for any Chiropractors or similar medical professionals.

I’ve been trying to get back into the groove of things here, but I’ve hit a physical problem that’s all but stopped me in my tracks. This is NOT the first time it’s happened either although it’s thankfully rare. The situation is this:

I have this Ultra-weird thing that goes on occasionally with my back.  It’ll go out of alignment in a sort of subtle way (in that it doesn’t cause pain), but my energy is literally all but non-existent.  I can’t stay awake more than 4 hours when it happens.  The really odd part is that I can only sleep for 4 or so hours at a time also.


None of my past chiropractors have ever heard of anything like it either.  If I could figure out exactly what’s happening, I might be able to come up with some sort of stretch or something that undoes it.  The closest I’ve got to a clue is that I *think* it’s somewhere in my mid back, like at the bottom of my shoulder blades.  I google it though and all I get is crap for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

This ain’t it, and the way my body reacts and only will let me sleep 4 hours at a time also, it’s almost as if some nerve is getting pinched in a way that’s over taxing my adrenal gland.  That’s just speculation though, based on being fine for the first hour or so after I wake up from those 4 hours of sleep.

Funny thing too… Before this and few other things appeared, I used to really wonder about those spinal charts in the chiropractor offices that map out how the nerves at each vertebrae control various bodily functions.

Looking at that chart, I’d say it’s *possibly* something in the C4-C5 area (sore throat also lately) or the T9. It bothers me that even the chiropractors I’ve talked to seem lost about this. I know it’s spinal though. I feel an almost immediate change in energy level when things fall back into place.

Where Do You Draw The Line?

Yes, I’ve been away for a few days here, but trying to at least answer followed posts. I’ve been dealing with the fallout of yet another battle with my mother. I’ve tried for years to get along with her, and when she gave me her wedding (ring) set, I’d hoped we’d truly rounded a corner in a lifetime long shitty relationship.

Image from depedkto12.blogspot.com

This time around, it was over my spinal problems and how I’m supposedly not doing anything to contribute to the household here. I’ve shown the woman my first MRI report from years back, tried to explain it over and over for almost a decade, and she refuses to accept any of it. At best, I should just got get surgery because I have insurance. As if it’s that simple.

After dropping hints repeatedly, trying to explain the problem and it’s side effects, etc… I finally had enough after our last phone call. I snapped and sent her a fairly strongly worded email saying I was sick of it, and if she spent not even half the time she did researching my grandfather’s alzheimers, she’d know what I’ve been going through. Also that I was sick of her efforts to bully me and destroy my self respect.

Her response was that “maybe we shouldn’t talk anymore since she always seems to piss me off”. Typical emotional manipulation and playing the victim card. If she’d listened the countless other times I tried to explain it all, it never would have hit the point it did.

I shouldn’t be surprised. She reacts poorly to any criticism. I’ve cut her out of my life for years at a time on two previous occasions too. This is the woman who ripped into me verbally if I brought home a B and had my first step dad beat me for Cs while I was in school. When I went to college, I was supposed to take double a full time load and work full time at a “real” job. I got crucified for any little mistake to the point I went from a major extrovert in elementary school to an isolationist level introvert from about the fourth grade on.

Oh yes, and I was told I was too much of a wimp to go take martial arts so I could learn to defend myself from all the bullies that I attracted. Belts in 6 styles later (Shou Shu Chi, Tae Kwon Do, American Sport Karate, Parker Kenpo, Tracy Kenpo and Wing Chun), I guess she can kiss my ass on that one.

Never got any credit for it either after I’d achieved it.

At this point, I want to just tell her “Fine, kiss off!”.

All the self doubt she beat into me over the years always seems to factor into situations like this though. *I* should be doing more, I should do something different, word things better, be more understanding.

She’ll quickly point out this verbal abuse goes back generations also and blame her behavior on that. It’s as close as she comes to taking responsibility. Otherwise she just blames me for not tolerating it.

I’ve worked hard to grow the last few years. Longer than that really, but it’s been a snowball; slowly picking up momentum and mass. Every time I start to do better, she seems to want to throw a boulder into my calm pond. I’m at a breaking point here, or rather the relationship is.

So, yeah… When is enough enough? Because where I’m sitting right now:

Spring Has Sprung

Well, actually it’s pretty overcast here today and supposed to rain later, but the temperatures are nicer, and the flowers are starting to bloom. I had no idea we even had daffodils in our backyard. I just walked out there a few days ago and there they were:

Spinal Decompression Treatment; 6 Months Later

I got asked a very legitimate question a little while ago regarding if I thought my spinal decompression treatment was worth it. Given that I’m still having issues with my back, *I* consider it a reasonable question anyway. 🙂

The very short answer is YES.

The detailed answer, with all the wheres and whys takes a little explaining however.

First, let me start with the obvious caveat that lawyers have none the less made mandatory anymore; your medical professional is the best person to advise you if ANY form of treatment is suitable for you Specifically.

Likewise everything I’m going to write here comes from a layperson. A moderately well read layperson who has put the advice given to personal use and seen benefits, but I am NOT a licensed health care professional in any form. Everybody’s physiology and biochemistry is a bit different too, so results may vary.

A Little Background:

Yes, I am still having troubles, but they’re largely focused on my lower back at this point. The area that I had decompression on was my neck or cervical spine area.

My neck was worse off, which is why the doctor decided to try it first. The degeneration there caused all manner of problems. I had sleep issues, severe headaches that were a mix of extreme tension headaches and migraines, brain fog and trouble focusing, and probably a dozen other issues, including a Parkinson’s-like tremor in my left arm. All that from pinched nerves in my neck caused by the spinal degeneration. My neck was at stage 3 spinal degeneration per the diagram below.

My lower back / lumbar region, on the other hand was at phase 2.

I had the headaches since the mid 1990s also. Since there was no real neck pain to accompany them and the other symptoms, I had NO idea for years that it was actually a spinal issue. Flair ups were bad enough and I was scared enough of addiction to opioid pain killers that I was taking 8 extra strength Advil pills at a time. If I didn’t have a constitution like Charlie Sheen’s, I probably would not have a stomach or liver left at this point. DO NOT do what I did there.

The real breakthrough came about 9 or 10 years ago. I was sitting at the PC, suffering through another severe headache when I heard something on the balcony of our apartment (probably just a bird or the neighbor’s cat). I turned my head to the left, and my neck popped so loud it sounded like a gunshot going off. My pain almost instantly went from an 11 on a 1 to 10 scale down to a 2, and a zero within minutes.

Over the following years, we tried multiple treatment options. Chiropractic treatment was variable. My first chiropractor actually tore a disc in my neck! The one after that was much better, but could only hold the situation at bay pain-wise. Acupuncture did wonders for the pain itself but nothing to fix the actual degeneration either.

By the time I was considering the spinal decompression, my MRI scans showed I was getting close to the point of either surgery or letting the bones fuse themselves together.

Side Note: You can see that process in the diagram above. it’s the body’s answer to protecting itself when it can’t actually heal the compressed disc(s) on it’s own. The vertebrae will literally grow out towards each other and try to fuse together.

Surgery, as I pointed out in previous posts, is expensive and has a very high fail rate over time. Decompression is $4000 vs anywhere from $100,000 and frequently more for surgery that fails regularly, and typically transfers the strain to other parts of the spine. I also saw enough benefit from the earlier alternative medicine that I had legitimate reason to believe decompression could work.

So, LONG story short, I was in nearly 25 year, long-term bad shape and out of options when I tried decompression. It still helped me.

I’ve never told that whole story in 3+ years of time here because I try to avoid personal drama online. It’s toxic and it focuses on the problem instead of moving forward. In this case though, it’s important to understand how bad off I was before treatment.

The Right Doctor Makes All the Difference:

The reason the lower back pain is still there and there are a few minor ongoing neck issues is that I chose the wrong doctor. He was very hands-off, letting his office staff run the computerized automatic decompression table, didn’t communicate well, etc…

We also got off on the wrong foot when we did my initial test treatment to see how I’d respond. The treatment did OK for my neck but he refused to look at my lower back that day, and sent me home in so much lower back pain that I could barely get in and out of the Mustang. I verbally lit him up when I showed up for the next treatment and told him if he did that again, I’d cancel treatments, get a refund for the balance and trash him on every review site I could find.

I didn’t have a treatment problem after that, but needless to say, we were politely cold to each other from then on. My original neck treatment pack was 24 treatments with a review of progress at that point and possible continuation for the full normal package of 36 (12 extra treatments).

He also just gave me the vibe of somebody more interested in dollars than patient well-being, but that is only a personal opinion.

So second long story short, assuming you have options in choice, is to find a doctor you feel comfortable with, will answer questions, and gives the vibe of caring as opposed to wishing you’d hurry up so they can be off to something else. In the case of the greater Nashville area, I had at least 4 other clinics I could have looked into beyond the local one.

My actual progress, combined with my dislike of the doctor meant I never even went back in for the re-evaluation or possible lower back treatment.

The Process Will NOT Be Fun, At First

I wrote about this in my earlier posts. I had quite a bit of subdermal scar tissue along my spine at the neck. Normally this kind of scar tissue only forms as a result of surgery and other “invasive” incidents or procedures. It DOES happen otherwise though, and the longer term your injury is, the more likely the scar tissue is there, or at least fibrous tissue that VERY closely resembles surface scar tissue. In the case of spine problems, the tissue will or may form to try to protect and reinforce the area around a damaged or compressed disc.

Even if you don’t have any subdermal ‘scar’ tissue, keep in mind that you’re still stretching muscles, tissue, etc… that have been constricted and tight for a while. Discs will try to expand to their natural shape also, and nerves will shift. It’s all going to hurt.

With all the scar tissue that broke loose in my neck, I was miserable for the first week. I lived with a cold pack on my neck. I could feel the difference in the type of pain though, and a reduction in the secondary issues I was dealing with. No brain fog, muscle ache pain vs severe migraine pain, etc… The cold packs really did help also and are important for fighting inflammation caused by the treatment.

About half way through the treatments, the pain was minimal, and I was “Hell yeah! let’s keep the ball rolling!”. By treatment 24, my neck felt like it did when I was 20.

Post-Treatment Makes ALL the Difference:

If you want to make sure you get your money’s worth out of treatment, doing the right things afterwards makes ALL the difference. Lead a dumb lifestyle and stress your back, and I’ll guarantee you’ll reverse everything you gained in a matter of mere months. Our forced move away from Nashville (mainly doing it ourselves), and a few other events put a definite strain on my lower back and neck so I’ve felt it first hand.

I’ve also stuck with the therapy and other habits that are undoing that strain and continuing my healing progress.

Here’s the work you’re going to expect to have to do:

Dietary Changes: Simple and sometimes obvious. If you’re overweight, that puts an extra burden on your spine. Sugar causes inflamation. Highly acidic food leach calcium from your bones. Changes do NOT have to be instantaneous. It’s awesome if you can quit cold turkey. If not, work on slowly reducing unhealthy foods while you search for healthy alternatives and ways to cook them where you enjoy eating them. If you’re a sugary drink junkie, like me, slowly reduce them and substitute with water. I do NOT recommend the vast majority of diet drinks as their artificial sweeteners often cause more issues than they fix. Stevia and Monkfruit ‘sugar’ being notable exceptions and natural.

Nutritional Supplements: specifically those designed for bone health and nervous system support. Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium in particular are important, if not outright vital. Get them naturally via food as much as you can. Use high quality supplements otherwise. That means no junk sold at the local drug or grocery store.

Personally, I take Animal Pak vitamins intended for competition bodybuilders. I’m anything but a bodybuilder. However, the vitamins and minerals are top quality and sourced from easily bio-absorbed sources. There are no nasty fillers or binding agents either. Did you know that many cheap vitamins use Plaster of Paris as a binding agent or silicon dioxide (ie sand) as a filler ? Think either of those are good for your digestive system?

Solaray is another good supplement company that I can recommend. Anywhere my main multivitamin falls short, such as the aforementioned Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium, I supplement with Solaray.

At Home Physical Therapy: It will take work to finish rehab of your injured spine. Because my back and neck were in such bad shape initially, I have two home traction units I use (updated reviews on them coming soon). Overall, I think they’re a worthwhile investment if you get the right ones and use them properly and regularly.

If your spine wasn’t in as bad a shape or suffering for such an extended period of time, you can possibly get away with with a massage wand, stretching, yoga and relaxation exercises. If you’re inclined to label yoga as some new age BS for soccer moms, consider that Diamond Dallas Page’s yoga program has literally saved the life and restored the health of some former big name wrestling stars. Scott Hall being the biggest success story.

Bottom line is that you have to maintain flexibility and range of motion as part of maintaining and strengthening your back.

I should include using proper lifting techniques and such as part of the general category of “therapy”. Continue lifting with your lower back instead of your knees and you’re just asking for a return to back pain. Trying to lift more than you safely can; also trouble. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. 🙂

LASTLY; IF You Were Long-Term Sedentary Because of Your Injuries: Remember it will take time to undo all of the muscle loss and weight gain. DO NOT push yourself in some blind determination to return to your glory days overnight. At best, you’ll be so exhausted you can’t do anything. At worst, you’ll re-injure yourself.

Go slow, keep your exercises as low-impact as possible (which is why I like rowing), and progress at a rate your body is comfortable with. Save the macho, “no pain, no gain” stuff for the military, and kids who will end up with their own back issues eventually. You’ll get stronger and more active, it just takes time and a sensible approach to it.

ALL of this should be considered life long stuff also. The biggest mistake that people who injure their backs make is to only do these kind of things until they start to feel better. Inversion tables are a great example. They’re frequently bought by people in the early stages of back pain. They really work too so long as you don’t have bad knees or a couple of other medical conditions that can make them unsafe.

The new owner will use them for a few weeks, feel better, and immediately toss the thing on Craigslist though. Inevitably they end up hurting again eventually too because they didn’t change the habits that got them hurt, or continue doing what they needed to rehab and strengthen their back.

Yes, the exercises and therapy takes time. Quality nutritional supplements cost money also. Consider the alternative of an unproductive, pain filled sedentary lifestyle though.

PAST SPINAL DECOMPRESSION POSTS:

Treatment, Days 1 & 2

Spinal Decompression; Day 5

Where I’ve Been; Grappling with Changing Realities

Spinal Decompression; Day 14

Pronex Traction Unit Review / How I’ve Learned to Use One

Brief Spinal Decompression Update

One Last Spinal Decompression Update

General Update

I’ve been idle again for a couple of days. My goal anymore is to do 2 or 3 posts a day (more often 2) and make only one of them “heavy” in any sort of way. I think keeping it at 2 or 3 keeps the work load manageable, and I don’t overload readers.

Lately I’ve been battling to catch up on sleep though. Around 5 years back, we bought a Sleep Number bed. Given the condition of my back at the time, it was a worthwhile investment despite the cost.

I should actually do a review post on them for my readers. Maybe the next day or so. 🙂

The sleep problem that came up is that the center of the bed is an air chamber. Taking air in or out is how you adjust the firmness. And, the air chamber sprung a small leak apparently. Ever tried sleeping on an air mattress and waking up with it half deflated and your back hurting? THAT is what I was dealing with for the past few weeks.

We got a new air chamber, and the bed is working fine again. It’s really been a matter of trying to catch up on my sleep now and let my creative batteries recharge.

The Back and Neck:

image from nata.org

As you can imagine, the whole incident with the bed set me back a little here. I was moving along fairly well on the rehab path after my spinal decompression treatments. The new traction devices helped, as did the rower and exercise.

At this point, I’m coming to the conclusion that healing the back to a meaningful degree and losing weight is going to take time. More then I’d like for sure. I’m making progress though. I can lift more than I could before without hurting, I’ve got more energy and more flexibility. It’s a mix of positivity that I’m making progress and frustration that it’s so slow.

The Shadow Hunt:

Overall, things have been going well here also. As long as I remember the prayer, meditation, ho’oponopono, etc… I’m having great days. When I forget, or the sleep issue was interfering, not quite as much. Again, progress even if this one will be a long slow uphill battle. Personal demons don’t disappear in a night anymore than they’re created that quickly though.

The Blog:

I’m still here, and there are no plans to change that. 🙂 As mentioned at the start, I’ve decided to limit my posting to 2 or 3 posts a day with an occasional day off. I’m trying to reorganize the whole daily topic thing that I had going before, but I’m not there yet.

I will be adding regular martial arts and self-dense related posts to the blog, once a week I suspect.

Politics specifically I still plan to avoid. It’s just too toxic anymore. I want to try to discuss some social issues in a non-political way though. Suggest middle of the road solutions, etc… That’s another thing I’m still trying to work out though. To be honest, a part of me doesn’t want to bring them back. Tuning out the news and politics has been like removing a dark weight from my soul. There’s just too much hate surrounding it all anymore. REALLY hard to deal with when you’re an empath too.

I want to get back to more writing related posts too. That’s what this whole thing was started for originally. The cooking posts will definitely stay also. I think you all have noticed there have been more of those thanks to the weather lately. 🙂 It’s something I’m moderately talented at and truly enjoy (usually, lol).

That’s about all I’ve got for now. 🙂