Monthly Archives: April 2015

Glenn’s Feeling a Little Desperate – Can You Help?

I’m struggling with a medical difficulty which is preventing me from working very much at this time. I was hoping to use my “hive mind” of friends, family, colleagues, customers, as well as their friends, etc to brainstorm a possible solution both to the medical problem, but more immediately to the work situation.

Here’s my story…

– In 1998 I was hit by a drunk driver. My car was totaled but I walked away, supposedly unscathed (and un-evaluated by professionals)

– In 2001 I switched from doing psychotherapy full time to working on the computer full time. I began to get blinding migraines after just a half hour on the computer.
– I was almost entirely unable to work for about a year, but found ways to adapt using chiropractic, massage, and a variety of exercises, getting my work capacity up to a few hours at a time.

– In 2007 I was treated for Lyme Disease and my work capacity improved a bit, but still remained limited. (I think I could sit for about 1/3rd as long as other over-achievers )

– In 2011 I discovered the Treadmill Desk, which almost completely restored my capacity. I could work a normal day, actually enjoyed walking while I worked, and only got headaches if I went for hours and hours without a break (which nobody should do anyway!)

– In 2012 my left leg became numb and I was diagnosed with sciatica. The chiropractor and physical therapist agreed it was because of a ginormous (22 mm) leg length discrepancy which caused a kink in my spinal chord, and aggravated the disk between L4 and L5 in my spine the more I walked.

– Since I wasn’t in pain but only experienced an annoying numbness, I went along with a treatment plan involving progressively higher leg lifts (eventually built into my shoe), an inversion table, and massage.

– This year (2015) I began noticing the loss of significant muscle strength in the left leg. And the PT diagnosed gluteal wasting. They send me for an MRI and was diagnosed with a bulging disk. They said if this continues I would lose the use of my leg!

– I was then referred for Spinal Decompression therapy (Spinemed). This had an impact for a few hours after I got off the table, but the symptoms always returned in full force when I went back to the treadmill desk (which was, and still is, the only real way I can work for substantial periods without getting migraines)

– The decompression doc said the first chiropractor had the wrong diagnosis. He said the coating around my spinal chord (the meninges) had been “bunched up” during the accident all those years ago and was creating the illusion of a leg length discrepancy by pulling up on the left leg. When he did a C2 adjustment, he said the discrepancy all but disappeared. This was subsequently confirmed via a series of leg and hip X-rays.

– Then I was told to take the lifts OUT of my shoe (there’s a 5 mm discrepancy remaining) and get orthotics instead. I should also spend more time on the inversion table and less time standing and walking on a flat surface. This makes sense given the newly confirmed diagnosis. At least I think it does.

– Since I was walking on a treadmill between 6 and 10 hours most days (excluding breaks) for work, I would have to find a new way to work again. I unfortunately found that after all these years standing up I have virtually NO ability to sit down and work. In fact, sitting now also aggravates my sciatica.

So I ordered a fancy spaceship from Ergoquest (the Ergoquest Zero Gravity Workstation 2a – still in evaluation period.) Basically you can get into almost any reclined or semi-reclined position. I’m going back and forth with the owner to try and make modifications, but I’m finding this too causes migraines after a half hour or so

– I can work in bed with a monitor hanging over me from the ceiling for an hour or two, but then I get migraines from that too

– Interestingly, I have no problem exercising as long as it’s not on a treadmill or other motion which causes repetitive stress. For example, hiking seems to make it better. So does swimming, most exercise classes, yoga, etc. It’s also better after a good night’s sleep. But as soon as I add the computer work I get migraines.

– I’m trying to learn Dragon Naturally Speaking (dictation) but it’s exceedingly slow going. I know the ultimate solution will be to stop typing and mousing… but I just can’t keep up with my work using it. Not even close… at least not yet.

So I’m really in a pickle. I’m only 50 years old and NOT ready to retire! I’ve got many things to accomplish, partners to keep up with, and goals to achieve. I suppose I could just stop working on the computer and do psychotherapy and coaching by telephone, but that’s not really who I am anymore. I’ve started some VERY BIG things which have some serious traction and I want to see them through.

Because I feel much better in the morning, MUCH better after the inversion table, and much better when I don’t walk on the treadmill for a day I DO have hope this can be cured. It seems like if I just didn’t walk/stand much but only slept, exercised, inverted, and went for the spinal decompression again I’d get steadily better all around. But I’d have to find some other viable work position in order to do this…

And I don’t want to go the surgical route because of the half dozen people I know who’ve done this in similar situations, NONE of them have anything good to say about it.

Which is why I’m asking for your help to brainstorm possible solutions.

Has anyone out there ever gone through something similar? If so, what worked/didn’t/helped even a little?

Are there any weird positions, contraptions, and/or ways of working I’m not thinking of?

Does anyone know anything diagnostically which I could be missing? Tests I should have done? Doctors to see? I’m open to going anywhere in the country (or the world) if I’m convinced the right doctor is there to help. But travel does aggravate both conditions (sciatica plus migraines) too so I’d have to be really sure.

Anyone know how to learn Dragon Naturally Speaking faster?

Do you know anyone you might share this post with that might have better answers to these questions even if you don’t?

Feeling a little desperate and hoping someone can help.