Breaking News > BUT NOT GOOD NEWS!!!
Earl is Entering the Hospital for Major Back Surgery on June 23rd, 2020.
Shufflers the world over will be thinking of you as you undergo the procedure. Stan
Earl Speaks on 2020 06 06. The story that follows is still accurate; however, a lot has happened since 2007. Stan sent the story (below in black) to me and asked if I wanted to add to it. As many of you know, my back continued to deteriorate and now, I find myself having to have major surgery to fuse L-3,4,5&S1(the bottom of the lower back). It requires rods and bars; I have avoided the surgery because over time scar tissue causes problems. The way I look at the situation is that I’m 76 and I could gut it out, surely, I won’t live that much longer, but the other side of the coin says I’m 76 and why should I live out my life in misery.
On we go! Earl
EARL BALL TELLS US WHAT HAPPENED!! Earl Writing in July of 2007.
Earl Speaks on 2007 07 02. Many of you have asked about my back surgery and so I have decided to tell you about it. In 2004 I had both hips replaced even though my doctors and I knew my back was bad. I felt so much better I did not even realize my back was as bad as it was. For some reason, summer is worse than winter; maybe because I am so busy in the winter. Well, I made it through the summer of 2005 laying the pain to the healing of the hips but I couldn’t make it through the “Masters” of 2006 and spent the summer on heavy drugs ~~ not good!
This year (2007) a similar thing happened, and I said enough is enough is enough! I did not want to have open back surgery because the scar tissue can leave you worse off than when you started.
Lou and Rose Haskill (shuffleboard players) tipped me off to Micro Back Surgery at the Leesburg tournament this last season so I decided to do some research and found out the surgery was done through what looks like a straw, using the laser and other miniature instruments in private hospitals (insurance doesn’t cover all of the costs of a private hospital).
I decided to attend a seminar, taking my old MRI’s with me. The Doctor reviewed the MRI’s and said he thought they could help. There were three potential problems and they explained pain can be in layers and is like pealing an onion. It’s possible they would fix one thing only to find I still suffered from another problem that I’d have to have fixed at a later date. I had a bulging disc which could be fixed using the laser. The laser is used on tissue. I also had stenosis of the spinal cord which is a filling in of the opening with calcium (bone); it is removed by using something that resembles a chompper. I liken it to the Pac Man game. The laser cannot be used on bone because it generates too much heat and would cook the meat. The third potential problem was with the facet joints; there is one on each side of the backbone where each of the vertebras comes together. The joint fills with arthritis (calcium) and irritates the non-motor function nerve that runs through the joint. The cure is to use the laser to kill the nerve. So even though the arthritis is still there it doesn’t hurt. On day one, new MRI’s and x-rays are taken and a preliminary analysis of your pain is conducted; on day two they do pain mapping which is accomplished by numbing a nerve similar to what a dentist does and one by one they narrow down which problem is causing the pain. Mine was coming from the bulging disc. Later that day the surgeon reviewed with me what he was going to do the next day. I thought he would go in and trim the bulge off the disc with the laser so it wouldn’t press on the nerve but that’s not how it’s done. He drilled through the upper vertebra and into the disc and then removed fragments and other material from the center of the disc so the disc would implode (suck itself in) removing the pressure from the nerve. That night, lying in bed, I was amazed at not having any pain for the first time since I can remember! The next day they did an epidural so Vivian (my wife) could drive me home, a six-hour drive. The epidural was to ensure comfort as I heal.
I’m not to twist, bend or lift nearly anything but I do go for walks. It will take longer to get back into action than I thought and that is brought about because of the procedure which was the most radical of the possibilities.
Regrettably, I will be unable to be with you for the International World Championship ~~ or for the Eastern Nationals ~~ but I should be ready to go for the winter season. With a little luck this will be the end of the problem. ONLY TIME WILL TELL!!
EARL BALL: 2007 07 02.
SHUFFLER’S NOTE: The Shuffling Communities of Brazil, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada and America wish you a rapid and complete recovery!! Stan writing on 2007 07 02