If you know me, words won't explain me. If you don't, you are here, so read and draw your own conclusions.


Posts by Simon

Lavey Bains – Switzerland ’07

27th – jan 2nd no report

I think it was Jan 2 that we went to Lavey to the baths, a remarkable feat given it was actually snowing for the first time since we got here. The new baths are basically the same kind of idea, just that they have an enormous whirlpool outside where the water jets force the current around a narrow ’swimway’ where once you are in you are whisked around by the current. This was a tom of fun and in fact you could stay in there all day being whisked about by the water. At the centre was a large bubble jacuzzi but the highlight was trying to get in and out of it through the undertow generated by the jets. This brought us to lunchtime and after a brief lunch at Placette, our final time there, we left mum and dad and headed off to Montreux for more shopping and to pop into the Casino to add to our list of reviewed Casinos. well, I say that, but probably the section of reviewed casinos is not done yet and I haven’t yet bothered to wirte anything additional even though our list has now grown to include not only Montreux Casino but also the casino in the Movenpick hotel by the airport in Geneva. Add this to the list of Rama, Niagara, CNE, the Australian Casino by the side of Australia Fair, I think we went to one in mexico but I can’t really recall, and there must be others… anyway, I digress.

Our final day here consisted mostly of packing, trying to see most of 24 and scouring the house for any items strewn about. We had decided among us that it would be best if we went to the airport on the train, given that it is the simplest and most cost effective and if we did it this way we could potentially take th train  directly to the house next time we come. So we drove to the train station with our bags straining at the seams, odd really since I was convinced that we would be lighter going home than coming. We said our goodbyes to  mum and dad on the platform and hopped on the train to Geneva. The view really was spectacular, especially given that this was the first day it had been clear enough to see the lenght of the lake. The trip was really relaxing, roomy and honestly the obvious choice when I think about it. However, what awaited us at the other end was in direct contrast. Let me just say that in addition to the Casino reviews, we are going to try to do restaurant and hotel reviews also which will mean doing a review of the pizza place from last night which was awesome, in the basement of Motel33 by the airport but which will also mean doing a review of the worst hotel in the civilized world, the Ibis at Sydney airport. Nturally following this will be a review of the second worst hotel in the civilized world, the Ibis at Geneva Airport. I will include pictures because frankly at this point words fail me (not that this has ever stopped me).

It had the same plastic molded shower cubicle, with a toilet made for some form of contorted marsupial and a sink mirror combo that was lit in such a way that you could see zits that wouldn’t be here for another week yet. The room itself was less than 10 feet wide and the bed, sorry “bed” was a sheet of plywood upon which rested a 4″ matress, no boxspring, and 2 pillows that at first glance could easily be mistaken for teabags. The TV was a generous 13″ and come with a digital remote by which I mean you had to use your own digits to change the channels. For one person, it may have been borderline acceptable for lets say $40, but for 2 people at an alarming $142 it was Texas sized rip off. However, there was a highlight as I mentioned which was the Pizzeria we went to for dinner. I had a pizza with ham and mushrooms and Nicole had a cheese and onion pizza, both of which were massive and outstanding in quality. For about 15CHF each it was well worth the money. I also have to note that if you are going to travel like we do, staying at the airport the night before an early flight is the only way to do things.

My Aching Body – New Injuries!

So pirouettes aren’t my thing.

I was back in the emergency department last thursday morning not for my usual MRI but this time for an Xray on what we thought was a broken left foot. I managed to roll over it on wednesday night and although it wasn’t that painful, when I woke up on Thursday I couldn’t walk. So, suspecting the worst and expecting to spend the next 6 to 8 weeks in a cast I was not the happiest camper. The news was bittersweet, but since it took 3 hours to get it I had almost forgotten what I was there for. Apparently I had sprained the ligament in my foot so badly that it has ripped a small chunk of bone off the metacarpal bones of my foot (?). Sadly there is nothing they can do for it as far as immobilizing it or casting it so I am stuck with an invisible injury that is frankly insanely painful at time…

Add that to the fact that I once again just recovered from ANOTHER month off work with a painful back culminating in another MRI which sadly (in a way) remains unchanged. Not that it feels that way, in fact it feels different now than it ever has. I am at a point where I am seemingly permanently being overly careful, of course I can’t walk as much at the moment due to the foot thing so that doesn’t help but I am getting close to the end of my rope once again with my stupid body.

My reply…

Someone posted a question about their lingering back pain… This is a portion of my replies.


Well I think I am going to give the opposite advice since I am in a similar situation to you and am living it day to day. I am 2 1/2 years post op and have had some very painful days both right after the surgery and lately. However I have found that pain killers and passive healing just don’t work in the long run. For me, it was weight loss and stretching and gently increasing my overall strength (including core) to the point where I was able to feel healthy again. I still have pain every day, my back hurts when I get up in the morning, it hurts when I stand up from my computer (I work in an office in computers which is the kiss of death for soemone with back problems) and it hurts whenver I exercise HOWEVER it doesn’t hurt like it used to. I say be patient, try to exercise at least once a day (stretching counts) and if you are working then make sure you stand up and walk around every 15 to 20 minutes. I know you know how much it sucks being on pain killers and the withdrawal and depression they can bring so I would say do whatever is in your power to rehab yourself and be as active as possible all the time and I promise it will help. Be careful and be healthy, best of luck.


That sounds pretty typical from what I have read. I am the same way even now 2 1/2 years post op. I find that the more I do, the better I feel but if I lay around one day and watch TV then the next day I am a wreck. In a way I do feel worse after the surgery because I never feel “normal” like I used to. However, I also have not had an episode since the surgery which used to happen at least once every 6 months. I know for myself though that a large part of the problem is my weight, being 260lbs even though it is mostly muscle carries with it a great deal of spinal stress.
I also work in computers and have to stand and walk around, arch and stretch at least every 15 minutes during the day in order that my back doesn’t tighten up. You have to be religious about this or you will find your back will always be painful when getting up.
Does this suck? Well, I could be philosophical about it and say that it has taught me a great deal about myself, about my physical tolerances and about keeping my physical ego in check but in reality when I have to lay on my floor some days just to be able to walk properly I would say yes, it sucks big time. However, I am coaching gymnastics, I am going to the gym again and for the most part regardless of the lingering pain my life is somewhat back to ‘normal’.
I guess the bottom line is that we all, post op, need to come to terms with our new realities and face them the best we can. I still am optimistic that at some point I will start to have days where I don’t feel pain. Whether that is in the next 6 months or the next 5 years only time will tell.

To My Health…

I went to the doctor again today to get the results of all my bloodwork etc. He said my sugars are fine, my thyroid was a little elevated so he is sending me for another test, my cell counts were fine and best of all that my cholestorol was low as were my triglycerides. This was after 2 years of not so good exercise and a couple of weeks of complete inactivity due to my back (the test was about a month ago now).
My EKG which is my heart test came back normal, he said there is no sign of mitral valve prolapse but that it is very difficult to catch if it is relaively minor. He said my MRI was ‘complicated’ but that in the end it was not a great deal different than last time which in a way is good since all I wanted was to have the disc fixed. I do have to go and see my back specialist to get the full information on the MRI though. The only thing that was not good was that the stuff he gave me for my stomach (the reflux) did nothing. Although it did reduce the amount of acid, it did not stop the regurgitation and that was the main goal. In fact, acid is not the problem, it is really the reflex that is the issue. I did have an Upper GI exam several weeks ago which came back normal with no signs of hernia or erosive aesophagitis.
So mostly it was good news, however he is handing me off to a throat and digestion specialist to have a camera stuck down my throat sometime soon to see if there is anything physical they can fix with my throat and my constant regurgitation.
So I am pretty happy. The best thing about it is that I am much healthier now than I was then and so my health is obviously very good. My weight is down 5 pounds and my blood pressure went from 140/94 to 138/86 so he was happy about that.

Thought I would let you know the good news and tell you that I may, in fact, live forever…

My Most Recent Back Issue

On my birthday, Feb 20, I spent most of the day on my feet and stepping up onto a chair to videotape the girls competing at the Americana Invitational in Niagara Falls. The next day I was a little sore, nothing special so I thought. As the week wore on, I got more and more sore in my left lower back, the exact opposite side as was the case prior to my back surgery.
This started to worry me a little and sure enough in the next 2 days I suddenly went from discomfort to excruciating pain in my back (SI joint area to be exact) radiating down my left buttock (the very centre of the left cheek) and down into the upper left leg (insertion of the fibia).
I immediately booked an appointment with my surgeon and my physio and tried to rest as much as I could.
The surgeon, in a nutshell, told me he did not know what it was but he was conserned that it may be disc related and so told me to take the anti-inflammatories and stay off work for 3 or 4 weeks. At that time I thought that was a ridiculous notion and that I would be fine in a week or so. The Physio told me she thought it may be SI joint (Sacroiliac joint) related or related to hip disfunction rather than disc. Most of her manipulations turned out negative however when I bend from the waist, I only have pain after about 10 degrees to 15 degrees from vertical.
The pain was very bad the first few days until it started to subside a little in my back. Nicole and I were scheduled to fly to Vegas for a family reunion and went as planned.
While in Vegas, I used the hot tub and walked as much as I could since the Physio had told me that remaining mobile was key.
The Vegas vacation went fantastic, I will cover the details later, but once home, the cold weather started to take its toll and the pain in my leg turned to numbness and loss of strength. I booked an MRI which I am still awaiting and was told that there was still nothing to be done.
I researched as much as I could and found that the symptoms most closely related to something called SI Joint Disfunction which is cureable with stretching and strenghtening. This was good news, however I was still concerned that the loss of feeling in my leg was pointing to a disc impaction on the spinal column. However, it is noted that an SI joint inflammation can affect the sciatic nerve as it passes through the SI Joint area and this may be what caused the nerve impaction.

So I have been walking a little, although I cannot walk far I try to remain on my feet as much as is comfortable and have been using my EMS machine that I used after my surgery. Also I have stolen Nicole’s heating pad to help keep my back warm and supple.

As it stands today I am on gradual return to work (4 hours a day) and am joining a wellness group that weighs us every week to encourage my weight loss.

Because lets face it… We all know why my hip or back or whatever it was caused my pain.

I am too heavy. I am too inactive and I need to get back into shape.
It is a simple fact that a person walking around at 260 or 270 lbs without exercising is going to face some issues fairly rapidly.

So I am on a program, I have a plan and I hope that in 10 weeks (or before I am almost sure) I will be able to look back at this and realize just how much my weight is a factor in my back pain.

Wish me luck, but mostly wish me well…

On the diet bandwagon

I got my health assesment for the Calorie Stampede this morning. Shamefully listed below are my not so vital statistics:

Weight: 263
% Fat: 28
Height: 6’0″
Age: 37
Waist: 43
Hips: 40
Blood Pressure: 138 / 65 – this was a little skewed I think due to the small cuff they used.

My goals for the next 10 weeks are:
Lose 23lbs
walk 30 min twice a day at least 4 days a week
light weight program 4 times a week
more vegetables in my diet

Sounds easy? Not when I agreed not to eat after 7pm.
Humph. That wasn’t bright.