Thursday, July 14, 2011

Myelogram and Massage Therapy

At the behest of my pain management doctor, I have given deep tissue massage a chance after he noticed several large "knots" in my muscles in my lower back and upper back/shoulder area.  Though I've had deep tissue massage with my PT quite often, I have never had it for more than 10 or so minutes and almost exclusively on my legs.  My first session was painful as expected but definitely produced minor relief for me, the next session did more so, but again this was temporary for maybe 1-2 days before pain returned to normal.

I also received a Myelogram 4 days ago but am still experiencing severe side effects from the procedure.  After standing upright or sitting for around 30 minutes I feel an intense spinal headache and must lay back down, I done nothing but lay in bed or get up to go to the bathroom or eat the past few days and the headache still persists.  After getting one I am usually in severe pain for up to an hour and have to get back to rest, this worries me as I was told that I should be able to resume normal activity after 2 or so days.  I also am still experiencing a sharp discomfort in my lower back where the procedure was done and elevated "pressure" on my tailbone, much like I had while my tailbone pain was disappearing a year and a half ago...which just further leads me to believe that my sexual dysfunction and back pain is stemming from something in my tailbone.  I am looking forward to hearing my doctor's interpretation of the results and am continuing massage therapy once a month.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Intermittant Pelvic Pain

I have been noticing some intermittent pelvic floor pain, and a pulsing, aching sensation at the rear of my saddle.  It almost feels like a small object is stuck in my pelvic floor, not unlike that of Pelvic Floor Syndrome.  Pain during erections is also increasing and I have been noticing more "shocks" into my right buttock.  I have also noticed that my penis, especially the tip, is ice cold to the touch after lifting or almost any form of exercise, again, almost as if bloodflow has been severely reduced as well as feeling.  The most disturbing and worrying part is noticing a "bottleneck" forming just before the foreskin of my penis as if it's not receiving regular bloodflow, which it obviously isn't.  Erections are increasingly rare and consistently poor, probably 50% of normal, with most of the issues being with the bottom cavernosa and head to fill.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Follow Up: Urology Reports

As a quick follow up to my last post, I'm going to go over the urology reports I received in person.  The reports show that I have "fairly normal" blood flow as well as no bladder issues whatsoever.  As you can see in the letter, the doctor believes the erectile issues are most likely of neurological origin, like the last urologist I saw before him.

Thorasic Results & Abdominal/Side Pain

To start off the month, I am going to go through a quick recap of my Thorasic results then talk about even more new symptoms I am experiencing.

I was a bit frustrated when I specifically chose Dublin Methodist for an MRI because it has produced the clearest images I've seen so far, I had to use a temporary machine because of remodeling.  According to my GP, the Thorasic MRI showed degeneration among multiple discs in my mid back, which I guess would explain the growing pain and weakness.  He also said that there were a couple, small disc issues that could be seen.  I am now wondering if it is possible that my mid back degenerated from the lower disc degenerations/bulges or whether my sexual dysfunction is coming from my thorasic, instead of my cervical or S2 degeneration.  Now, I don't necessarily see anything (with my uneducated eyes) anything in particular, but here's a small sample:

I have begun to experience a few more, very intense symptoms over the past month as well
1.  Pelvic Floor - Though I have experience this pain a couple times before in my life this was definitely the most intense episode.  I plopped down on a chair and my pelvic floor went into what I can only describe as a binding cramp that would not go away for about 30 seconds to a minute.  The pain was so intense that I almost threw up, but when I heaved it put into so much pain I fell on the floor until it subsided.  In my humble opinion, this points more towards my sexual dysfunction as something coming from my lower back/tailbone/S1 S2/or the supposed cyst that was found in my pelvis months ago.
2.  Abdominal Pain - I just recently started to experience the same tightness/shooting pain down the right side of my body, the pain has clasped it's fingers (if you will) from my middle-right center back around to my abs.  Abdominal exercises, which used to be a cinch, and swimming have now become painful like my other exercise activities.  At first I thought it was a hernia, but after a cursory examination of the bellybutton area it didn't seem that way.  Like the pain in the rest of my body, it only effects the right side of my abdominals including obliques, while my left feels as good and resilliant as it ever has.
3.  Increased loss of feeling/tingling:  Over the past month I have noticed increased loss of feeling in my right hand, which can vary from ring/middle/pinky to index/thumb combo, there is definite weakness after running or walking long periods and my hand continually wants to "claw up".  I have also noticed increased tingling and weakness in the big toe and some in the other toes of my right foot.  Most notably, I have noticed a slight "drop" to my right foot, when I do my jog/walks where my left foot responds appropriately my right foot doesn't pull itself all the way to the correct running position.
4.  After using a decompression table 10-30 minutes a day I have noticed EXTREMELY sharp pain in my lower right back where it all started if I jostle too much.  I was told decompression can slowly cause pain at first so I am going at less of an inversion from now on and staying on for just 15 minutes or so a day.
5.  Inability to lift:  Last summer I remember being able to complete P90X upper body routines without any pain except a minor pulling feeling in my right shoulder.  After I tried to return to my very light lifting routine earlier this week I found my right shoulder in so much agony after just a few reps that I had to retire to the pool, where it continued to give my shooting pains into my right hand.
6.  Sexual Dysfunction:  Have noticed no real changes on sexual front besides the continued difficulty to achieve a full erection as well as even hold a partial one.  One new thing I have noticed is reduced anal tone, as well as, as weird as this sounds, a very minor discomfort (level 2/3) in my lower back when I must bear down to try and achieve a full erection...I believe this might be a continued sign that my lower back/tailbone is to blame for the dysfunction.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Priorities & A short reflection on change in sexual symptoms

My PM has asked me my "priorities" of pain when approaching my problem so I have decided to reflect that on my blog and my reasoning why.
1. Sexual Dysfunction: It has been shown that this is simply not transient and that it is worsening, urological tests have shown that it is not related to the genitals or leakage, my history and the way the dysfunction occurs have shown that it is incredibly unlikely that it is mentally related, and blood work and vascular tests have shown that I have no testosterone/vitamin deficiencies, or known vascular issues.  As a 24 year-old male my sexual health is paramount to me as it is to anyone else, though it is not as physically "painful" per se like my leg, back, neck or arm, it is tormenting, life-changing, and I believe reversible since it has just onset in the past year. It affects every part of my life including my confidence, mental, sexual [obviously], and even spiritual health.  I can live with pain, in my back, my leg, my arm, my neck.  I can live without running, without walking normally, without sitting comfortably, without lifting, without swimming, but I cannot live without sexual function.
2. Right Leg Pain:  This is the second most important as it is the most painful, obviously likely from using my feet to stand and walk the most, as well as my passion for running, and desire to be able to give a full presentation without having to sit in a chair half way through.
3.  Right Arm/Neck/Face Pain: When just my tailbone and leg hurt I could still lift, swim, I could still write and type without discomfort, obviously just getting this back would be a huge buoy to my life physically and emotionally but isnt AS painful as my right leg, though it is quite painful and my right hand experiences a minor loss in sensation as well as numbness and shooting pain the more I use it/my neck.  Plus if my neck and sexual dysfunction there's a possibility of a win/win there.  Perhaps the minor slip that Dr. Schwetenschenau saw and the tightening of the muscles around the neck are to blame for this?
4.  Lumbar/Thorasic Pain: Though my back is in agony, and my once excellent posture is completely destroyed, the pain in my back is nothing compared to the pain in my leg and arm/neck, I could definitely live with this pain the rest of my life, but the others, I find it hard to believe I can keep up the fight against.  I've noticed the lumbar pain grow into a little shot into my buttocks, but I also felt like it may or may not have gotten a bit better, though again, this is probably from not working out for months and reducing my sitting time while increasing my laying down time.

This evening I recalled last Spring, when I tried my best not to get an erection in the shower in the morning so that I didn't have to walk past my roommate to my room with one.  I also remember being most sexually active after I exercise, with my flaccid state being at its fullest.  This evening I noticed, after a short walk/jog (I can do about a minute of running and a minute of walking on and off in increasing pain for about 20 minutes before my leg gives out entirely) that I was very, very small.  This hasn't been unusual in the past 6 months, but was disturbingly so this evening, I mean, I didn't know it was possible to get this small, though, it was like it wasn't getting blood at all and it had definitely even further decreased in sensation.  Later in the shower, I realized that last summer, with work I was able to achieve a partial erection with focused thinking and almost no physical stimulation, I've noticed recently that an erection, with Cialis, focused thinking, and physical stimulation produces nothing.  My only chance at a partial erection (I use the term erection liberally here) is only possible while laying down, with serious focus and Cialis.

Current attitude:  Perhaps my lower back isn't necessarily to blame for my sexual dysfunction?  Though I've been told that the S1/S2 area (where much of my degeneration is)  I've also been told that both thorasic and cervical areas can be responsible as well and that sexual symptoms can definitely arise slowly like mine have from a back injury, especially from the thorasic.  Maybe if I examine my cervical more closely, and the thorasic MRI this morning shows something, I will have a better idea.  Though it is just too much of a coincidence to me that I had severe tailbone pain while sitting and then it suddenly disappeared into a light numbness at about the same time sexual dysfunction/numbness appeared. Also, I do feel like my leg pain and lower back pain MAY have gotten slightly better, though this could be because I have stopped working out, again this is only my perception.

I like to add a visual supplement to each post to break up the walls of text, so I'm sorry that this image is also text but it is an interesting excerpt from one of the Neurology books I've been perusing called Atlas of neurosurgical techniques: spine and peripheral nerves By Richard Fessler

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Physical Therapy Tests

Today was a particularly good day painwise from sleeping so long and being relatively inactive yesterday.  I just recently restarted PT after being very inactive for a few months on request of doctors to see if that helped which as we know did nothing.  My physical therapist has noted that I do have a particular weakness in my big toe, as well as very little reaction to the knee reflex test, and right leg sensation tests.  He also did a few stretches on me showing that the pain that radiates down to my hand in fingertips is mostly in my middle finger/ring (thought it affects all of them).  We will start more back stabilization exercises, traction, and deep tissue massage early next week.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A tiny clarification, notcing of hand feeling sensation, and new suggestions

I have noticed a small loss of feeling in my right hand as compared to my left.  My hand often feels clawed and is pain after a long day of standing and walking but I have noticed just resting them on the keyboard that it simply doesn't feel the keys as tactile as the left does.  I have also noticed that when I walk, stand, or swim that my penis gets especially small and even cold, whereas in the past it would usually expand to an above-average flaccid state for myself.  I believe this again shows a possibility that the physical activity putting pressure on my back may cause this, paired with the fact that achieving what I generously call a partial erection only seems possible when lying on my back.

For a little clarification on the urologist visit:  I am still in the process of obtaining the urology reports, however, I do remember that the Doctor said that they judge venuous leaks on a scale of something like 1-10 and 1-5 level of leakage is entirely normal and I was a 5.1, which even at that, should never be having problems with morning erections or penetration.

The last doctor has suggested a discogram but made clear that they are excruciatingly painful, I am uneasy since she said it most definitely is not worth enduring the pain if it comes out inconclusive but the braver part of me says to remember that I should exhaust every option.

Disc Decompression was also suggested by the last doctor so I visited his specialist who consulted with me.  The specialist told me very coldly that he only helps people he knows he can help, or he thinks he has a chance at helping, and always turns away people he thinks he cannot help.  He said, that on this scale, I am an outlier in the category of "I have no idea,"  when I asked for a percentage chance he said that there is no percentage he could attribute as my symptoms are so wide spread that even attacking just one problem at a time may be difficult and takes a serious time commitment.  I am going to continue to contemplate getting the treatment for the next week or so until I am done with class and have a little more free time.

Current attitude:
Either way, I am not going to just give up and will come out of this stronger for having fought as hard as I can.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A picture of the pain

Here is an idea of how the pain has pretty much always been. 

Thorasic Park & The Claw: April 2011

Another set of back injections are completed with no results, I decide these will be my last injections ever.  I believe I have had six overall or maybe more at this point.

After building up to short, light jogs, I notice severe clawing in my right hand and foot.  So I conclude that this problem is likely coming from the back and my discs are being jolted a bit when I do a light job (jog for about a minute or two, walk for a minute, jog a minute, overall for about 30 minutes)

Have seen a re-surgence in facial and right bicep/arm/deltoid pain after beginning to swim and do abs again.

A thorasic MRI is ordered to check on the increasing pain in the middle of my spine, the only area that has gone undocumented by MRI scan so far.  Here is the best overall MRI I could find of my Lumbar for first time viewers, I believe this is from winter 2011.

Strange Sexual Symptoms: Early Spring Overview

I've noticed that not only that I cannot achieve even a partial erection without a lot of stimulation, but that my flaccid penis is very noticeably smaller and not getting the normal amount of bloodflow (perhaps?) that it normally would in it's flaccid state.  It also often takes on a strange hour glass shape instead of its normal state.  I also notice that it is often cold, and I am starting to lose sensation, especially in the tip.  Cialis and Viagra prescribed a few months earlier, help very little, though they do help a tiny bit, and give the outside cavernosa a little extra rigity at this point, but still not enough for penetration, however, masturbation is possible with some work.  Climax and erection cause some pain in the saddle region and running down to the tip of the penis, as well as the lower back.

I am prescribed 5mg daily Cialis trial to see if this can at least help me with my symptoms for a month.  I have yet to check back with the urologist but the daily seems to at least be helping me a tiny bit with the flaccid state.  Side effects however are bad with severe headaches, dry eyes, and constant stuffy nose.

The Numbness and Thorasic Pain: March 2011

The tip of my right index finger and thumb begin to become completely numb for hours at a time, even while sitting and walking around.  This is a rare occurence but still seemed worth noting.  Also, I begin to notice some tingling sensations in my fingers and toes (on the right side as usual).  My foot begins to claw and cramp more often, along with my hand with any walking or physical activity for a short period of time.  All exercise has been stopped since January with hopes of improving symptoms, I have been sleeping on a moderately firm bed for a few months.  The pain in the front of my right lower leg has become very bad, however, I would say overall my leg pain has slightly subsided or plateaued at about a cosntant 5-6, which I would describe as high level of discomfort when not doing activity to a low-medium level of pain (6-7) while doing activity.  This is obviously terrible but it seems to have hit its peak, however, back pain, especially while sitting is worsening and is almost as uncomfortable and painful as my leg pain.  Back pain is obviously very severe during activity and having correct posture is almost impossible at this point, which I had had my entire life before the injury.

What's most disconcerting, is the high increase in pain in the dead-center of my back, above my lower back and below my neck.  It has hurt before maybe in the 1-2, but never as bad as my lower back, which now it does.  Whether this is due to a changing posture, muscle loss, etc I do not know but the pain is reaching the level of my shoulder and lower back.  It also shoots pain across the right middle back of my body to my underarm and front abdomen area.

Pain in my saddle area also starts to become a problem (2-3?) with a pressure feeling when I sit and a noticeable reduced anal tone and feeling like I have an object in my saddle.  Though a third urologist visit concludes that I am able to void completely, and another vasodilation test concludes that the genitals are again, not having a problem from leakage or a genital related disease, I feel that my power of my stream has become very reduced.

A New Pain & Serious Dysfunction: Winter 2010/2011

My face/shoulder pain turns into full blown arm pain, similar to my legs.  The pain seems to travel from my right neck and face into my deltoid, my front bicep, the top of my forearm, and into my fingers.  When asked, I would say the pain in my fingers is mostly located in the middle finger and sometimes index.  The pain also travels down the center of my right tricep and makes even my lighter lifting load extremely difficult.

EMGs are ordered in both my leg and arm and again prove negative.  Cervical MRI's reveal only a slight bulge in my cervical spine and possible an overly straight neck that may have been caused by muscle tightness from the affected nerve(?) in my arm.  I am not prescribed Lyrica, which like Neurontin, gives no aid whatsoever.

Brain MRI's also prove inconclusive.  I am ordered to see urologists for my increasing sexual dysfunction which has become very severe. Two urologist visits with doppler tests and injected vasodilation tests show that venuous leakage is very minor, if any.  Both urologists conclude that the problem is likely not related to genital or vascular function, and unlikely to be mental since I am handling the stress well at this point and have had zero problems with performance anxiety in the past.  I would rate my erection rigity at maybe 50% of what it used to be, with the only way to achieve erection with both visual and physical stimulation, focus, and laying on back.  Most noticeable, the underside and glans of penis can temporarily inflate when i bear down and clench my anus in but immediately unballoon.

I am on about my 4th nerve root injection, which at times can reproduce the same pain down my leg, but not make symptoms any better.

Possible Cyst & Amitytriptyline (sp?)
Amitytriptyline is prescribed to try and treat my worsening facial/neck pain with no results besides some side effects.  Multiple MRI's are ordered with and without contrast of my Brain and Pelvis.  The pelvis MRI reveals what I am told is a cyst in my pelvis.  I am told the cyst "may or may not" be causing any sexual pain or the earlier tailbone pain, but the Doctor believes probably not, and "even if it was the root of the pain, taking it out might be a little tricky".  So I am told to stop physical therapy, continue swimming, stop [attempting] light lifting and jogging.

Multiple MRIs were ordered on my sacral plexus and pelvis with and without contrast, I am not sure where the cyst is but here is a sample of images from one of the scans:

Traveling symptoms, things get worse: Fall 2010

Tailbone pain has almost entirely disappeared, being replaced by a sort of dull, numbing sensation in my tailbone area.  I am noticing a serious decrease in my erections and noticed that I have been without morning erections for some time, though, I achieve a partial morning erection at times when I have to urinate quite badly.  I would put the rigity of my erections at around 60-70% of what they used to be at this point, where most of rigity has been lost in non-balooning glans and the bottom side.

I also start noticing a strange facial/shoulder pain that I would put at about a 3 on the pain scale, and is similar to the pain I feel in my leg, and is unlikely to be a pull since I have considerably lightened my workout load.  I see a neurologist who is a family friend and am put on the maximum dose of Neurontin.

Here are some images of my Cervical Spine that are ordered later, as addressed in my later post, I am just trying to spread out the images per post:

A strange twist in the symptoms: Summer 2010

Late Spring/ Early Summer
After a first round of oral steroids proves worthless and the pain on the outside of my right knee is at an all time high, I am given another round of oral steroids and set up for future nerve root injections.  The pain is so severe that I have trouble simply walking home from class or walking around the boat on a cruise, with the majority of pain focused on the outside right of my knee and right calf, with medium pain down my right leg.

Early in the summer I begin my second round of steroids, after they run their course, I notice a steady decrease in my sharp sitting tailbone pain to a more numbing sensation over the course of a month or so.  Whether this is due to a changed sitting position, the oral steroids, or just the progression of the disease, I do not know but am incredibly relieved that it has become easier for me to sit at work and at the gym etc.  What's slightly disconcerting, is that a few weeks (maybe even a couple months?) after the pain almost turns into this numbing sensation while sitting, I begin to experience slight sexual dysfunction, with the ability to achieve erections much more difficult than before, as well as the absence of random erections and morning erections. What's more, I would rate my normal rigity of erection at about 75% of what it was just a few months to a season earlier.

My leg pain is increasingly worse, making it hard to walk simply from the parking lot to work without severely limping, I try to explain to coworkers who ask me why I am always limping that I am just going through some back issues and figuring things out at the moment, as I have been for almost the past year.

A random set of images from a lumbar MRI for a summer update:

A new height of pain: Spring 2010

By Spring I was barely able to run, though I continued to try on and off, I could only run for a few minutes before having to stop from pain in my leg.  The pain had become very sharp and shooting now into my calf more than anywhere in my body.  Lifting went from the passion of my life, to an uncomfortable annoyance, to extremely difficult with the amount of pain.  Both of these activities were done with extreme caution and new, light weight, more reps style.  My tailbone pain was at an all time high and my PT became quite worried by worsening symptoms, he sent me back to my orthopedic surgeon who referred me to a partner and practicing neurosurgeon who prescribed oral steroids and back injections.  An EMG is ordered on my right leg which comes up completely negative for any nerve damage.  Steroid injections are done on the right side of my knee to try and curb inflammation with little results.

Discovery & More Symptoms: Late Fall/Winter 2009

Over the course of a few weeks in the Fall, I began experiencing at first a small, sharp pain in my tailbone when I sat down, which grew into an intensely sharp pain that was worsened by sitting on a hard surface for even a few minutes.  The pain would subside if I flexed to push my tailbone off the surface a bit or if I got up and walked around or layed down.  If I sat for too long the pain could get so intense as to shoot into my saddle area.  My physical therapist, directed me to see an orthopedic surgeon and get my back looked at, and start seeing another physical therapist who specialized with tailbone problems, who tried to multiple tailbone "resets" on me by pushing the tailbone from internally with no results.
These may not be from this specific MRI but here are some images of my back:

The new orthopedist immediately recognized a slight bulge in my L4/L5 as well as DDD in my L4/L5 and L5/S1.  It is also discovered that I have one extra vertabrae, like 5-10% of the population.  He prescribed more PT for the back then would consider oral steroids and injections in the future.  At this point my physical therapy focused on deep tissue massage, building more strength in my already strong back and core, and rebuilding what appeared to be some already atrophying muscle in the right calf and leg.

The Beginning of Symptoms: Late Summer/Early Fall: August/September 2009

After some more time off from running, I decided to begin jogging and lifting again.  My right leg was now in more discomfort than ever before, despite giving myself plenty of time off, but I was still able to run close to what I did before, if not for an aching lower back and right leg afterwards.

As I continued to lift/run/and swim the pain became severe in the period of about a month.  With the pain evolving from the classic feeling of a dull ache from a healing pull or tear, something I was very aware of and not a stranger to.  To a searing, sharp pain down the outside right of my leg.  Swelling was bad on the outside right of my right knee, my lower back was getting much worse at a fast rate and I believed I had some sort of bursa on my knee so I pursued a sports medicine Doctor at OSU.  The doctor took some X-Rays and chalked the injury up to a hamstring injury and a pulled back muscle so I began physical therapy.  After a few months of therapy with only worsening symptoms my PT referred my back to the doctor, who sent me for blood tests, a pelvic bone scan, and a knee MRI.  All of these yielded negative results with exception of the MRI which only revealed some irritation of the IT band on the outside of the knee.  I was ordered back to physical therapy.

The Injury and Aftermath: June/July, Summer 2009

As the injury happened quite a while ago, keep in mind that the dates may be off a bit from such a long recall.

Towards the end of my summer semester, in late June/Early July, I was doing bent-over rows when I experienced almost a popping sensation and immediate, intense pain in my lower back.  It took my a full minute or so to fully stand upright from my bent forward position and decided that further lifting would be painful and impossible.  Instead of my normal light jog after my lift to cool off, I decided to walk back to my house.  The pain became much more severe and I decided to take a week or so off of lifting, but continued to try and jog a few days later, which proved to cause a slight pain in my lower back.  At this point, I felt the injury was minor and only a pulled back muscle.

When I returned to the gym a few weeks later I felt OK, not great, but definitely in good enough condition to return to my routine.  While there, I idiotically did the same lift and experienced the exact same pain in the same spot, this time with more intensity.  I was in agony at this point and decided to walk home again, this time taking some more time off lifting.  I could barely walk out of my room and coming down the stairs was a burden.  Even laying in my bed was a problem because of how soft it was, coughing and breathing caused slight discomfort.

After a just a week or so, the pain in my back subsided considerably and I decided to return to running.  At this time I was constantly continuing swimming since, although much discomfort came from back, it was not painful and actually felt better afterwards.

When I began running I noticed a higher level of discomfort in my lower back, as well a tiny amount of pain in my right buttock and IT band and hamstring area.  After the run, I went to get dinner where I experienced what can only be described as a full-body cramp.  Every single muscle I had plus some I didn't know I had, including muscles up my neck to my skull and face fully cramped for what was probably 30 seconds to a minute but felt like an eternity.  My friends wanted to take me to a hospital but I thought it was probably just lack of water/nutrients from getting back on my rigorous running routine (though I make sure to keep very hydrated and take vitamins).  My entire right leg would not stop cramping on and off for hours, I chugged Gatorade, ate a banana, and iced and massaged my leg, and got relief about an hour or so later when the cramping and muscle facillation subsided.

A Random X-Ray of my ok knee a few months after the injury just for some imagery:

Welcome & Pre-Injury: Summer 2009

Welcome to a personal journal of my fight against chronic pain caused by what is probably a mix of spinal issues.  The purpose of this blog is to give doctors and friends an overview to the history of my pain, as well as help me keep a more detailed record of my constantly evolving symptoms and attitude towards the problem.

Before the injury occured, I had never suffered any disease, serious injury, or affliction I know of besides a torn hip flexor a year before which may have slightly altered my gait, and a few broken bones in the past, neither of which were serious.  I have no family history of any type of disease or biological problem except for bad backs: my Father slipped his L4/L5 playing golf, suffered severe sciatic pain for a few months, got a lamenectomy (or possibly disectomy?) and was back to normal within 3 months, with no pain since then.

I was a lifetime athlete, playing a contact sport throughout college and was a workoutaholic.  Before my injury, I was running, on average, 2 times a day, with the addition of lifting 5 times a week and swimming 5 times a week, plus abs every day.  At this point, I was averaging easily over 100 miles a week.  My typical day consisted of Waking up, going to class, going for a jog, lifting, swimming, eating, doing work, then going for my endurance/long night run, then eating and relaxing.  I drink in moderation and ate relatively healthy for someone my age, weighing in at my all-time best of ~210+ pounds at just under 6' 4".