The beginning

About 10 years ago, i was diagnosed with spine cervical arthrosis, following a 25 year stint in the Canadian Airforce. That condition let to severe pain and migraines which became quickly a constant in my life. The dreams and aspiration of retired life were quickly fading away. I was lucky in a sense because i had help from VAC, so i did not have to look for a doctor like most do around here.

Surgery was not feasible, so i was left with little option at the time, going with the classic medication route. Anyone that knows about chronic pain would know that it takes a while to find the right medication: you try one for a few months before it could make a difference. If it does not work, you have to taper it off before trying a new one. With that could come side effects and withdrawal effects. After a few years, nothing was working, even at maximum dosage. The pain was even worse, and at that point was very depressed and pretty much confined to a couch.

I was very fortunate to be referred to a neurosurgeon in Montreal. She was specialized in pain management, but had access to brand new bio-technologies and a new class of medication that i never heard of. I stopped all the medication i was using beforehand, which took many weeks.

I decided on my own that i WAS going to hike again some day. My psychologist was trying her best and helping me grieve the fact that i could not, but deep down inside i could not give up.

One January morning i decided to brave the cold and i walked about 200 yards. I was in pain for about a day after, hurting all over but i persisted and repeated day after day. After a week, i added the span of the next telephone pole. Rince and repeat.

After what was a few months i was able to walk about 1/2 mile. At that point, i decided to try to walk twice in a day instead of adding more distance. Combined with the new medication, that did the trick. Month after month, i could eventually walk about a mile or so, and the pain was about the same as if i just stayed home and watched TV. My overall health and mood became much better, and i was able eventually to start hiking small mountains.

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