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One year anniversary
Old 01-23-2016, 08:44 AM   #1
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One year anniversary

Today is my 51th birthday and my 1st anniversary of retirement. My wife also retired the same day. Its been a big year of change.

We retired on Jan 23rd. The first week of Feb I started doing to some work around the house in preparation to sell the house that we built 20 years earlier and the only house our 16 year old son had ever lived in. I've had back and neck problems for 25 years and while laying floor tile I seriously hurt my back. I literally went 4 months without being able to sit down.

After trying everything else, I went to a neurosurgeon who determined that I needed surgery. I had a previous neck fusion surgery in 2000 and my neck was also hurting. The doc also said I needed another neck surgery but it would have to wait until my back healed. So I had the back surgery in May with expectation that I would be able to play golf by Aug.

I lived in the Dallas metroplex for 37 years (actually 34, with a 3 year stint living in Germany while in the Army). On July4th, 2015, we moved to the Ft. Lauderdale area to be close to family. We packed up and moved halfway cross country with me still in serious pain and taking pain killers like breath mints.

As for the estimate by the surgeon that I would be 100% by Aug, lets just say that I still havent picked up a golf club. I am back to living day to day without too much pain and havent taken any meds since Thanksgiving but I still have discomfort every day and still have numbness in my right thigh. The new doc here in Florida told me that he doesnt believe I need neck surgery now but will in the future. Its a major surgery since I already have one level fused. My neck had been feeling pretty good up until about a week ago. I feel like my spine is a hose with a kink in it. Every time you unkink it, it re-kinks somewhere else.

After my 1 year, the SP500 is -5% or so incl dividends. Not exactly what I hoped for in my first year of retirement. My portfolio has a return of about -2.5% so its not the end of the world and we have a serious amount of discretionary spending in our budget so all is fine.

We love to travel and have been trying to take a trip somewhere every month. The last couple months we havent been anywhere due to the holidays and spending time with family, but we start again in Feb when we are going to New Orleans for Valentines Day.

I bought a new guitar and will start taking lessons in the coming weeks. Im decent but havent played a lot in the past few years and want to brush up.

I used to be a very well known online poker player back in the day. I made a good amount of money and sunk it into the stock market. It just happened to be late 2008 and early 2009 when I tossed it all in in a couple large lump sums, so obviously I excel in the luck department.

My back is well enough to do just about anything that's not too physical. So far, I still cant play golf, volleyball, basketball, run and other active things that I would love to be doing, but what I can do finally is sit down for long periods. There is a large poker room 7 miles from me and Ive been going regularly so I guess you could say Im living the life of a professional poker player right now. I have a pension but my wifes pension doesnt start until June 2017. Our plan calls for unsustainably large withdrawals between now and then and then much smaller withdrawals once her pension starts. Lets just say that my winnings have been easily enough to replace the withdrawals that I would otherwise be taking right now which is great considering the state of the market.

Its hard to say that 2015 wasnt a good year since we retired but I was seriously in more pain that I can describe. Ive had 4 surgeries and a host of other injuries but nothing compares to severe nerve pain. Im confidant that 2016 will be an outstanding year and we are really looking forward from here!
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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Nice upbeat ending...

I had back surgery, fused vertebra a number of years ago. I took great care about twisting and lifting things and wearing the ugly brace for as long as needed plus little extra.
It turned out good for me, still fine years later.
I feel lucky.

A relative had the same surgery, didn't really follow the recovery plan, now still has issues and may need a re-do operation.
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:39 AM   #3
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Congratulations on your one year retirement anniversary!

So sorry to read about your back/neck trouble and pain. Moving can be awfully stressful, both physically and mentally. I hope that by now you can kick back a little and just focus on enjoying the rest of your retirement.

2015 brought me cataract surgery, Type 2 diabetes, two broken toes, a head injury, and yet another dental implant, and more. I'd probably have felt like I was 150 years old if I had had all these physical problems during my first year of retirement. So, kudos to you for maintaining a positive attitude as much as possible during all you have been going through. I fully expect 2016 to be a much better year for both of us. Why shouldn't it be? We both have many happy years ahead of us.

I'm glad your poker playing has worked out so well for you thus far. I'd rather just invest, which is way better suited to my personality and lifestyle.
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:45 AM   #4
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Sorry for all your physical pain. Hopefully you can be managed with med's and future surgeries. Glad you have something like poker to keep you busy and profitable at the same time. None of my hobbies are like that. Ha.
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:51 AM   #5
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I'm afraid I'd be a very cranky person/poster if I was in that much pain for so long. You're not on my ignore list and I can't recall you being a candidate, good for you for keeping a good attitude and having a good outlook for this year!
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:00 AM   #6
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Happy anniversary. May 2016 be a better year than last year with respect to health.
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:24 PM   #7
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Congrats and hope you heal quickly.
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:43 PM   #8
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Congrats on your 1 yr anniversary. Glad to hear that you are slowly healing. I will echo the others, on your having a great attitude. Here's to hoping for a much better retirement year in 2016.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:42 PM   #9
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Hope the back situation improves so you can be more active in 2016 and congrats on all you accomplished last year.
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Old 01-25-2016, 03:49 AM   #10
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Interesting story, thanks for sharing. I retired in Sept 2006 age 56 which was a few months earlier than planned because I hurt my back and was confined to a wheel chair. My boss saw me in this condition and basically told me to retire on the spot. I did. Took about 3 months to get better after a series of cotisone shots. Not a great way to start a retirement. Back has been good since then but I do exercises for if every day,

You are a young man and have a long retirement ahead of you. Backs almost always improve over time although surgery is sometimes needed. Good luck.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:45 AM   #11
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My goal this year is to go the entire 2016 without going to the doctor. At this point I would say its 50/50. I haven't been to the doctor for anything other than joint issues for a million years, but my joints/back/neck have caused problems for 25 years. Ive had surgeries on my right elbow, left shoulder, neck and back.

There was another crazy side effect of my back injury. I could only sleep on my stomach for a long time and I started sleeping with my arms tucked under my chest. I started waking up with my arms asleep and my hands burning. After a while, if I bent my arms past 90 degrees I would get a severe surge of pain down my arm that felt like an electric shock. It turned out I had ulna nerve entrapment. It was much worse in my left arm and I couldnt even scratch my face or wash my hair because I couldnt bend my arm at the elbow. Its mostly gone now but I still have minor burning in my left forearm now and then and it feels like the nerve is still pinched inside my shoulder. If I do pushups or any kind of shoulder exercise, it gets inflamed again and my arm will burn for the next few days. Needless to say, I wont be working out for a while until Im sure its gone, but I really enjoy being active so its making me feel 71 instead of 51.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:59 AM   #12
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Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary and hope that you recover soon.
Look forward to a healthy & happy retirement going forward.
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Old 01-25-2016, 01:47 PM   #13
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Thank you for making me thankful for my good health. I know how painful such things are from friends who finally had disks fused.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:17 PM   #14
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Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary and hope that you recover soon.
Look forward to a healthy & happy retirement going forward.
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:54 PM   #15
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Congratulations! Hoping you recover fully.
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by kimcdougc View Post
Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary and hope that you recover soon.
Look forward to a healthy & happy retirement going forward.
+1 Congrats and best wishes!
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:58 AM   #17
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Sorry to hear about your maladies
1) if you can walk, walk
2) if you can ride a bike - build up to it then cycle to poker
3) I slept like a baby until I had my knee replaced - now I wake up with an ache knee and I too sleep on my hands which 'fall asleep'
4) the problem isn't about going to the dr. The problem is we are all getting older. I had my neck fused years ago. Neck doesn't hurt anymore and my once arthritic knee is nearly pain free. Don't hope to not visit the Dr. - Hope to feel good!



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Old 01-27-2016, 08:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
Sorry to hear about your maladies
1) if you can walk, walk
2) if you can ride a bike - build up to it then cycle to poker
3) I slept like a baby until I had my knee replaced - now I wake up with an ache knee and I too sleep on my hands which 'fall asleep'
4) the problem isn't about going to the dr. The problem is we are all getting older. I had my neck fused years ago. Neck doesn't hurt anymore and my once arthritic knee is nearly pain free. Don't hope to not visit the Dr. - Hope to feel good!



Sent from my iPad using Early Retirement Forum.
Youre going to have to trust me on this one. STOP sleeping with your hands/ arms tucked under you. You have no idea what pain you are headed for if you get ulna nerve entrapment and it sounds like you are on your way.

I walk 2 miles every day and it helps alot but it took me this long to be able to. I cant ride a bike because it hurts my neck. I guess I could ride an incumbant bike but havent tried. I go to the gym and ride a stationary bike where I can sit up straight and not worry about leaning over and holding handle bars.
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:45 AM   #19
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I'm afraid I'd be a very cranky person/poster if I was in that much pain for so long. You're not on my ignore list and I can't recall you being a candidate, good for you for keeping a good attitude and having a good outlook for this year!
+1 I have friends going through similar painful maladies and am surprised as to how well they are dealing with it. I suppose that you have no choice and just play with the hand you are dealt.

I don't have anyone on my ignore list, but if I did you might be a candidate.

Best of luck utrecht.
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