The right time to stop having mammograms
usually is the right time to have that discussion, but earlier is fine, especially in women who have other chronic health conditions.
DEAR DR. ROACH: In 2013, I suffered terribly with sciatica. The pain was more than excruciating -- it felt like a knife was stuck in my leg. I also had numbness in my toes. I had a CAT scan, which showed spinal stenosis, and I was scheduled for a laminectomy and spinal fusion. The surgery was a complete success. However, I thought that the numbness would go away after the surgery, but it hasn’t. Even now, I still feel some tingling and sharp pains in my toes or foot, and more than three years later I still have the numbness in my toes, foot and leg, up to my knee. Is it likely this is permanent nerve damage? -- J.B.
ANSWER: Spinal stenosis is a common condition, where the spinal cord or nerve roots of the cord are compressed by bony structures related to arthritis of the spine. The major symptoms are pain and numbness. Weakness is the most worrisome symptom, and progressive weakness is a surgical emergency.
After successful surgery, the symptoms are relieved, but in my mind, surgery is not completely successful unless all of the symptoms are gone. Your surgeon may have done as good a job as humanly possible; however, nerves do not always recover 100 percent of their function. If nerve recovery is going to happen, it usually does so by the end of the first year.
DEAR ABBY: I’m in my 60s, fit, sexually able and I desire physical relations. My wife, because of health issues, is no longer interested in sex. In fact, it would be at least mildly painful to her.
I recently met a lady my age who is in the same predicament. She has a sexual appetite; her husband does not. She hinted she would be interested in being “friends with benefits.” I didn’t pursue the hint because it caught me by surprise and I wasn’t quick-witted enough to follow up on it at the time.
I am wondering if such a relationship is acceptable with today’s mores and the circumstances. No, I won’t discuss this with my wife. It would only hurt her feelings and strain our relationship. Should I pursue the hint? -- FOLLOW UP ON THE HINT
DEAR FOLLOW UP: I would not advise pursuing the “hint” -- which appears to me to be more of a full frontal assault -- without thinking very carefully. The problem with adulterous relationships is that more often than not, the spouse catches on. If you think that by not talking this out with your wife you will be sparing her feelings, you are wrong. When, not if, she finds out, she will be devastated.
As women age their bodies change, and sex can become painful. But that can be remediated in many cases with prescription and other medications. It’s possible they could help your wife. Of course, that’s not going to happen unless