Oct 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) prior to game two of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Empathy for Braves' Mike Minor, Literally!

I had one of those days at work, where I was so swamped I spent the entire day two steps forward, and one step back.  Busy as a whole family of beavers, I didn’t learn about Mike Minor’s surgery until I saw a reference to it in our own Julien Benjamin’s poll article, Who Do You Want for 2014 Opening Day Starter?  Julien referenced a tweet from Braves’ beat reporter, Mark Bowman…

Obviously curious about the entire story, I read Bowman’ article on Mike, and experienced two different kinds of pain!  First off, I like Mike Minor as a pitcher, and personally feel he should be the Braves’ #1 in the rotation for 2014.  He still may well be their most accomplished pitcher, but the surgery he underwent will most likely knock him out of that opening day start.  As for the surgery he underwent this off-season, Minor reportedly had some scar tissue surgically removed from his urethra!  Ouch!  I can see guys everywhere cringing as they sub-consciously reach down to protect their family jewels.  Yes, just thinking about that hurts!

Apparently, Minor has had problems urinating for the last two years, and has seen multiple doctors to try and figure out the cause.  The problem apparently go worse until a trip to the emergency room was required when he could not longer urinate at all!  That’s when surgery became imminent.  According to Bowman,

After a Vanderbilt University surgeon performed the procedure on Dec. 31, Minor was forced to deal with two catheters and remain inactive throughout most of January. The inability to complete his normal preseason preparations during this stretch led to him feeling some shoulder discomfort when he reported to Spring Training.

I mentioned my first pain was my disappointment that Minor might not start on time (although thankfully it shouldn’t be much of a setback), and according to manager, Fredi Gonzalez, Minor should be ready to go by April 10th.  My second pain upon hearing the news about Minor’s surgery was purely one of empathy.  You see, it was like deja vu when I read Mark Bowman’s article, because I experienced the same thing Mike did back around 1993.

I don’t usually get this personal in my articles, but when I read what Mike had experienced, I felt I had to share.  Back in 92-93, I had increasing trouble urinating.  I had no infections, wasn’t an old guy or anything, but just had a weak stream while urinating, so much so that I usually had to sit down just to urinate.  I ignored it for the most part, but like Mike I did go to see several urologist looking for a cause.  No cause was ever really found.  Like Minor, my problem got worse until one day I had to use the bathroom, but simply couldn’t!  It was pure agony!  I had to go to the emergency room, and they had to perform a a procedure to open up my urethra that I can only describe as medieval!  The good news is that after they did that, and after a few weeks recovery time, I was back to normal and have never had any major problems since.

Around 2006, I began to experience some other issues, and through several other doctor visits learned that I have Multiple Sclerosis.  Describing many of my symptoms over the years to my neurologist, he told me that the urethral problem I had back in 1993 could well have been neurological.  Back then, they didn’t have to perform surgery on me (thank God!) like they did Mike, but his story hit very close to home.

I’m not at all implying that Mike should go see a neurologist, but I do know that my urologists in 1993 said that I probably had “urethral stricture or scarring” from some accident as a child (same thing they told Mike), and they recommended that once every six months or so I go and have urethral dilatation.  I’ll let you look that up, but trust me when I say it’s not pleasant even though it’s out-patient, and recovery is one day.  I did that for about a year and a half until I had had enough, and simply stopped doing it.  I’ve not had any problems at all even after I stopped the dreaded 6 month dilatations.  My urologists inquired as to why I hadn’t visited in a while, and my reply was simply that “I haven’t had any issues!”  I hope Mike’s problem is not neurological, but I couldn’t help but wonder.  I’m on medication for my MS, but I haven’t had to have another dilatation in years!

Whatever the cause for Mike’s problems, whether scarring or something more substantial, I hope the surgery has solved his issues.  I know from experience how painful and dreadful the whole thing can be, how embarrassing it can be, and how reluctant one can be to talk about such things.  Mike is a great pitcher, and has such great potential, my hope is that this little setback will be for him just a one time thing, and a simple little hiccup in the road of a long career.

Some of you may be wondering how I am doing with my MS.  I’m doing well, and leading a normal life.  It’s tough at times, but my parents raised a tough kid.  I think Mike Minor is tough too, and I cannot wait to see him back in action in 2014.  Go Braves!

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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