Sorry for the late reply everyone, but I was busy at work as it is year end.
Firstly, I am very touched at how you all chime in with great advice and thoughts on how I should proceed. We sure do have a great community here and I am very proud to be a part of it. I wish I could travel the world and thank you all personally for giving me some direction when I needed it most.
As you all can see, I have always been emotional about my lifting. I know some of you are not so much, but I cannot help it. The reason I am is because my whole life is wrapped around it, and lifting has always improved every facet of my life. I met my wife at the gym while squatting. It has helped me deal with the emotions of the abuse by my late Father, and the subsequent forgiveness of him, and the death of my Mother last year. Attending my first 2 meets in 2012 has also helped my whole family get closer - closer than we have ever been, which is what my mother wanted. We even spoke about it the night she passed.
As you also may or may not know, I was told last week by my eye surgeon that my Birdshot is now untreatable. There is some faint hope to save my eyesight tho. I have an appt. booked in March with another specialist, and it will then be determined whether or not I will qualify for some special meds that may help combat the Birdshot systemically. The concern is that these drugs will tamper with my immune system, which is causing the Birdshot. I am not sure if tampering with my immune system is worth saving my eyesight.
With all this said, I am determined to continue lifting, albeit without deadlift or any lift which leaves my back unsupported, and compete in Bench only. Off Road told me that he was given wise advice once that a strong back is a healthy back. So, i also want to do any lifts I can for my whole body. Squats are also OK, but are capped at 365 for now, provided my back is healed and at 100%. He fears any weight above that will likely cause a re-occurrence.
So, JB and CO. - how about turning me into a world class bencher? Who would have thunk it. Bench has always been my nemesis, but I now want to turn it into my best lift. I have been thinking about this since Wednesday. The only speed bump may be my tremors, which I am sure you have all witnessed in my bench vids.
I also realize I am fortunate to be able to lift at all. There are certainly others who have been thru worse and rose to the challenge. So can and will I.
Leaving deadlifts behind for the foreseeable future is really tugging at my Heartstrings. However, your all right - the risk of perhaps becoming a cripple or bedridden is not worth it. The last thing I and my family needs is for me to be both crippled and blind.
I do have second and third opinions coming. One appointment is booked for March. David, my physiotherapist, is going to give me a referral to yet another sports medicine Doc. Not sure when that appointment will come, as David said he has a long waiting list. However, he might be able to help. I also have an appt. booked with a Chiropractor on Monday. She was highly recommended to me today by someone who has been in a car accident.
This problem (I don't like to call it an injury as it was not caused by my powerlifting) is 100% structure related. My soft tissue is actually OK and will remain so, as long as I don't continue to push it to the breaking point, like I have been. If this Chiro Doc cannot help, I hope she will recommend one who can. David and the Doc also told me no exercises will resolve my issue. However, they were all for strengthening it further with alternative lifts.
So, if anyone, including JB, has any programs to turn me into a "Bodybuilder" who specializes in a big power bench, please let me know. I am far from being washed up and I of course want to be a productive and active part of MAB forever. I just really love you all for all you say and do to help not only me, but all members here. God bless you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart guys and girls.