Cluster of Snowdrops

Life doesn’t turn out how you think it will. I was injured in a car acci­dent 18 years ago. My spine hasn’t been the same since. I still believe I was lucky. My seat belt kept me from being killed. I was in the best phys­i­cal shape I’ve ever been in at the time of the acci­dent. Instead of get­ting a bro­ken back or pelvis, I merely sprained every ver­te­bra in my spine. The back spe­cial­ist I saw at the time gave in to the pres­sure put on him to tell me there was noth­ing he could do for me. Four years of chi­ro­practy, mas­sage, acupunc­ture, and yoga was what I did to recover.

But the pain has never been com­pletely gone and so, in a way, has become a con­stant com­pan­ion and teacher. I’ve had to learn how to cope with incred­i­ble pain with­out pain med­ica­tion. Because those meds make me so sick, I’d rather just deal with the pain than not be able to func­tion at all. I’ve had to learn to bear the pain with­out snap­ping at peo­ple and being gloomy all the time. And I’ve learned how to pull myself out of bed in the morn­ing despite how I feel, because Johann needs me to take care of him and there is work to be done. It has helped me under­stand and empathize with peo­ple who suf­fer with chronic ill­ness in a way that I couldn’t oth­er­wise. I’ve learned patience. I’ve learned how to slow down. And I’ve learned how to set the pain aside to enjoy the good times and smile, rather than allow the pain to be all I experience.

I’ve had times where it has been bet­ter and found things that have helped a lot, like phys­i­cal ther­apy, acupunc­ture, and yoga. And let me tell you, the bun warmer fea­ture on our new car is heav­enly! But there is still some­thing wrong and when­ever I try to do every­thing I want, what I used to take for granted and think of as nor­mal daily activ­i­ties such as gar­den­ing, play­ing tag with Johann, or lift­ing a heavy box, pain stops me in my tracks.

Not every­one has believed me. Some peo­ple have even said they thought I was mak­ing it up or it’s not as bad as I say it is. Well, I don’t know what to say to that with­out being unkind, so it’s best to keep my thoughts to myself, but I will say it hasn’t been fun for me to have every­thing I do to be over­shad­owed by my back prob­lems. I also know that unless you expe­ri­ence it first­hand, you prob­a­bly aren’t going to truly under­stand how dif­fi­cult and painful it is to live with.

Newly Emerging Snowdrop Bud

The past year has been even worse and has greatly lim­ited my abil­ity to do a lot of things. When I over­did it this past Christ­mas Eve and re-injured my back just by bend­ing over, stand­ing up too quickly and twist­ing to walk in the oppo­site direc­tion, I decided to try to see the doc­tor about it again. She ordered phys­i­cal ther­apy and pre­scribed mus­cle relax­ants. I told her not to bother with the pain med­ica­tion if all she could give me was Vicodin. The last time I took Vicodin, I was so sick all I could do was lie on the couch. I couldn’t even lift my head off of the pil­low and I for­got an entire day that I was awake for. Thanks, but no thanks!

The phys­i­cal ther­apy helped like it did last year, but as soon as I ran out of vis­its, the pain increased. I finally got a refer­ral to the spe­cial­ist I am see­ing now. He believes me and asked all the right ques­tions. Isn’t that nice? I just real­ized at that first visit that all the symp­toms I’ve lived with for so many years, because I thought I had no choice and it became the norm, actu­ally indi­cate a seri­ous prob­lem. He ordered X-rays and an MRI.

Our health insur­ance issues with Eric los­ing his fund­ing and us hav­ing to get on state insur­ance took a month to resolve, but I was finally able to get the X-rays that were ordered at the end of Feb­ru­ary done yes­ter­day. The MRI is sched­uled for next week. Then the doc­tor will be able to tell me what can be done. He said he didn’t know if I’d need surgery or not until he gets the test results back. Hope­fully not. But it is clear there is pres­sure on the discs in my lower back and that is what is caus­ing the numb­ness and nerve pain down both legs into my feet.

Multiplying Snowdrops

So here’s my grat­i­tude jour­nal entry for today. I noticed this morn­ing that even more snow drops are bloom­ing and they are prop­a­gat­ing them­selves quite nicely. They are even more beau­ti­ful than yes­ter­day, despite the harsh tem­per­a­tures. Also, my gui­tar teacher noticed I was in pain today and gave me an empathic, know­ing smile. Then he bright­ened and asked me if I was going to get a tita­nium spine out of this. I smiled and said that I didn’t know, but that would be cool. Then I can be the bionic woman or, as he and Johann said, like Wolver­ine! Except Johann thought my name should be Tan­garine. Yes, I will be the bionic mother warn­ing all chil­dren to eat their fruits and veg­eta­bles, or PAY THE CONSEQUENCES!