“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or having everything happen at once.” — Paulo Coelho
Talk about a crazy month.
I married the love of my life in a magical ceremony, surrounded by the people we love most in the world…
We adopted two chickens from Luckenbach, Texas (that’s them in the Shiner Bock beer box)…
My shiny new husband and I went on a glorious mini honeymoon in Northern California…
Then we moved out of our house, packed everything into pods, and saddled up to relocate to Atlanta for a fresh start…
…only to find out a few days before the move that I need back surgery!
Always in my life things have come in waves, and long ago I got used to the ebb and flow of good and bad, but this particular wave has knocked me over and I’m still fighting to catch my breath.
We were in the midst of packing up the house when we got the test results back from an MRI I had done back in April showing a herniation in L4, nerve compression, stenosis, as well as a creeping arthritis and small tear in L3. During the moving-out process, I had become increasingly incapacitated and spent most of the weekend lying on the floor on a yoga mat moaning while Chris, my brother-in-law and another heroic friend did the heavy lifting. New tenants were moving in, and staying one more month in our home wasn’t an option. We had to scramble to put together a Plan B. The back pain got so bad so fast that it soon became impossible for me to stand up straight, sit, walk or even lie down for more than 20 minutes. I looked in the mirror one morning and I looked like a sideways S. Flying (or driving) across the country was no longer an option.
So…instead of spending our glorious newly-wedded bliss reveling in a new city, we said a said goodbye and began playing a waiting game. Chris drove across the country solo in order to be in Atlanta for work, and I stayed in Los Angeles to meet with spine surgeons and get second opinions. I had a back surgery done in 2005 — my friends and family know that it was the single toughest thing I have ever gone through due to some devastating complications. It is hard to believe that I will need to get through it again but I will.
Compounding the whole messy situation is the fact that we don’t know yet whether the back injury is related to the boat accidents from last year, or if it is a problem that would have happened on its own, or if the accidents exacerbated a problem that was already there. And because the disc is torn and has herniated, there is the risk of long-term nerve damage if it’s not taken care of quickly. There is no “quickly” in the Wonderful World of Workers’ Comp*…so I have been seeing my own doctors rather than wait.
This could so easily turn into a rant but I won’t let it. A few months ago, the thought of another surgery following so soon on top of that mindfuck of a shoulder surgery would have sent me into a tailspin. Now, however, I would give anything for the pain to stop so that I can resume a vertical life. The only thing I can compare this back pain to is one of those white-hot toothaches, the kind that leave you sobbing and begging and staggering around the streets in search of a dentist who can help. I’d have to ask women who have had kids or men who have been kicked in the beanbags whether those are worse or better experiences on the “I want to die just so it will stop” pain management scale.
Tomorrow morning I’m getting an epidural steroid injection. That’s the final step of the “conservative” treatment, and the two surgeons I have consulted so far have told me that they don’t expect it will stop the pain itself but it will be a valuable diagnostic tool for surgery. So, onward and upward. I’ll leave you with this inspirational quote on top of a stock photo which I have always despised. Screaming and enjoying the ride are not mutually exclusive!
* Coming up next: a post on how to navigate Workers’ Comp if you have been injured during a production. I have learned so much in my past six months and I am hoping that I can shed some insight to others in the same boat…er…situation.