Back! (Sort of…)

At breakfast this morning, a woman at the table next to me leaned over and said, “I hope that our talking won’t disturb you.” She sat with three other women and it looked as though they might be there for a work-related meeting.

I was surprised! It’s usually chaotic in the cafes I like to sit in, and I’ve gotten used to reading or writing above all the noise. I told her not at all, and thanked her for being so considerate.

Not that anyone should have worried about disturbing me. Right now I’m obsessed with Stephen King’s “Hearts in Atlantis” and that’s what I was working on this morning. I just needed to get out of the apartment for a bit—partly because our house cleaner is here doing her thing—and partly because I’m going stir crazy after being holed up for almost two weeks.

On Monday the 17th my ever-present threat of lower back disaster became reality when I sneezed and threw out two herniated discs. They’d been killing me for weeks, and I knew it was coming. Sitting at the last job I had for four months, 10 to 12 hours, four days each week, really did a number on me. Not only did that aggravate my back, but it also caused some sort of problem with my left hip joint. I’ve had pain there as well, especially when I walk, since July.

When I finished that job on August 24th, I started working out like mad. I was up to an hour walk in the park and 30 to 40 minutes of strength training videos almost daily. I think Jillian Michaels’ plank poses were the final straw. I was so proud that I had worked up to being able to do the full sets, and just starting to feel a slight change in my body, when I had to suddenly lie flat in excruciating pain for a week.

That week I missed my free memoir writing class, a day with my Kirin girls that I see only once or twice each year, and a visit with a former Columbia classmate visiting from Canada. I wasn’t able to write (and never thought of a dictation app until after I was able to sit up again) so the book progress was halted-but I’m back at it now. I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been concentrating on the book.

I’ve had these herniated discs since 1990 when I experienced the third of six car accidents I’ve had in my life, between 1975 and 1999. In this particular case, after our car was hit, I was actually personally hit by the car as I stood on the road and thrown several feet onto the embankment along the highway. If you want more details, you’ll have to wait for the book. The point I’m making here is simply that my back is a hot mess.

I’m going to look into surgery. The doctors wanted to do surgery in the 90s, but I said no way. It terrified me, and still does. I think the technology is much better now though, and have heard that they can do it without an incision. We’ll see. I have a lot of research to do. If any of you reading have had this surgery please feel free to comment.

I’m not getting any younger, and I’m tired of having to limit my exercise and even daily activities just because it might throw my back out. If I’m in this much pain at 42, what will my quality of life be like at 62? I’ve got to do something-and now while I’m not working is the perfect time.

By the way, you might remember a few weeks ago when I fell in my apartment? Well something is definitely still wrong with my big toe joint too…lots of pain there to go with the hip and back. It’s ridiculous. I have an appointment next Tuesday to get the referrals to check all of this out.

I probably won’t blog again for a while. I’m on a mission to really make headway with my memoir. In the meantime, please subscribe to me on Instagram or Twitter: @Teeteeinthecity.

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2 Responses to Back! (Sort of…)

  1. Back problems are the worst. Funny though, the more exercise I get, the better my back feels. Rocket science! I havent thrown it in over four years now. Typical work outs are good — yoga is even better for my back.

  2. Exercise is definitely the key to not throwing it out for me too…I just did too much after it was aggravated by the sitting all day. I should have eased into it. Yoga is actually the worst thing for me, I’ve done it a few times and it’s always caused a lot of back pain. I once heard a physical therapist say that the greatest number of her patients’ issues stem from yoga injuries. I think there’s a fine line that’s easily crossed with it, you have to really know your body well and not force things that don’t feel right. Do you have disc problems? There’s also a big difference for me between the muscles straining in my lower back and the actual discs going “out.” I pretty much live full time with the strain pain, but the discs only go out every few years.

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