There is something about death,
It hits you in the gut,
Knocks you down,
You think of everything that you wish you had said,
And you are reminded of them,
In the little things.
The wind blows,
And you remember their voice.
As your heart breaks
Knowing you will no longer pass them on the street,
Never again say "hello, how are you"
Never again hear their stories.
And your eyes fill,
Tears for all of those in their life who were closer than you,
Hoping they have no regrets.
There is something about death,
You know, I never really gave chronic pain much thought before. I suppose that until you have it, no one really does think about it much.
These days I think of chronic pain all off the time, because I'm suffering from it. I feel ok in the morning, and so I go about my day. I often over do it, like I did today. So I end up with nerve impingement. Pins and needles all up and down my right leg. It feels like water being poured down my leg, warmth or burning on the outside of my right foot. Crampong in my calf. And worst of all, a feeling of weakness in my foot.
And so I spend hours and hours reading about the condition I have. Success stories from surgeries. Reasons not to get the surgery, reasons to get it. Around and around I go in the merry-go-round of spondy information. I feel like I'm spinning from it all, and still I don't know what to do.
I'm tryng to get a second opinion, from an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in the spine. But since he's a second opinion, I have his hoops to jump through tio see him. (Including getting a referral from my primary care doctor.)
I also need to get in to see a pain doctor, which I'm scared of, but I don't have to take opioids, I'm just hoping three are other options for me.
And now I need to go make dinner so I can go to bed early in hopes of stopping the nerve pain today.
I feel like I am always reading articles, blog posts, forums, about spondylolisthesis. I am torn on what to do. I mean obviously there is no prefect time to have surgery. Being "out of commission" for around 6 weeks, unable to drive at all for about the same, scares me.
So does worsening pain. The thought that I could need an emergency surgery, or be left with permanent nerve damage, terrifies me.
I'm 40, this isn't something I should be facing right now. I know my pain isn't yet that bad, MOST OF THE TIME. But I have days where it is, and I can't figure out what makes it better or worse. Well, if I'm lazy and do nothing I am likely to feel better than if I spent my day on my feet. But are there simple things I do on a good day? Like "today i stretched and iced my back and I was in less pain" or "today i vacuumed and swept and was in more pain". I really should keep track of my pain level and my activity level.
Of course if I go see the Dr and he'll order a flexion/extension x-ray to see if my spondy is stable, and it turns out it isn't? I feel like that would be a HUGE reason to seriously consider the surgery.
All I know is that if I can maintain where I am I might be ok, but if it keeps getting worse? I can't even imagine.
I am seriously considering surgery to "fix" my back. I recently had a follow up MRI to check my slippage. Since April 2017 my L5 has moved and I know I'm having more pain. And it looks like L4 might be moving as well.
Today I was cooking dinner, I had been standing up in the kitchen for 30 minutes and suddenly it felt like the outside of my right leg was covered in goose bumps (there were none!) That was 3 hours ago and my leg still feels wrong. I keep having strange sensations up and down it. I took a hot bath hoping for relief, but even while I was in there I could feel the nerve pain, like pouring burning coffee down my leg.
Ever since I read my MRI results I've been feeling so afraid. I was sort of ok before that. But I feel depressed and miserable.
I know Will is 100% supportive of surgery because he knows I don't make these choices lightly, and he had known people who've had similar life altering surgeries with excellent results.
But I'm afraid, still. It is surgery. It isn't a guaranteed fix. My Dr said I have an 80% chance of relief because my pain is mostly nerve pain. And there is a long recovery period. That's scary.
But feeling like this for the rest of my life is scary, too. I said if there was changes in the MRI I would really look into surgery, because what's the likelihood it will continue to get worse? How likely am I to eventually get to the point of not being able to walk more than 5 minutes?
Making this choice is difficult. I wish there was a sure fire way to make the right one. But I'll spend the next month researching.
18 years ago I got pregnant. But I didn't know it right away. I had recently had a miscarriage, and had just stated birth control pills. I was 22, not married, had recently broken up with the guy who had asked me to marry him after dating for less than 6 months. I was a mess. I was not ready to be a mom to anyone, I still needed my own mom.
My family was going on a vacation to see my relatives (family reunion) in South Dakota. So I tagged along. I had no job, nothing. I had quit smoking, I was trying to figure myself out. But it felt like I was always doing that.
During the reunion I got really sick, like everything made me want to throw up. Water with lemon? Gag. But my little brother was also sick, so I thought nothing of it. That drive home from South Dakota to Arizona was the longest car ride ever. We stopped and visited people, I tried not to throw up.
After we got home, nothing made my stomach feel better. One day I was sitting at my good friend's house, she was 6 months pregnant, and mentioned that maybe I was.
We went to the store and bought a pregnancy test. The second line appeared almost immediately. I was excited, scared, worried. My mom and dad were so supportive. They helped me get insurance (through the state, because I was too old to be on theirs) payed for a few college courses so I wasn't sitting at home feeling miserable all day. I don't know what would have happened to me if they hadn't been so supportive.
As for the father? Well, we emailed a bit. We met once while I was pregnant. It was all so awkward, because I was a mess and he was afraid. He wasn't with me through the pregnancy, or even the birth. I regret not inviting him to important appointments, like the anatomy scan where we found out baby was a girl. But soon after she was born, we started dating again, and went on to get married and have 3 more beautiful daughters.
You never really know what path you'll take. Even if you have a clear idea of what your life will look like. But that journey is what makes you the person you are, who pay attention along the way, and enjoy your life.
I can feel it again, the swirling feeling, like I'm sinking. I want to be numb because I don't want to feel.
Depression is an evil mistress. She lies and lies. She makes you think things that are completely untrue. She whispers these untruths in your ear softly, you barely hear then at first, but they get louder and louder and louder until it sounds like screaming, drowning out all of the good voices, pushing them down.
Depression is hard to fight. And she often brings along her good friend Anxiety. Anxiety is really no one's friend, but he whispers half truths, and statistics, and makes everything so overwhelming until you can't even function.
Together they tag team you until you are a shell of a person. A ghost of your former self.
And it isn't this fault. It isn't your fault that these demons lie. Because it's a chemical imbalance in your brain. It isn't your fault. No one chooses to feel this way. No one wants those demons talking all that smack and manning them feel less than.
And getting help, doing something to change that imbalance? Is OK. It's good for you. It's important. Because people love you, when though the demons say they don't. Because people want you to be around, even when you hear whispers saying they don't.
You are important to someone. Your life is worth living.
It's been nearly a year since I posted. I'm still dealing with daily back pain. I'm tired, and every part of me is distracting because of it.
The only thing that isn't suffering, is my marriage. We've renewed our love for one another and things have never been better. But I digress.
I have a pars defect, a place where I either had a birth defect or a break in my lower vertebrae, that was ok, until I started running. The jarring motion caused me pain in my back and numbness in the nerves running down my right leg. So I've seen multiple doctors about it and had many scans. I'm going in for another MRI soon, so see if there is any change from the one i had on April of 2017.
I have three choices at this point-
1. Live with the pain, and be very careful.
2. Pain management (medicines that can help block the nerve pain).
3. Surgery- a fusion of the L5-S1 vertebra.
I've been living with the pain for 18 months now. It's depressing, I want to be active but I have to be really careful, and I CAN NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES- RUN. Because every time I do it flares and takes weeks to get back to me being able to move without pain and without having that shooting burning, numb, weird nerve pain.
I am reluctant to try pain management. I researched it and anti depressants are commonly used to treat nerve pain, or anti convulsants. Or opioids to dull the pain. I have Tylenol 3, from my bunion surgery, it does little to relieve any pain. Neither does tramadol (another narcotic that I have from the very beginning of this, it was prescribed by my primary care doctor the first time I went in for back pain.)
Terrifying. Mainly because the doctor said that if I choose surgery, it will cause the vertebrae above the fusion to start taking on the impact and they will wear out faster, increasing my likelihood of needing further surgeries by 10-20% in the future. Plus, surgery hurts, an the recovery would not be fun. But it was a high rate of success since my main complaint is the nerve pain.
I'm waiting to make any concrete choices until my MRI. If there of any measurable change, then surgery is an easy answer. I don't want this to get worse! But if it's exactly the same, maybe I can live with it, at least for another year. At which point Bee will be in 1st grade and I won't need to meet her at the bus stop every day.
I wish there was an easy answer. I had hoped that wearing a brace would help (no) the epidural steroid shots would help (minimally, but they also have side effects that I didn't like), it would go away on its own (I've had issues go away before!) Alas, none of those are really the answer.
So, I keep waiting, like I've been doing for 18 months.
At some point my back started to hurt. It started to ache when I lay down at night. I would lay there whimpering until it relaxed and I could sleep. I took medicine to deal.
I stopped working out and hoped if I rested it I would get better. It didn't.
I finally saw my doctor about it. An x-ray and MRI later I was sent to a neurosurgeon. He also did an x-ray. At this point I've been in pain for nearly 6 months.
I hurt my back, I have to take it easy. I am going to get a steroid injection in a month to see if it helps. Until then?
Ibuprofen and rest.
It sucks. I was so happy with my body.
And since I'm down for the count, I'm going to get my bunion taken care of, because that's also causing me more passion these days.
Getting old blows.
Just a few days ago, on the 2nd, a man was riding his dirt bike at dusk , just before 6pm, and collided with a Chevy SUV, the neighborhood came out and attempted to save his life, keeping the road clear, waiting on the ambulance, talking to him, telling him to hang on as he lay in the road bleeding.
In the end, it wasn't enough, and he passed away at the hospital (though likely was only kept alive by CPR on the way). He died, directly in front of my house, his blood, the fluids from his dirt bike, still stain the pavement. His family and friends put up a memorial for him. My heart breaks thinking about his children, especially his son, who was in a car accident a few weeks before where one of the passengers, a 16 year old, perished. My heart aches for the woman who was driving the SUV, because she didn't see his dirt bike, because it had no light. Forever she will feel the way her vehicle felt when the dirt bike hit it. I will forever remember that loud bang pop sound. The way I could ALMOST feel it. I have cried for him, for his kids, for his friends and family. The more I learn about him, the more I know he will be missed.
I mourn that loss of innocence my kids have, knowing that a man died there. And I can still see the EMTs working on him for so long, taking turns, trying to bring him back. Even though they knew that he was gone. I wish I could have done something. Anything.
But there is nothing.
And eventually I hope I feel better.