A LITTLE BACKSTORY (pun intended): My diagnosis via MRI is that my L4 and L5 discs are bulging. The bulges likely started during my first birth (a hard, back labor). Then got worse during the second (another hard, back labor). The symptoms blindsided me Thanksgiving day 2016 and we’ve been working on it ever since. I’ve tried most of my options excluding surgery and some other more aggressive manual manipulation back maneuvers (which we can’t even try until the bulges are more controlled). I’ve done heat, ice, acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga, stretching, physical therapy, exercise. I have a spine specialist, primary care physician, and pain doctor all working with me to fix this. I’m currently still being treated.
Life is Pain
A story about back pain and all the layers that come with it.
Life is pain. For me. I have a new, unfortunate, understanding about those that suffer physical ailments. I find myself thinking about the elderly, paralyzed, deformed, or otherwise incapacitated individuals and count my blessings. But that’s not enough to transform my trials into triumphs. I still hurt.
What’s worse, I’m unable to stomach being anything other than the picture of strength. I’ve always taken pride in being strong, both physically and emotionally. So, my pride is damaged due to my emotions being damaged by my physical state. I’m a mess because I’m a mess because I’m a mess.
Physically I’m in pain every waking moment (and often in too much pain during the night to find sleep) and on strict orders to not lift anything. My physical pain runs in shoots and daggers all down the lower left side of my body while my foot is left numb and tingling from the intensity. I can’t sit. I can’t bend over. Sometimes laying down or standing up is too much to bear but what other options do I have?
Emotionally I’m a wreck due to a trifecta of issues: one, this crippling physical state leaves me constantly emotionally frustrated; two, I’m trying to raise a baby and a very emotional and headstrong 3 year old; three, my pain is so fierce that my emotional state withers to a state of constantly on the end of tears… all while also wearing the hats of freelance photographer, day care provider, small business owner, and wife.
Since I was born, I’ve been strong. I could hold my own big head up the minute I took my first breath. As a kid, I climbed trees and frolicked among the grass all day. Through all of my school age years I played sports (basketball, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, softball, track…) and roughhoused with the guys. I did not cry.
Now-a-days, I find it a fierce and losing inner battle to keep my tears from spilling over. I so desperately want to keep all my feelings to myself. Not because I need to look strong to those around me, but because letting them go doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact, it just makes me feel worse. I need to move on before they’ve manifested themselves. I need to turn around and skip the other direction and put a smile on my face.
This morning, I struggled to pick myself up off the ground and take a hike back towards the path of sunshine and rainbows that is my, usual, constant companion called optimism. Even on days like today I can’t deny how life-giving the sunshine is, how perfectly crisp the fall weather is, and how undeniably miraculous and special my two daughters are. But that doesn’t change that I woke at 5 to the baby, then 6 to the husband leaving for church, then 6:30 to the toddler, then 7:30 to the baby again. It doesn’t change that the baby was soaked in her own pee from head to toe due to a faulty diaper. It doesn’t change that I am in constant pain from my back. It doesn’t change that I’m about to get my period so I’m also experiencing all the grumpy feelings that come with that. It doesn’t change that I didn’t get to go on that morning walk due to the baby, though I need it so desperately to set my back pain in the best order I can for the day. It doesn’t change that that same baby chose not to take her morning nap, but to chat and poop instead. It doesn’t change that when I went to go get that baby to go to church that I stuck my finger in this poop. It doesn’t change that I screamed at the air around me in an effort to blow all the frustrated feelings out of my body.
I never want to feel this way again or to act poorly in the face of frustrations like this. I admit, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my emotions. I firmly believe I should be able to control my feelings to stay within the perfect bubbliness that is the Kaia I’ve known for so long and yet seen so infrequently since my back pain became too much for too long some months ago now.
In truth, I’m writing this blog in hopes of coming to a better understanding about to better control myself. And I’m definitely writing it to explain myself and apologize to any of you innocent souls that may come across me while I’m entirely unable to paste a smile on my face and greet you warmly. But now I find myself at the end of my thoughts and still no wiser. So at least I got to explain myself and apologize right?
Cheers to a better tomorrow,