Thursday, December 8, 2011

on health.

*fyi- I don’t tend to post about such personal feelings but it’s been one of those weeks where I need to vent. We’re all allowed one venting post, right? Bare with me peeps.


i used to run. a lot. to me, running was a sense of freedom. it molded me into the person i am today and was a huge part of my life. i joined the track team my freshman year of high school. It was hard. physically, mentally, emotionally hard. we were the #1 team in the state and spent hours a day practicing. we ran in the rain. even in the snow. when there was a dangerous amount of ice on the ground we would then decide to open the school doors to run around the halls. it was amazing to see the transformation in my body. to go from a lean teenager, to an in shape, muscular teenager. i was in the best shape of my life. i was so healthy. that next year i made varsity in hurdles. it was a huge accomplishment. our hurdle team went to nationals and we placed fifth. we were All-Americans. #nobigdeal. 
when I went to college I fell out of running. it just wasn’t a priority anymore. and I was fine with that. but it was also because I started getting really bad back pain. at the age of 10 I found out i had a 4-H fair. yup, you read that right. a 4-H fair. They had one of those medical booths where a woman was examining people's posture. they had a skeleton prop that i found fascinating so I went to take a look at it  – like any 10 year old would do – and the woman asked me if she could look at my back. sure, why not. i stood up straight, put my palms together, and bent over. she moved her hand up my spine and said, “honey, I think you have something called scoliosis. Do you know what that is?” of course I replied something like “huhhh, what?” – in my mind all I was thinking about was the funnel cake next door. the woman told me that I should tell my mom and see a doctor. fast forward a few weeks and this tent examiner was right. i had a curvature of 22 degrees and about 2 degrees away from needing a brace. I did extensive chiropractic care for the next year or so. 3 times a week for up to 2 hours. the office became a second home. the treatment helped and my curvature decreased to a point where I didn’t need continuous care. yippee!

so once I started experiencing pain again in college I went back to a chiropractor. i didn't want the pain to interfere with my day to day activities. but the pain never really went away. it would come and go. so i just dealt with it. i always associated it to the scoliosis. and as badly as i wanted my body to feel the way it felt in high school, i just figured that as long as i had scoliosis, i would have back pain.

once I graduated from college and got a full-time job the pain started interfering with every day things more and more. I went from doctor to doctor to see what was wrong. a chiropractor didn’t work. a physical therapist didn’t work. at home remedies didn’t work. i eventually found out the pain was associated with a herniated disc in my neck. finally!! an answer! the solution was to get steroid injections in my neck. the last possible solution would be surgery. so i started with the injections - going every two to three weeks. the injections did not work – in fact they made everything a lot worse and i had to stop going half way through. my next solution was to try physical therapy again. no such luck. that disc was going nowhere. after consulting with a few different doctors they all agreed that my next best option would be surgery. the idea frightened me but I felt like it was the best thing to do. the pain was just unbearable.

i had surgery in february 2011. it was very invasive and a pretty painful recovery of one month. but I was happy with the decision. i felt like it was a new beginning - for me and my body. i couldn't wait to get back into running, and start yoga, and do all the things i wanted to do to get healthy again. i was told that because of my age, and because they used my own bone that my recovery would be relatively quicker than others. (a little inside scoop: they took bone from my hip to replace the disc in my neck. then fused it all together with a metal plate – gross, I know).
it has been a rough 9 months. I’m still experiencing pain. Not the kind of pain that comes with post-surgery healing, but pain pain. pain that i believe shouldn’t be there. well, because I had the surgery. it’s very frustrating. i’ve had several x-rays and mri’s done since the surgery and it looks like the bone from my hip is not fusing correctly. i go back in january where i'll probably need a CT scan. i try to stay strong, and most days i do. but sometimes i have days or a week like this one where i just want to scream and pull out my hair. i'm 26 years old. and i have a metal plate in my neck? totes not fair.
but then i relax and tell myself that a million people have it a lot worse than i do. and i should be thankful to be alive and lucky to have such supportive friends and family by my side. but i get scared. so scared that I won’t be fully active again. i’m scared that I’ll be a hunchback at the age of 50 or that I won’t be healthy enough to take care of my children. I can barely carry a purse. how am I going to carry a child? sometimes it’s hard. life can be really hard.

Wow, if you made it down here, then I applaud you. I was nervous to post this because I don’t want to be a Debbie-downer nor am I looking for sympathy. I’m just having one of those weeks where I need to let out my frustration. So thank you for letting me vent!

Okay, enough of this. time to go eat a donut. donuts help everything.


Elle said...

Oh hunny, how horrible for you. You are definitely allowed to rant, it's your blog, you can do whatever you want!
I'm 27 and I hurt my neck 2 years ago, and then last year again... I know my pain isn't as nearly as painful as yours, but it does suck being so young and having constant pain every day. I'm afraid to go to the doctor to find out how bad the injuries really were. They said it would take 16 weeks for my neck to heal. That was last November and I still hurt on a daily basis.... Keep strong and I hope everything goes well for you in January. Definitely keep me posted!

Ryan Adair said...

Ugh, I don't have a herniated disk, but I have cronic neck and back tension that is untouchable; Constantly with new knots, needing to snap, crackle and pop my neck/back, it makes me very uncomfortable and cranky, I hardly sleep.. I might not feel all of your pain, but I can relate to how frustrating it is! {I get pinched nerves a lot too.}

Feel better!

Ryan @ Thismustbetheplaceryan

Vivian said...

It's ok to vent, it's ok to be unhappy, it's ok to cry. It's therapeutic. We ALL need it. Your body has some amazing ways of recovering and finding strength in other places away from where it lacks. Try to research some alternative healing methods or physical therapy, yoga?...don't know much about the topic but just try to find a way to make it positive.

Holly said...

Oh Erica, I had no idea that you'd been through all that pain & that it's still continuing :( I sure hope that it can be resolved (sooner rather than later)! You seem like you have a great attitute about it though & are trying to stay positive :) I def. dont think youre a debbie downer, sometimes we all need a little venting :) I'm thinking about you & sending healthy vibes your way!!

grace said...

what a bummer erica! it must be so hard to be held back by your own body at such a young age.

i hope they can get to the bottom of this so you can live pain free!

Megan said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to comment on this.

First of all, I'm so sorry to hear your story. That is really difficult, especially at 26 (that's how old I am too so I can relate). You have a good outlook though, just remember that it could always be worse and be thankful for what you have.

I've had some health scares/issues over the past 2 years and I felt the same way "Why me? Why at 26?" I found serenity in remembering that I have an amazing support system, my family is healthy and I have a job, etc.

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