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 scoliosis...at 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.