Friday, February 15, 2013

Losses and Gains

My visit with Dr. Back went very well yesterday. I told him about the little pinches and pains I've been feeling again, but I rated my pain as .5 out of 10. Before, I was at a 12. Someone else's 10 might be my .5, but I dunno. I just know that I Feel Better. I am SO grateful.

I hadn't realized how much my chronic lower back pain was messing with my life until my mom started saying things like:

"You have so much energy!"

"You look so beautiful today!"

"Your eyes are sparkling!"

"You're YOU again!"

Apparently, I've been more of a hawt mess than I realized. That's what chronic pain will do to you. You become unsparkly, devoid of energy, and Not Beautiful. Not You. Sad, but true. That's why you've got to work really hard and take big risks to try and make the pain go away. I was batsh*t TERRIFIED of the epidural, but it worked.

It's true that I do have some pain. Dr. Back told me these shots will never reduce my pain to 0. They are a "pain management" not a "pain solution." The GOOD news is that I can get them up to three times a year. Now that I've had one, if I find that I need one again (and I'll know when I do), I can call to schedule one right away. If I get to the point where they only work for a few days at a time and I turn into a miserable Not Self again, it's time to talk surgery. I've come to accept the fact that since I'm only 35, I may have to have back surgery in my lifetime. That's OK.

(As long as a sh*t-ton of Knock Her OUT drugs are involved the minute I walk into the hospital. Just sayin'.)

For now? I do NOT need surgery. I just need to be mindful of my back pain levels and be diligent about not letting it get out of control. My doctor gave me muscle relaxers and a non-narcotic pain medication to have on hand "just in case." You never know when the shots will wear off, so it's a good idea to have some medication on hand for that random Sunday afternoon when I'm out of town a few months from now and I bend over to brush my teeth and end up flat on the floor weeping. It's all about Being Prepared. Now, I am.

I WISH I could maintain that feeling from the very first week when I felt nothing at all. I would LURVE to have no sensations whatsoever in my back. But I've learned that's not realistic for me. I'll always feel something. A twinge, a pinch, a pull, a stab. It will be there. But it certainly doesn't have to control my life anymore.

My mother was ecstatic yesterday to learn that my shots had worked the way they were supposed to. I was excited, yes, but I was also a little disappointed. I had ignored Dr. Back when he said the shots take most people from 10 to 2 -- that no one really gets down to 0. I wanted to hear that the shots would take away all of the pain forever. I was suffering from Magical Thinking. It's OK for me to be disappointed. Who WANTS to have back pain? No one. I get to mourn the dream of a painfree life. I give myself permission to do that.

With all that being said, I am happier, moving faster, and sparkling a little bit again. I am looking forward to going places and doing things without the fear of a back meltdown. I have more confidence in my movement and strength. I've been living with Extreme Pain for one year and two months. Now that pain has been lifted. Thank God.


Melanie said...

I am so glad you are feeling better! A few years ago I got tendonitis in my feet, which didnt sound bad, but I could barely walk and often I walked in tears. Nothing seemed to help and when my doctor said wear good shoes all the time (ALL the time I cannot go barefoot at home without paying for it later) and NO FLIP FLOPS and take plenty of ibuprofen, I was depressed. Good shoes are expensive, and I didn't have hundreds of dollars to buy ugly, but supportive, shoes but the pain was just too much. I started one pair at a time, and as depressed as I was that I couldnt wear cute flip flops or sandals in the summer, it simply wasnt worth the pain later. Now a few years removed and I can get away with wearing higher quality flip flops for shorter amounts of time, but I can always tell when I am just about to cross over into real pain territory and out come the supportive shoes. I'm 34 so while I think my problem is 100 times easier than yours, I can appreciate the sadness that comes from thinking, this will be something I battle with all my life, my feet rarely if ever feel totally pain free, but they are SO much better now it barely registers. I hope this continues to manage your pain for many many years!

Blondie said...

I am SO sorry to hear about your feet. Feet are just as bad as a back, if not worse, so don't think your problem is easy!! I'm glad to hear that you have found a partial solution -- just like me! :)

Melanie said...

At least with feet when you get off them you generally find relief, with back problems sitting and laying can be painful too... but yes THANK GOODNESS for pain relief!