Back Attack

I want to share something with the Hive.  It’s something that affects me almost daily at this point, it’s something that I’m scared will flare up around my wedding this coming March, something that could affect my ability to move and walk.

It’s my about my back.  I have chronic back problems.  And in March of 2011, I had back surgery.  Yes, at age 27 I was in surgery for my back.  To put this in perspective, Grandma Sword said a few of her friends had gone through similar surgeries, so yea, not something too common in my peer group.  I was rushed into surgery a mere 18 hours after meeting with my surgeon and hearing that I had a fully herniated disc.  Originally, I tried physical therapy when the pain first started but after an MRI it was clear that I needed surgery.  I ended up having a relatively new procedure called endoscopic microdiscectomy surgery and my recovery was fast.

A few months later the medical bills started rolling in, and to this day I’m unsure what was worse, the most intense physical pain I’ve ever felt in my life or the staggering amount of emotional distress I endured while dealing with my insurance company and the hospitals.

Mom Sword took care of me for a full week post-surgery. We co-existed in my studio condo better than we ever thought possible and it’s created amazing memories for us. My Mom is the best!!

If my surgery story were a fairy tale it would go something like this: Once upon a time a relatively active artist who experienced minor back pain on occasion lived a very happy albeit dramatic life.  One day she was in rehearsal for a show and something just didn’t feel right.  A few days later the artist couldn’t get out of bed.  That night her Scottish Knight in shining armor drove her to the emergency room.  After four hours she finally received pain meds only to vomit them up, and eventually begged to be admitted.  Twelve grueling hours AFTER THAT she received some magical medicine in her back that got rid of the pain but caused her to lose all feeling in her left leg.

The artist stayed home from work to rest, got an MRI, and met with a back wizard a few days later who told her that if she didn’t get the disc debris off of her nerve, she would eventually lose all ability to control her leg AND possibly go on to lose control of her vaginal and rectal muscles.  Once those were gone, the wizard told her, there would be no way to get them back.  The artist was rushed into surgery with the Scottish Knight by her side the whole time.  Her back wizard was a special wizard and had learned a very fancy technique in Germany where he used something the size of a pen to go in through her side as opposed to the more invasive route of going through her back tissue.  Because of his special powers, the artist was able to recover in a few weeks as opposed to a few months.

My fake “back brace” baby bump.

While her back felt better for the time being, the artist had to spend a lot of time in therapy to re-gain the use of her left leg.  She was one of the lucky ones because she got almost all the feeling back in her left leg except for two toes that are still partly numb.  The wizard told her to never run again and to focus on core strengthening and Pilates.  The artist didn’t care all that much for running or working out in the first place, so she was OK with this.  And for a year she felt pretty good… that is until she started working out again more frequently right around the time that she got engaged.

Honestly, I have no idea how this fairy tale will end.  Right now, I occasionally feel this really sharp pain in my back.  The nerve isn’t being damaged anymore, but two of my discs rubbing together and sometimes it’s so bad I can’t get out of bed.  I might have an artificial disc put in at some point, or I might have to get my two discs fused together, and more than likely, I will have more herniated discs in the future.  I know many people suffer from bulging or herniated discs or other back pain, and more often than not they just want to help, but it’s so annoying to hear that my back would be fine IF ONLY I lowered my stress level and used more ice packs.  My surgeon says it’s mostly a case of genetics, so it’s very likely that I’ll have a relationship with him for the rest of my life.

How does all this pertain to my wedding?  Well remember my post on irrational fears?  My very REAL fear is that I’ll have some back pain around the week of my wedding.  I just had a really bad week with my back, almost passing out from the pain as I walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night to go pee.  I have no idea what happened but sometimes things shift around in there and it causes such pain that I cannot move, let alone walk.  Working out for me is mostly non-existent because even Pilates sometimes causes discomfort the next day.  The issue is how do I strengthen my core when movement is what causes the problems?!?!  Right now I’m focusing on using my resistance bands to tone my arms (you know how I feel about my arms), walking a lot, and eating healthier.  While there’s not much calorie-burning going on, it’s a start.

And I don’t just have fears about the wedding.  I have fears about carrying a child someday, convinced I’ll be on bed rest the entire time because my back won’t be able to take the extra weight.  I’m scared that this back issue will be an ever-present drain on my relationship with Mr. Sword (even though he’s been amazing), as well as a drain on our funds.

I know this sounds a bit like a “poor Miss Sword sob story,” so I want to recognize that I realize lots of people suffer from chronic issues.  I have friends who struggle every minute of every day dealing with Crohn’s disease, and I have a really good friend who has the heart of a 50-year-old (which causes her a lot of problems obviously), and she’s the same age as me.  How is that fair?  It’s not, but that’s life, and while it may be tough, I have no plans to mope about or slow down!  IT’S THE YEAR OF MY WEDDING!  🙂

And I promise my next post will be 100% more uplifting!  It includes a little girl and trying on dresses.  Not much cuter than that!

Does anyone else have a physical aliment that gets in the way of life at times?  Are you worried about it affecting your wedding too?

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6 thoughts on “Back Attack

  1. Now that I’m all engaged and all, Im excited to
    Comment on your wedding posts.

    I have really bad feet. I have plantar fasciitis which causes extreme heal and ball of my foot pain. I have to wear orthotics, can only wear ugly sandles. I have to baby my feet if I know I’ll be walking a lot, and generally sometimes I feel like an old lady.

    My fear is that I’m not going to be able to find shoes that are cute, but won’t kill my feet. Will I be able to stand in them throughout the ceremony and reception? I was in a friends wedding 2 years ago, and I about died.

  2. Walking is good cardio if you do it a lot, don’t discount walking! That is the best exercise you can do in a gym- walk on the treadmill at an incline. HUGS!

  3. Yes! My wedding is in 3 weeks, and I am just starting physical therapy today. I have 3 herniated discs, and degeneration at L1 which is encroching my spinal cord.. I am terrified, because all of the wedding details and deposits are near completion.

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