Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Funny, I Don't Remeber Asking For An Increase In Perserverance

Yeah, don't remember asking for an increase in patience either. No one asks for suffering....I'm sure I didn't.

But here I am.


One of you out there must really need some grace and strength.

And I don't have to know who you are in order for God to apply my suffering to you. If I offer it to Him, He will use it. If you want to tell me you need it, I'll happily add you to the list of people I'm offering it for right now (aka the picture of the writing on my mirror).

It's been a long road. And I'm only 32. Yes, Ronelle, "only". Just wait...you say it's soooo old now, but just wait. It's amazing how much younger 16 seems the farther you get away from it....and how young 60 seems the closer your parents get to it.

But yes, a long road. At 13, when most girls were trying out training bras and putting away their dolls, I was having back surgery. And as a sophomore in high school, while the other members of my band were on the field practicing, I was recovering from back surgery. And at 25, when other people were off volunteering and getting married and living it up....yep, you guessed it. I was having back surgery....and moving in to my parents' house.

And in between all those times, I was doing everything I could to manage my pain. I know the difference between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. I know how epidural steroid injections have changed over the last 20 years from a lateral nerve block (like a pregnancy epidural that completely numbs your body from mid-back to your toes....and you have to wait 3-6 hours for feeling to come back after a procedure that took 20 mins TOPS and felt like pressing stems into floral foam...to this day, I can't touch that stuff without cringing), to a local injection that meant just waiting for 20-30 mins to be sure I wasn't going to pass out (I guess from shock of seeing the 8" needle that had just gone into my lower back). Oh, and if they ever want to do a discogram....run. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I *now* know that any injections in my back need to be given ABOVE and not THROUGH my scar tissue and that a spinal headache is, hands DOWN, the worst thing I've ever experienced......ever.

What in the world caused this, you ask? Got me....gotta take that Q to the Big Guy. All 20 years of medical genius can tell me is that perhaps I was just born with weak discs in my lower back and a growth spurt in elementary school set the whole thing in motion.

The Dr., when I was 13, told me this would most likely be a problem my entire life and I would have this surgery (the one I was preparing for at the time) again in my old age (bite your tongue, Ronelle). And the surgeon I saw before my surgery when I was 25 said for me to come back when I was in great shape and ready to have my bones fused together. (Needless to say I ran...well limped....for the hills on that one).

After S was born, the pain started back in. I couldn't stand for too long...couldn't lie flat on my back or front....really, when I was having a flare-up, there's no good position....really nothing relieves the pain. I took some crazy meds for a while....Ben used to ask if they made the pain stop....my answer was no, they just make me not care about it. My dad once told someone that I had the pain tolerance of a dead animal. I think that's a load of bull....dead animals don't feel pain.

I'm waiting for the Grace that God has promised to give us along with the struggles He asks us to endure. Whoever it is who needs this....please do all you can to be in a state of grace with God so that you can receive this and it's not offered in vain.

So after S was born, I couldn't take crazy meds, I couldn't have surgery again, I couldn't take 6 mos to recover...so what was I going to do? That pushed me over the edge and I went to a chiropractor. GASP! (When I was first dealing with all of this, there was a neighbor of mine...an adult woman...who was having the same problem. I went the physical therapy/surgeon route...she went the chiropractor route...she was temporarily paralyzed. Granted, this was before national regulations regarding chiropractors and just about any nut job could say s/he was "board certified". A LOT has changed in that field in the last 20 years....Chiros actually have to go to medical school now...but needless to say, I was skeptical about seeing a chiro and dragged my feet for as long as I could). He told me I have the back of an 80 year old woman (didn't surprise me) and that I was never going to be totally better (ok, he didn't lead with this, and he said it nicer than this, but I knew it was coming), that he'd never seen anyone like me (not the first time I've heard that....there was quite a parade of Drs who came to see the 13 year old who was recovering from surgery mostly done on geriatrics and people in traumatic accidents (car, skiing, etc)) but that he could bring me relief from my pain (we'll see).

It didn't happen right away.

But it did happen.

I was a believer.

I still am.

Which is why I know someone out there REALLY needs some grace.

A little over a week ago, that oh so familiar pain returned. First across the back of my hips, then down the outside of my left hip....wait...left? You mean right, right? No, left. But it's always been on the right. Well, except when the inflammation is so bad that it begins to effect the left as well....but it's never just been on the left.

Well lucky me. Except, I don't believe in luck.

So I'm back to the drawing board....still can't take major drugs....still can't take 6 mos to recover from surgery (S weighs more than a newspaper and that's all I'd be allowed to lift for the first 2 weeks. Week three it moves up to a milk carton....and I'm not allowed to bend at the waist). Dr. Matt says we can manage this. We'll see....I think this is really going to be a test of whether he's completely cured my skepticism.

Back to get another MRI....praise GOD the open ones are better now. Did I mention that I'm crazy claustrophobic now because of the torpedo chutes also known as closed MRIs that I had as a kid. Just the thought of it makes my heart beat fast and me need to take deep breaths. I almost don't want to know what it's going to show. Last one I saw showed that there wasn't much disc left there at all....makes me wonder what's causing all this pain.

Except tonight, we've moved past pain to numbness. From just below the knees to my toes, it fluctuates between pins and needles and completely numb. At least it's not pain....but it does make walking interesting.

I just have to remember who it's for.

P.S. I'm sorry for the pity party....I'm not looking for company....It's just on my mind and there's no one around with whom to talk about it. I'll survive. I always do. Hey, I have the pain tolerance of a dead animal, remember? :)

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