Pressed to the wall

So if you've followed me, you know I have a bad back . I was talking to someone today... and I just had one of those "this is rea...

So if you've followed me, you know I have a bad back.

I was talking to someone today... and I just had one of those "this is really obvious" realizations:  that had I listened to the doctors who wanted me to get a 3-level spinal fusion (or at the very least a few discectomies) I might not have the body I have today.  I do have days when my back hurts, but I know how to deal with it (ice, rest, avoiding torque/weights).   My limitations are genuine medical concerns, but they're no longer mental.

Two years ago, I was scared and ashamed that my weight had caused it (it was a combination of genes and a trauma from HS).  I thought that my weight would balloon up as a combination of the physical inability to exercise and the depression that came with the injuries.  I was scared of never being able to walk again. I was angry that it hurt to lie in my bed or even sit.

It wasn't pretty, nor was it easy, but I turned toward those fears and used them to make my decision. I knew I wanted to go down swinging. I'm so glad I didn't have the surgeries. I'm thankful that I trusted my instincts.

Every step since then is a blessing, whether I'm hunched over or standing tall.

As my inspiration, I also remembered a few lines from this poem by Claude McKay.  While not quite the race riots of 1919, it reminded me that if my future was already determined and out of my hands (every doctor said that at some point my spine will require surgical intervation) that I would fight for myself and my spine for every second up until they put me under.


If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

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11 comments

  1. You are a fighter and an inspiration. To go through the pain that you do and still manage to come up with the strength to workout and lose weight...it's amazing.

    You ROCK!!

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  2. You are an inspiration! I, too, have a bad back - I know this feeling all too well! Keep fighting, sister. <3

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  3. Just discovered your blog via twitter and really enjoyed this profound post - thanks for sharing with us!

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  4. Tough and strong, you are. (And - what is your name??) I always believe in trying everything else first and I'm so glad you did.

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  5. I am so sorry you have to go through this. My Mom has something similar and has pain constantly. You're just that much more of an inspiration because you've overcome so much and yet you keep fighting.

    I'm cheering for you!

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  6. Vinny: <3 I think I figured that out when I named this blog -- that i'm struggling FOR my body, not against it anymore.

    Amy: I wouldn't wish back pain on anyone. It is a bitch, quite frankly. Hope you're coping with your pain as best as possible.

    Shira: Glad you found me. Do you have the power (I know, that's He-Man, but She-Ra kicked his ass 10 times over).

    Suzanne: My name is Robby. When the first two doctors said "spinal fusion" it just didn't sit right with my heart. I doctor shopped until I found the doctor that said "Use it til you lose it." Sure it might be selective hearing, but I know that back surgeries can fail. I didn't want to go through all that pain and rehab to only be in an equal amount of pain and have limited mobility.

    Mmmmmmmhmmm Cupcakes: I think that it's hard for many people to understand what back pain is like until they have it themselves or witness another person struggle with it. I think we all have our own issues to overcome. This is just one of mine. :P

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  7. Wow, great poem!

    Polar's Mom
    www.polarspage.blogspot.com

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  8. You go girl! I am glad that you chose to fight the good fight and listen to your body! :)

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  9. Brigitte: anytime you choose to fight for yourself instead of against yourself, you're fighting a good fight.

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  10. I had cervical spine surgery this past April to fix my compressed disks C5-7, they were then fused together. My back doesn't hurt at all anymore. Although, I am having severe nerve issues within my hands, leading to surgery on my right hand, which hasn't been healing properly. I wouldn't put off that back surgery, mine was hindered by a fall and a car accident. It wasn't because I am overweight, just had a pain in the back. But don't prolong this, if the doctors say you should have the surgery, then listen to them. I have an aunt who didn't listen to her doctors, she is now living life in a wheel chair.

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  11. Musikat: I also know people who have gotten the surgery and are in worse pain now. I think it's different for every person.

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<3 Robby