I wrote a few days ago about the psychological aspect of feeling broken.
I spent Dec. 24 at the animal shelter helping out where needed, but mainly taking dogs for walks. The most strenuous task was throwing a ball. I spent Dec. 25 and 26 between a 7 and an 8/10 on my pain threshold scale (I'd like to think I have a high pain tolerance -- but even this leveled me). Yesterday was between a 5 and a 6. I'm about a 3/4 now. There's still pain, but I can walk
So I'm going back to the spinal specialist today to discuss where I'm at (I want a new MRI -- my last one was in March 2007) and to discuss pain management options.
I don't want my back to interfere with my life. I don't want my back to interfere with my finding joy in life.
For the most part it doesn't. But for every day I have that's a 7/8, I go into an emotional tailspin -- wondering if it's the big one, if I'm one sneeze away from having to have massive spinal surgery. I think about all the rehab required, and the fact that I live alone. I think about how hard it is to maintain friendships with people when you can't move. I think of my future and the quality of it.
I mean lots of people ask me about the surgical options, of which there are a few. But there's also no guarantee that surgery will help me. For many people surgery helps alleviate pain of one kind, but causes pain of another. I'm constantly weighing my options -- have surgery while I'm young, strong, and healthy, or have surgery when disc replacement technology is more advanced/approved by FDA.
Like the AA motto, "one day at a time" -- I'm just trying to stay focused on what I can do. If I can't exercise, then I can mind my diet. If I can't exercise, I can try to move to the best of my ability. Just do the best I can on any given day. That's all any of us can do, right?
PS: I'm the "guest expert" for a Twitter party tomorrow night at 9 pm (eastern) for the #MeFirst/Me Movement. I have six awesome questions queued up relating to New Year's resolutions and mindfulness. I hope to see you all there!