Round Two: A Spinal Boogaloo, Reality Edition

December 4, 2013


woman's back

Tomorrow, I get to head back to an OR for another round of steroid injections into my spine. For whatever reason, I’m less concerned than I was the first time I lost my mind over this procedure. I don’t really know why this is – maybe I’m busy with the house, maybe I trust the doctor a bit more, maybe I’m just really tired after a month of hurting and just want to get back to “regular life” again.

Probably all of those things.

I’ve realized some things lately. I’ve had a lot of time to sit and realize things.

My back blows out roughly three times a year. If I act quickly, just based on timing of having to see doctors, etc., it’s about a straight month of hurting, not being able to drive, or sit, or participate in daily life until I get an injection that, hopefully, fixes it and I can get back to life again.

So, three months out of the year, I’m more than a little helpless. I’m completely dependent on – everyone. I can’t even blowdry my hair or travel to get it blown out. Leaving the house is almost non-existent, Husband takes on double-duty of all carpooling, grocery shopping, laundry, every errand known to man, etc.  If it is below my hips? He has to do it or reach for it.  If current employment doesn’t include a “home office” set up, I can’t get to my office or travel for work. And, under some significant pain medicine, working is challenging — or, at the very least, decision-making becomes something of a hit-or-miss proposition.

Before this gets to be all “woe is me,” I am not complaining. Nothing I have is terminal. I am very, very aware of this perspective and, while I’d wish NOT to have this little challenge, I’m thankful this is all I have to manage. 

But the reality is I am someone who, for one-fourth of the year, needs to be taken care of. I have to take all of this into account when I consider any sort of project or job. If there is no flexibility, that position or project is not an option for me. My opportunities have to meet a very stringent set of criteria – and those are hard to find.

This isn’t going to change in the near future. The only step after injections no longer work is surgery – and I’m very clear on the fact that I need to put that off as long as possible.  And so, I’ll get three injections a year (the most you can have), until I can’t any longer, and then the next spinal adventure will ensue.

I’ve realized certain decisions get made because of all of this. Plans always have a caveat of “what if.”  Choices get removed. Prayers are said that these not-so-little episodes don’t happen at the worst possible time like, say, the weekend of Leah’s Bat Mitzvah. (I already plan to schedule an injection appointment two weeks before the weekend and right after the weekend because who know what might be needed.)

I am a lot to take on, a force, a handful. For most of my life that was a positive, charming thing. Being on the receiving end of that was a good thing.

It’s just a little odd re-framing that in my head.

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4 Responses to “Round Two: A Spinal Boogaloo, Reality Edition”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Good luck and sending gentle hugs your way!

  2. UpsideUp Laurie Says:

    I hope it goes so smoothly and gives you months of relief. My family has a lot of experience with back issues and spinals and nerve root blocks, and I know all the scary conversation that happens in your head. So know that I’m out here in NC sending all positive thoughts your way. xo

    • Pam Says:

      Thank you, sweet Laurie! I’m sorry your family knows so much about all of this. 🙁 Hope all is well with them, too! xo