Well, I've been MIA again because I've been dealing with a health issue. Not something new - I have a slipped disk in my spine and while it had been manageable for almost two years, it's been flaring up for the last few weeks. And by flaring up, I really mean making my life impossible. The pain is AWFUL. Like -- can't walk, can't sleep, can't sit in a restaurant or movie or even at my desk without squirming with pain kind of awful. The reason it hurts when you have a slipped (herniated) disk is because it's out of place, literally pressing on the nerves running along your spine. Here's a little diagram:
You see the little mushy thing popping out of the bone? That's the disk pressing on the nerve. Everyone asks me what it's like - and the only way I can describe it is it's like you hit your funny bone REALLY REALLY hard - now imagine that pain in the middle of your lower back, traveling into your buttocks and down your legs. And it won't go away, no matter what you do. Only drugs help. Heat sometimes. Massage. It's depressing. I'm dealing with it as best I can, trying to keep a brave face on at work, and I've already scheduled another spinal block for next week, which is basically a cocktail of meds they inject directly into your spine during a quick, outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. In the meantime, I've been operating under a hazy, drowsy, percocet-induced fuzz and trying to stay positive.
That's my new mantra - Must. Stay. Positive. It's easy to feel restless and hopeless and desperate when you suffer from chronic pain. I'm not a great candidate for surgery, so there's no easy fix either - almost all of the doctors I've seen have told me that an operation would really only have a 50/50 chance of success - which, as you can imagine, is not enough to risk someone operating on my spine, especially when there's a high chance that surgery might even makes things worse, let alone someone in their midtwenties who has a higher probability of recurring injury. I've seen more doctors than I can count and it's hard to leave appointment after appointment feeling like you're never going to get better. I'm just praying that this spinal block will work and that I won't have to start yet another regimen of treatment.
If it weren't for my husband, family and amazing friends, I don't think I'd be able to deal with this. It feels like I've been battling for sooo long. Eight years now. I'm tired already. The thought of seeing more doctors exhausts me. Since I was 17, I've been trying to find a solution that will take the pain away permanently and allow me to have a normal life. So far, all the remedies I've found have only been temporary - epidural injections, nerve medication, painkillers, physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractors. You name it, I've done it. So, here's hoping this round will be the LAST and that I can finally move on from this. Wish me luck!