Here I (still) am. It’s getting surreal, isn’t it?
This is what happened this week.
- I had an epidural injection, hoping that it would cut down on the inflammation and give me some pain relief. I was nervous about it. But the procedure itself was not traumatic. The bad news is that it really didn’t give me any relief, either immediately or in subsequent days. So that was disappointing. To say the least.
- I escalated the pain medications to even higher intensities. The result was about 4-5 hours of total pain relief, and about 2-3 days of complete CRAZY. I mean, I lost my mind. It really did a number on me. Like out of control crying, and a kind of paranoid panic and fear. I felt like I was disappearing. Dissolving. Maybe dying. I was an extremely unhappy little camper.
- I stopped taking the heavy-duty pain meds.
- The pain is worse. But I don’t care. I have my mind back.
- I went for a neurosurgery consult. Because of the size and location of the ruptured disc, surgery is recommended to remove it, rather than waiting the 6 months for the disc material to re-absorb into my body. Mostly because of the profound weakness I am having in my arm. Nerve damage, if left too long, can be difficult or impossible to reverse, and this is my dominant arm/hand.
- I’m going for another appointment next Thursday and hopefully will then be put on a schedule for surgery.
- I am ready for this.
This has been an incredible experience, really. It is teaching me so much about patience. About understanding who I am aside from what I DO. It has taught me what it really means to conserve energy. The smallest things take so much energy; even lying on the back porch talking to friends wiped me out. I’m still learning.
I’m taking it as a gift to be able to read, to meditate, to sleep a lot. (a LOT) I love it when my friends come and lie down next to me and we just look at the ceiling and talk. It’s very comforting. But I can only take about one visit a day and it has to be very… low key.
When my mind is working, I can still write.
I have had pretty much no appetite. I think because I am burning about zero calories per day. I’ve lost weight. My muscles are thin and noodley. I think my muscle mass has pretty much left the building. I try to be my own home care physical therapist and take myself through the exercises I do with people who are in bed all day. I’m not sure if it’s helping or not.
Those goals I had — tomorrow night is the Grotto Litcrawl reading. It’s still up in the air. I’m going to wait until the last minute to decide. But there’s a BART strike. These events are notoriously crowded and intense. Energy wise, it just might be too much.
Sadly, the trip to Mexico is off. It’s disappointing. What can I say? There will be other chances out there. I’m tripping around my own private Mexico these days, wandering around inside my head.
I know beyond a doubt that this experience is changing me. It’s one of the most challenging things that has ever happened to me, but it is not the worst one by far. I’m learning a lot. In this small space, I am growing.
October 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm
I’m thinking about you. I watched you for so long, wanting to be like you in your exercising and running, and I will continue to watch as you achieve this marathon as well. Your readers are still there. Hang tough. If you can lose the weight and get so fit, going through all that work, you can do this. Your previous training might have been meant to prepare you for this, who knows.
October 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm
Wow. Hopeclark nailed it in her first two sentences. And her final.
I wish I could take on some of this pain for you. I would.
October 19, 2013 at 1:10 am
I am so glad you are alive, you are Susan, and you are my friend 🙂
October 19, 2013 at 11:28 am
Susan I am sorry for the pain you are going thru. I totally understand the getting to know yourself part of what’s going on. Praying for a quick surgery date for you!
October 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm
As ever, you inspire me. I spent five months on bedrest when I was pregnant with my daughter and also learned an awful lot about patience and energy and perspective. It was a weird time for me to be so caught up in my own head. I also read like two hundred books or something. It was crazy.
In any case, I wish I was close enough for a laying down, ceiling staring visit. If be there in a heartbeat! I hope you can find some pain relief soon, and that the surgery goes both well and quickly.
October 20, 2013 at 8:33 am
My dearest Sue, you are in my prayers and I am sending positive thoughts your way. I admire your courage and applaud you for taking this experience to learn something about yourself. I know you will get past these difficult moments. Lots of love.
October 20, 2013 at 8:40 am
Hope the surgery goes well. Thinking of you.
October 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm
I had a cortisone injection when my hip went bad. They told me there as 50% chance it would work and very small chance it would stop the pain completely. It worked. But lasted only about 6 weeks. That was the final sign that I needed surgery.
Standing by you throughout this.
October 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm
Oh..susan while I don’t like to see you in so much pain….i don’t like anyone to have to hurt that way, I can also say in the most loving and supportive way, I am understanding the beautiful changes that will occur within you and sadly, yet miraculously they will be worth it. I, went through a year and a half with pain, with a battle for the surgeries I knew would help heal me. The first surgery date took 1.5 years and I ended up with 30 per cent nerve damage in my dominate hand. I lost my ability to sustain drawing and painting for long periods of time but found writing and found pieces of myself that NEVER would have happened without the pain. TRULY a blessing in the worst disguise but one I shall never forget for long. It is the one reminder for me, that I lost a bit of that discovery chasing the scale, but it is balancing out for me, especially because of your class and NOW your writing. YOU have a gift and this will only bring more light and love to it.
October 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm
Thinking of you, Susan, and sending you healing blessings. I had a ruptured disk in my back (L5/S1). Treated it with epidurals, which helped, but I continued to do things (like long sitting writing sessions) that made it bad again. Eventually I had to have part of the disk removed that was sitting near a nerve causing pain and numbness in my foot. Very scary. However, I felt better immediately after the surgery and am FINE thirteen years down the line. Beware the sentence, “You will have setbacks.” Sounds small, feels so discouraging, yet… recovery takes time and for me was two steps forward, one step back, as I learned to listen to my body speak and give up doing stuff that hurt me. Blessings and health to you. Nicole