When I was pregnant, 7 years ago, like many women my body changed in a lot of ways: my feet grew, my nose grew, EVERYTHING hurt, I became a tiger with beautiful stripes (haha) and I also was introduce to Sciatica. Sciatica is where you have inflammation of the sciatic nerve and usually have pain running down one or both of your legs.
Over the past 7 years I’ve had my run in with flare ups. Some were mild with 4 or 5 out of 10 pain running down my leg while others were terrible with 10 out of 10 debilitating pain. I can remember a few times walking around like a hunch over 100 year old or once being carried into Urgent Care by a guy I was dating and another time crawling around the house because I couldn’t walk.
All the while, I accepted it as something I had to live with due to having been pregnant, having degenerative disc disease and being an athlete.
Well, that all changed November 2017. I’m not sure if the car accident I was in caused the beginning of this journey, but it all started around that time. It began like any other flare up with the pain shooting down my leg into my calf. This time, however, my typical treatments didn’t work. I started trying new things to remedy the situation but to no avail.
I started Year of Fear thinking by the time I got around to the physical goals in the summer I’d be fine. Then the Universe laughed! It started with medical issues in January and then a new job and then life… all the while I was pressing forward assuming the issue would soon resolve. Fast forward to May when I had my first Power-lifting meet. If you read that post I mentioned I was in serious pain before dead-lifts but that goal had been carrying me through the pain. After that meet my coach and I sat down to review my goals and objectives for the summer and number one on the list was to resolve my sciatica.
Maybe my general pain tolerance waned after the meet or maybe it was my mental strength, either way I couldn’t tolerate the chronic pain any more. I made an appointment with my Orthopedist (of over 10 years) and scheduled an MRI. Low and behold we found the problem: I had a herniated disc (that looks like a penis) pouring out into my spinal canal and pressing on the nerve.
I was relieved in some ways to know what the problem was but also concerned that I wouldn’t be able to continue my training. I started down the path of minimally invasive therapies such as yoga, chiropractic therapy, massages etc… None of those worked so I signed up to receive an epidural steroid injection. Again, no luck. I continued forward hoping something would work because surgery was my ABSOLUTE last option! I kept pushing and hoping that something out of all the crazy things I was doing and buying would relieve the pain.
Braydon started first grade on Aug 2nd and as I slowly limped through Open House I was brought to tears from the sheer pain of moving. Of course, my mom was my first call and on the other end she assured me she would come to Georgia ASAP to help with Braydon but she urged me to get surgery.
I felt completely defeated. I couldn’t play with my son, workout how I wanted, achieve any of the Year of Fear goals or function in a normal way (walk, lay, sit, stand etc…). I was just a shell of a body going through motions to ensure a pay check and nothing else.
I talked with my doctor and urged him to give me a solution: stem cell treatment, a witch doctor, voodoo, shoot I’d even stand on my head and sing Yankee doodle if it would work, but please, not surgery!! But, there was nothing left to do.
After 9 months of severe chronic pain and trying everything under the sun I’m finally going to have surgery to remove the portion of the disc causing all the issues. I will be going into surgery next week with my mom, extended family and friends all supporting me in my decision and recovery process.
I’m appreciative of the experience I’ve gone through so far this year. Yes I didn’t get to achieve a lot of the goals I set but I did find my tribe along the way and have had amazing people supporting me at work, in random interactions, at school and in my day to day life.
So for all of you out there with chronic pain. I love you! You are a warrior! And you are not alone!!!
For anyone who prays (to whatever form of a higher power) please keep me in your thoughts this next week! I look forward to getting my life back and am hopeful that I’ll be able to come back stronger than ever!
Always with love,