Step Up to Setbacks

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In the summer of 2007, I had the privilege of going on a mission trip to China. It was a wonderful, incredible experience. As an amazing surprise, I also got to accompany my husband on a business trip to Italy exactly one week after returning from China. I'd never been out of the country before, and then I have two back-to-back trips!

When I returned from Italy, my back was a little sore. I had a hard time doing simple things, like getting in and out of my car because I felt so stiff and sore. That fall, I started going to a chiropractor, but it only gave me temporary relief from my pain.

In February, I quit my stressful job, and since I had time on my hands, I thought, "Well, I'll do the workouts the chiropractor asked me to do." After three days, I was in terrible pain, with nerve pain running down my left leg. I went to get an MRI, and, sure enough, I had ruptured a lumbar disc. And not just ruptured; it was the worst rupture that any of my neurosurgeons had seen. And I was only 28!

And the next day, I found out I was pregnant.

What to do? I was in agony every day, but the baby's delicate health was so important in the first trimester. I did physical therapy three times a week until I entered my second trimester, and then I had major back surgery to remove the ruptured parts of the disc.

Did I mention the surgery was on my third wedding anniversary? Yeah, we spent the evening watching the finale of America's Next Top Model and eating hospital food. Mmmm!

Because I was still pregnant for six months after my surgery, I couldn't do the typical recovery exercises. I wasn't allowed to lie on my back or on my stomach, which were the two most common positions used to build up the core muscles to support my back. I also don't think I tried very hard to do the modified exercises.

I'm certainly paying for it now. It's been almost a year since my surgery, and my back seems to have gotten much worse since I had my son. Now that I can sleep on my stomach, I apparently want to sleep that way all night, which isn't the best position for my back. I wake up stiff and sore, and it lasts half the day. It does feel better after I work out, but it's really hard to feel motivated to work out when I'm stiff and sore.

So here I sit in my pajamas at 2 p.m., trying to muster up some willpower to just go work out. I know I have somewhere to be at 5:30, so I can't dilly-dally forever. Plus my son is about to wake up, which makes working out a little harder than when he's sleeping. I have to stop more frequently.

What are your obstacles for working out? Bum hip? Crummy knees? Let's encourage each other with the knowledge that taking of 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 pounds will help those areas feel better, even if they don't feel better yet. If you've had these conditions, lost weight, and feel better, tell me about it! I need a reason---some proof---that I'm doing what's best for my body, and especially my back!

This is me being "touristy" at the Great Wall!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • NARNIA9334
    I am sorry you are in so much pain. My back has been bothering me the past couple of days, nothing compared to yours I'm sure. I have health issues I to have deal with. I just do what I can when I can, that's all I can do. I try to push myself a little here and there,but not too much or I regret it later. Just try and take it one day at a time. emoticon
    4422 days ago
    God bless you! I have lived with chronic pain, degenerative joint and disc disease for several years now. It definitely makes it challenging to do anything at times. I will tell you what helps me. I have a heating pad, which has become one of my best friends! And, I usually don't have to leave it on for more than maybe 15 or 20 minutes to get relief enough to do what I need to do. Another thing that I do is break up my cardio and strength training into segments. There are days when I can walk for long periods of time, and then again, there are days when 15 minutes is torture. I have had one hip replaced, and am supposed to have 3 more surgeries. I have been the route of chiropractic care as well as physical therapy. Just please know that all you can do is the best you can do.

    I will be praying for you! Hang in there!
    4425 days ago
  • DEB2448
    I am so sorry to hear about your back. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
    4425 days ago
  • no profile photo ROBLAINE1
    I really enjoyed your blog. I am sorry you are having back problems. When you don't have the mobility of your back muscles, you really can't do a lot.
    A couple years ago, my husband and I were helping my brother and family move. I was carrying boxes and stuff and felt fine. That evening when it was time to go to bed, I lay down and the whole room was spinning. I had no idea what was wrong, and when we got up the next morning, I could not even walk. Every time I moved my head, I fell over. We came home that night and I went to work the next day, still feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach. Every time I lay down, I was just spinning. This lasted for about 3 weeks and then I could not stand it anymore. Went to doc and they were not sure what it was, had MRI, xrays, etc. Kept telling me that it was nothing, and that I must be imagining it. Finally, I saw a differnt doc and she came upon the realization that something was out of wack (can you imagine?) they sent me for physical therapy, as I had VERTIGO. They told me that evidently, when I was setting down a box or something, I had strained somehow and messed things up in the inner ear. I went through pt for about 4 weeks before they got me straightened out. We wonder why we are allowed to go through these things, but only God knows. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Thanks for the blog.
    Robin emoticon
    4425 days ago
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