Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Joke's On Me


It was one of those triumphant moments when I did my victory dance. Jumping up and down, flailing my arms, totally getting jiggy with it. I just completed my final physical therapy session and received a big fat “okay” from my physical therapist to run the San Diego Rock & Roll Half Marathon in June.
Four months ago, I was told I might not be able to run long distances after experiencing excruciating neck pain, severe headaches, and numbness & tingling in my hands and feet. After many x-rays, doctor’s visits, various pain medications, a MRI, and lots of tears I was told I had foraminal stenosis of the C5 and C6 cervical spine. The opening to the C5 and C6 was hardening and thickening so that it was impinging on my nerves, causing me to drop anything I held in my hand or tripping on flat surfaces. My doctor immediately suggested a neurosurgeon and steroid injections. Silently, I balked, “OH HELLLLL TO THE NOOOOOO!” I insisted that she send me to a physical therapist instead. I was NOT down with surgery as my first option.
I took control of my condition by scouring and researching the internet about cervical/spinal stenosis. I vowed I would not undergo surgery, as it would entail the neurosurgeon shaving off bone at the narrow openings of the C5 and C6 spine. One slip and I could become a para or quadriplegic. No, thank you.
My physical therapist was a godsend! He revealed that my condition was caused by forty-one years of poor posture! Within a month of physical therapy sessions I was able to run and my pain subsided into a nagging ache. I did not need surgery after all and I felt triumphant at taking ownership of my body. My inflated hubris made my chest stick out further and I thought, “HA!!! I dodged the surgery bullet! High five to me!” I should have known victory was going to be short-lived.
Along with this condition, I was also dealing with another issue that I kept silent about. I’ll spare the graphic and gory details but my fibroid tumor was hindering my quality of life. It was totally cramping my style. (Pardon the pun.) Three weeks out of the month for the past 4 months I was bleeding profusely. I would’ve been a vampire’s smorgasbord. (Hmmm…where was Edward when I needed him?) My entire life hinged upon this issue and my stubbornness prevented me from succumbing to self-pity. Only those closest to me knew my despair and torment and pain.
This Friday, I am finally undergoing surgery to remove the fibroid tumor that has terrorized me for 6 years. I’m calling this procedure my “alien extraction”. At my pre-op appointment today, the nurse asserted in ominous tones, “No pelvic activity for 4-6 weeks. You need to take it easy.” My head went, “SAY WHAT?!” I think I sputtered and asked her “Does that mean no running?” She listed: no running, no exercising, no lifting, no intercourse, no tampons, no sitz baths, no hot tubs.
She had me at “no running.”
Afterwards, I sat in my car laughing at myself. Clearly, the joke was on me. I may be rebellious and stubborn but obtuse I am not. I can’t deny that I am supposed to “take it easy.” (gag) Oh, how I detest those three words.
Yes, I can’t run but only for 4-6 weeks and I have to learn to SIT STILL! No, I won’t begin to watch t.v. but I can learn to sit still and spend time with my devotions and prayers. Sit still and finish reading my stack of unread books that I always manage to collect as if extinction were near. Sit still and just be.
I plan on running the San Diego Rock & Roll Half Marathon in June and for that I will learn to sit still and HEAL.