Tuesday, October 18, 2011

back up.

I’ve been pretty vocal the past few days about throwing my back out, and I’ve had a lot of advice – from a lot of people.  I completely appreciate it.  Really.  But lots of people were asking the root of my back issues, and so, very briefly, I wanted to explain.  I danced for years, and years, and years…on cement floor.  Oh, it was covered in tile, but all that did was make my tap shoes sound better.  Years of leaping and jete-ing landing on shitty floors did a number on my spine.  Then, about 8 years ago, Steve and I were on our way to meet my now sister-in-law and her then husband for dinner (this is only noteworthy because I like to think about how long ago this was and how much has changed for Kelley and me since this day!).  At the intersection of Oak Street and 55th Street in Kansas City, a VERY young teen-aged driver on a cell phone ran the red light and crashed directly into the driver’s side door of our brand new Nissan Altima.  I was driving.  I was wearing a seatbelt, but the impact of that wreck sent me sideways into the passenger seat – and knocked my spine into some state of, well… I don’t know any better way to say that the wreck completely jacked up my spine. 
The MRI I had following the wreck showed two severely goofy discs in my spine – the L5 and the S1 – or the lowest two discs near the tailbone.  One of those discs was bulging, and the other was degenerative.  Probably the degenerative disc was a result of the concrete floors from my tappin’ days, and the bulging was a result of that dumb ass teenager on her cell phone.  Regardless, those results were enough to warrant physical therapy and several facet injections – which numbed the nerve endings around the two discs so that it wasn’t as painful when they rubbed up against my muscles and whatever else was hanging out back there around my discs.  Aaaaand…those didn’t work.  I found that yoga helped – really anything that kept my core strong helped my back.  I also found that regular visits to my chiropractor (whom I adore and would recommend to anyone – just ask) helped my spine.  Other than that, I really had no control over it, other than watching how (and who) I lift, and how I bend – which has proven very interesting in my profession.
Fast forward to this past Friday afternoon.  I was getting ready to get on the road to St. Louis to visit Steve’s parents when I went to put on my pants and wham – out when the back.  Which might not have been that big of a deal, but riding in a car for four hours there and back, as well as sleeping on a bed that wasn’t mine, as well as having a coughing and nose blowing fit, and I was a steaming hot mess by Sunday afternoon.  This is where everyone has an opinion: get surgery, get and MRI, get to bed! All of these are valid (and thank you for your concern) but long story short, here is the plan. I saw my chiropractor yesterday – he adjusted me, because part of my issue is that one of my legs is also a bit longer than the other.  I’m a mutant.  He believes that when I bent to put on my pants the other day (why couldn’t this have been a better story, like I was lifting a couch or something?) I tore some of the scar tissue around those discs leaving my nerves and muscles in some sort of battle.  Then, he did some deep tissue massage, which felt terrible and left me with what feels like a bruised ass, but has definitely worked because I can feel my right leg today.  Finally, he used some really fantastic gel on my lower back, which numbed the area for a while.
Tomorrow I go to my general practice doctor (whom I also adore – but, no, this isn’t an advertisement for my medical preferences) and I’m to request a prescription for a cortisone and steroid mix that should take the swelling down in my back.  After a week, I get to see my chiropractor again, and if that hasn’t helped I get to have another MRI and then look into more injections. Whew! Aren’t you glad you asked about my back?

Monday, October 10, 2011

why I write

The National Day on Writing is on October 20th.  I wrote this in honor of that day.  You can read more about it here.

I write because if I didn’t, I would certainly not be here today. I write because it’s the best and cheapest form of therapy out there.  I write because I have something important to say, even if it’s something as simple as, “I’m angry”, or “I’m frustrated” or. “I’m so proud”.  I write because I don’t know how better to express myself, it’s the way I deal with the world around me.  I remember writing pages and pages of letters in high school, it’s probably the first time that I remember feeling like putting pen to paper would solve something.  I wrote to boyfriends, my parents, my friends.  I wrote to heal broken hearts, to soothe my angry soul, to process my parent’s divorce.  I wrote because I thought people might think me crazy if I told them aloud the things that went on in my head. Now, I don’t care what people think of me – I know I’m crazy.  But, now that I’m not an angsty teenager anymore (I’m more like an angsty adult) I still write to process things: my relationships, my marriage, my children, the path I’m on at any given moment. 
I write because one day I want my kids to look back and know that what they said and did mattered to me.  That I wrote down their experiences and I laughed with them and at them and I noticed all the little things that they did.  I write because earlier this week Lucy asked me why kids remember so much and grown ups don’t.  I told her it’s because adults have more years and more memories clogging their brains, but really I write so that I DON’T forget everything that happens – even the little, seemingly unimportant day to day things. 
I write because some days I think if I say the words out loud that I write down on paper, I might curl up and cry.  I write because I’m one of those people who look around me at the grocery store and thinks, “I’m the ONLY ONE who knows what I’m thinking right now.” I think about that a lot – how when I look over at my husband I only see what I see – I will never know what is going on in his head – even if I think I do.  It’s such a lonely thought and so I write because it keeps me from losing my mind.  I write because I’m so busy that writing seems a little like I’m talking to a friend – something I don’t get to do nearly enough anymore. I write because it’s in my DNA.  It’s in the very fiber of my being.  I write because I can't imagine what I would do if I couldn't.