Have you ever had that one moment where you thought to yourself, “This is it, life is over”. Not in the literal sense but in the metaphorical sense? Maybe you had a death in the family which devastated you. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion at work your family depended on. Maybe you had a severe car accident that paralyzed you. So many things in life we have no control over and let’s face it, life is hard.For me life changed when I injured my back doing regular PT in the military. At the time all I knew was that I injured myself. I didn’t realize how bad or how significant this injury would cause my life to change.
Originally the doctors only focused on my immediate injured site. So Tailbone, Coccyx and Sacrum. They didn’t think to follow the line of injury assuming that if the impact was so great to tear all the muscles and tendons off of my pelvis that there would likely be injury up my spine as well.
I can’t even begin to explain the pain I was in. But to help you understand I can let you know that because of the pain, I was completely unable to sit flat for over three years! The pressure alone onto my spinal cord was unbearable.
I spent day after day just laying flat on the floor just to have some pain relief. I was miserable and depressed. I truly believed my life was over. How could I do the things I could do before if I can’t even sit flat! Like I truly thought I was so pathetic. I used to go to the gym all the time and give my male counter parts in the military a run for their money fitness wise. I was always up for a challenge and competition. But now, I couldn’t even sit flat!
When I moved from Calgary to Omaha I met with a Neurologist who insisted I had an MRI on my low back. It was then that it was confirmed that I not only had severe pelvic injuries but that my back indeed had major issues at L4 & L5. No wonder I hurt so bad. My initial fall that caused my injury caused so much trauma that the discs were bulging. Nerves were also affected.
I refused to be defined by my injury. It took me a long time to believe in myself enough to believe that I had a choice in being defined by my injury or not. I had spent the years previous completely defined by this injury and it dictated how I slept, how I grocery shopped, how I interacted with others, how I shoveled my snow, how I showered, if i could vacuum everything!!!
I decided I was worth finding a better solution to my injuries than pain killers that just numbed my mind and had me gain weight. I decided to advocate for myself and to fight for a better quality of life. To see as many doctors as I needed to get ME back. I was not okay with settling for mediocre and knew I was capable of so much more than my body allowed and what some doctors assumed my life was all about.
I tried so many recommended treatments. Some including cauterizing nerve endings, Cortisone spinal injections, physical therapy, internal and external….(Right!?!), cortisone injections to my coccyx, chiropractors, prednisone packs, meds, oh so many meds. Nothing worked. I finally saw a Neurologist in Utah who recommended a spinal stimulator. Now I didn’t even know what this was at the time. But it wasn’t as easy as just getting one implanted. There are lots of hoops to jump through to be approved to get on in Utah. So he referred me to a Pain Clinic to start the process.
A Spinal Cord Stimulator is:
The tan actually hides a lot but I do have an implant in there.
Now the tan sure helps this look high tech but I promise the road to this point was long. I have some pictures I will share on the recovery. I spent a total of 8 weeks in bed after this surgery.
Remember this surgery I had just one year ago. September 2016. I have come a LONG way. I want people to realize that they are limited by their circumstance. You can take control and fight to not have your situation or injury define you. It is by no means easy but is worth it.
Allow yourself to be important enough to advocate for yourself and see as many doctors as possible and don’t give up. There may be a solution out there that can help you. You have to be positive and know that there can be a solution out there.
My journey for total pain relief will likely never end. I have good days and bad just like anyone. I have built up scar tissue which significantly affects my back pose for bikini. I can’t pivot my pelvis like other girls. I am working on decreasing this scar tissue to hopefully be able to be more competitive in upcoming bikini competitions.
I need to be realistic I still have back pain but I am not laying flat on the floor anymore, I can work out, I am not taking weight gain pain killers anymore, I can defy the odds. I CAN be me again AGAINST ALL ODDS.