Thankful Anyway Thursday

It’s easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?
(Check out Holistic Mama to play along.)


I have scoliosis. It was discovered when I was about 10 or 11 and I was treated by Shriner’s Hospital in L.A. I was found to have a thoracic and lumbar curvature. They put me in a brace for several years until I was 14. The curvature of my spine was getting worse and the option was given to have surgery.

During the surgical rotation of my thoracic spine, my lumbar curve corrected itself. Still they fused 14 vertebras, T1-L2. They surgery was intense but thanks to lots of morphine and codeine I remember very little. They told me I was good to go and that was suppose to be the end of that. I have a scar done my spine, as well as along my hip where they took bone to graft the thoracic vertebras.

But anyone who understands the intricacies of the human body should have none that wouldn’t be the end of it. I’m not perfectly aligned, which wears on the joints and causes muscle misalignment.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve stopped doing massage and have lost muscle mass, or maybe all the wear and tear I put on my body during my working years, but the past few months have been increasingly difficult. Severe low back pain, piriformis syndrome, knee pain, numbness in my arms and legs and hyper-reflexive nerves. The orthopedic doctor I saw believes it to be degeneration of the lumbar spine and cartilage of the knee, as well as possible nerve impingement somewhere along the thoracic spine. But because his office sucks eggs the size of footballs, I can’t get an appointment or any straight answers. Based on x rays of the lower spine and my own physical observations, I also suspect the curvature of the lumbar spine to be worsening.

Because the fusion is virtually irreversible, all the natural treatments I didn’t know of 13 years ago (atlas-orthogonal chiropractic care, Egoscue Method muscle training, herbs and supplements to heal cartilage) are of little assistance now. I’m looking at some pretty bleak options. I won’t even go into insurance woes.

This is really hard but…

I’m thankfully anyway because it’s forced me given me the opportunity to slow down and take it easy.

I’m thankfully anyway because it’s given me a chance to tune in and listen to my bodies clues, to learn when to stop, to take preventative measures, and to not put off caring for myself. Also, to admit when I need help.

I’m thankful anyway because I have the love and support of my husband and my son who help me when I am unable to keep up, or forgive me when the house falls apart because I couldn’t get off the couch.

I’m thankful anyway because I have more knowledge now than we did when I was 13 and there are more options available to me, like acupuncture, yoga or physical therapy.

I’m thankful anyway because Shriner’s treated me for free, shuttled us to and from airports, fed us and didn’t charge my single mom a dime from four years of treatment or surgery. In hindsight there may have been a better route but I’ll always be thankful for Dr. Bernstein, the old men dressed as clowns that I was too old to enjoy and all the wonderful volunteers for doing all the could at the time.

I’m thankful anyway, because my time at Shriner’s showed me children without vital organs, whose bodies where covered in burn scars or who couldn’t walk. Children who hurt or were dying but smiled and laughed and gave love freely. Three year old boys missing limbs who flirted and hugged with the best of them. Many of whom never made it to their 18th birthday or had children of their own. And how can I begrudge my own situation when I remember the beautiful outlooks of so many physically worse off than myself?

I am alive. I am able. I am loved.

9 Replies to “Thankful Anyway Thursday”

  1. Chronic pain really puts thankful anyway to the test every…single…moment. It is so good to hear you say “I am alive. I am able. I am loved.” I’m sure it’s hard for you to feel that way sometimes, eh? You are such a vibrant spirit.

    I’m breathin’ through it for you….


  2. Beautiful post. Sorry for your pain, but it was so nice to read all that you are thankful for anyway. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m always happy to find other unschoolers too 🙂

  3. Love your post. It’s very intimate and heartfelt. 🙂 I’m glad you have found ways to be thankful.

    I might try this starting next thursday.

  4. Wow, this one made me tear up. I guess because I can partially relate. I have scoliosis, too, but it’s mild (counting my blessings) and because it was so mild my doctor suggested no treatment. Then my dad (thank you Dad) took me to his chiropractor. I don’t get all the treatment I need to be fully functional and pain-free(because I can’t afford it), but at least I can get it when I truly need it. And yoga does help. At least I can do that for free.

    The image of children in a hospital also reminded me of my own hospital stay when I was a child (for kidney failure). I think experiences like that just affect you forever and can help you be a more grateful and sensitive person.

  5. I’m sorry for your pain, but so happy for the loving relationship you have with your family. I’ve had issues myself over the years – depression (my own), OCD and severe anxiety disorders (3 of my 4 childre), fibromyalgia… and you know what got me through? My husband and my kids… they’re what life’s all about.
    I know it must have been hard to write this post… I am thankful you did.

  6. Hi, I’m Cam! I am also an unschooling mama, and found your place here while browsing through this online community.

    I cannot imagine feeling that chronic pain. I am very fortunate, and this post reminded me to stay mindful of that blessing.

    I do work around special needs children, and you’re right, it changes your life to witness their strengths and endurance.

    Peace to you, friend. Be well…

  7. This post brought a tear to my eye and have found it incredibly hard to reply to. Know some of what you’re going through. Don’t have scoliosis but was bedridden/ housebound for about 4 years because of my back, have had a 3 disc discectomy and fusion and all that jazz and it still ain’t right, so kind of know a little of what you’re going though.
    Great, great thanks anyways 🙂

  8. I never read this last week. Your reasons to be thankful are amazing and inspiring in the light of this condition. Your final three phrases are so vital to your happiness. Thank you for being you.

  9. Hi, what a great post. You’re a strong lady with wonderful perspective and I wish you much joy and happiness.

    I’m the clinic director of the Egoscue Clinic in Austin, TX. I just wanted to tell you, it’s not too late to get some help. I’ve worked with scoliosis clients with 14” steel rods in their back. No, we can’t get them straight, but what we have to do is maximize their postural balance and integrity with the structure they currently have, and we’ve seen people get some impressive pain relief and functional improvement.

    Even though a good chunk of your spine is fused, it’s NOT TOO LATE to make things significantly better! I don’t know where you live, but if you’d like some help I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of the nearest Egoscue clinic. And I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have directly. Just email me at if I can be of service.


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