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.