So the last few weeks have gone by in a blur. On August 24th, I met with the surgeon and scheduled the eviction of the Gallbladder for the next week. Because I had to many large stones, he did not recommend trying other methods and I didn’t expect him to. Travis stayed home from work for the morning and the boys had a 1/2 day at school so we decided to take advantage of the family time for an impromptu lunch out at La Parilla. Afterwards, Travis wanted to run into Walmart to buy some new socks before his flight and the kids and I decided to grab a bag of chocolate chips and make some “Thank you” cookies for a neighbor. It was such a happy peaceful moment, splitting up in the store. Selah and Lucas walked with me to the other side just talking and enjoying our time together. As we were walking up the main aisle, I noticed there were 3 Walmart employees standing about 5 yards ahead of me and I wondered why they were looking our way. And then. BAM!
My shoe hit the water that they were talking about cleaning up. I heard my ankle pop and fell to the ground, wrenching my back. Seeing stars and white light. The pain radiated down my left leg immediately and I couldn’t stand up straight. And once again I found myself using those handy childbirth relaxation techniques. The employees came running saying they knew someone was going to fall on that. They were very nice and helpful. But I could hardly talk. I call Trav’s cell phone and had him come over from the other side of the store. The manager came over and brought one of those awful motorized carts and I just wanted to get out of there. Travis was stressed because he didn’t want to miss his flight. The employees were stressed because it was quite clearly their fault. Ugh..
So that’s how that happened. The pain has not stopped since. I waited a few days and then went to get Xrays. Then I waited it out a little more, hoping that it would let up as I had the gall bladder removal to get over. Still, I have constant pain shooting down my left leg. What used to be a once in a while issue is absolutely CONSTANT now. I can’t function normally. I can’t even sit or walk normally! My poor kids…
The next week I had surgery. A dear friend lined up meals for us for awhile which was AMAZING. My mother-in-law took the girls. My husband was my hero and my sister, Naomi, was my rock star! I felt so cared for. And so much pain. recovering from abdominal surgery AND having back pain. Man,oh man. Ugh.
Anyway, Today I finally went to a neurologist for my back. I had been up all night at a birth and could barely walk so he certainly was seeing a good sample of a bad day. I asked for referrals and this doctor’s name came up three times so I had high hopes. The first think he asked me was what I do part-time when he glanced at my form. I said I was a doula and took a breath, prepared to describe my work. He looked up and said, “Well that’s fantastic! I wish there were more of you!” Yes, I was absolutely in THE right place.
We sat down in his office first and he asked me several questions. Where is the pain? Lower back and shooting down both legs to my toes. How often does it affect you? Several days a week. But since I fell, it is constant. What is your daily life? Crazy. I have four kids. The whole time he was typing my answers. Then he asked me to describe the pain at it’s best and at it’s worst. Ugh. How long have you been in pain? Over six years....
Suddenly he stopped and looked up at me. He looked me straight in the eye and said in a quiet voice full of compassion, “This must have been so difficult for you and for such a long time!” I was stunned. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so validated.
Growing up in a family that minimizes pain, physical and emotional, I’ve been stuck in this cycle of “suck it up and keep moving”. I know it was born out of necessity. Out of survival. But it’s not right and it’s caused more issues than just being open and honest about our pain. Because when we’re just trying to survive it’s easier to turn down the road of being defensive about everything, guarded, doing whatever it takes to get through it and ignoring the smaller needs that are screaming out in desperation for our attention. The small signs of future disaster get ignored because they’re not a big deal at the moment. But they grow, and morph and they eat us up and destroy.
I can’t be like that anymore. I have to slow down and be aware of it all. I don’t want my children trapped in the same cycle of self preservation that overlooks the beauty of each day and the true needs of the moment. My example will affect them, just as others have influenced me.
So I have to admit that I’m in pain, I have to deal with it and not suffer through it, ignoring it. And the first step of acknowledging it is an MRI tomorrow. NOT looking forward to that. at. all.