Saturday, December 8, 2012

Physical Therapy

Note: this isn't my MRI scan

I recently received the results of the second MRI I had as a result of the car accident on October 15.

Just to back track a bit - on April 15, 1998 I was hit by a NYC taxi. I was crossing the street on Third Avenue and 22nd Street, one block from the main building of my school (School of Visual Arts, SVA stand up!). I had the light in my favor to cross, so I did. A taxi was making a left turn from 22nd Street onto Third Avenue... and he hit me. Fast forward past neck and back braces, being bedridden for almost 2 months, the threat of not finishing my work in time to graduate (thank God my degree focus was on screenwriting and not production - you can type while on your back I learned), many years of chronic back and neck pain, tough pregnancy, having to train my son not to hug me too tight because at any moment he can throw my back out, being hit from behind (by my sister-in-law, in Virginia) and so on and so forth, and we come to October 15, 2012.

So according to Dr. K (he says to call him that because his Polish name is very difficult to pronounce... I tell him I have a difficult name too and make it a point to learn people's names correctly, he insists I call him Dr. K... ok, anyway...), Dr. K tells me a few weeks ago that my first MRI that my neck is herniated between the c-5 and c6 bones, and most recently in my lower back, the area between the 4th and 5th discs are bulging and the L-5 disc is herniated (and not only re-injured but in worse condition than made from the first time I was hit).

Luck for me at the time back then, and I guess now as well, I was someone who always worked out. And once I'd first been injured back in 1998 and went through intense physical therapy, that treatment stayed with me all these years. It was during that period of time that I was introduced to the exercise ball and exercise bands. I was already into fitness after being active in sports as a kid, and dancer in high school. Most recently, I'd become a runner, which proved to be one of the best exercises for my body and my mind. And then October 15, 2012 happened, and I haven't run since. 50% of the reason is because the therapist said not to, but since I'm stubborn and know my body (at least I think I do most of the time), I had plan to run anyway. I haven't. Depression and loneliness set in and my will to do it (and I have gotten dressed many times in an attempt to), hasn't been there (so you know I'm made that I let my mental shit take running away from me, or to be really real, I gave it away, like other things in life. Anyway...)

What Dr. K said Friday kinda made me mad. I've been wasting away (I'm sure it's not really as dramatic as I make it sound, but it's how I feel) for the past 2 months especially. I'm still kind of strong, but not as strong as I usually am, and I know this physical weakness has enhanced the emotional weakness that I'd been feeling. So I made the decision to get moving again. During a spirited conversation with my sister, who practically yelled "why won't they do back surgery now!!!????", I proclaimed that I would take over my own well being and not help the degeneration of my spine along.

Now, anyone who really knows me - like who's been to my apartment and seen my stuff - knows that I have what some have labelled a mini gym in my small apartment. Everything from a boxing heavy bag (as featured in a previous post) to a bike to ride the trails, to roller blades, hand weights, yoga stuff, Pilates stuff, workout stuff for the Wii, DVDs, CDs, books... yeah (they didn't call me gym rat for nothing). And on top of the supplements and nasty health concoctions that I got used to making and ingesting - there really is no excuse. But I did go out and get a couple new Yoga DVDs (one by Jillian Michaels called Yoga Meltdown (she scares me), which is for when I get to the point where I feel my stamina has increased, and Yoga for Stress Relief and Flexibility, something we all know I need like yesterday.

So this morning I woke up, depressed (which 'shame on me' since there's nothing depressing about waking up). Didn't go to the Parent Association meeting (don't wanna hear why the school's grade keeps going down, just not in the mood - talk about a hook and reel sale), and honestly had the intention to be productive, but not the will to. Shed some tears, finished last night's beer (I know, that was a really really bad thing to do), buried my head under several pillows, read through a novel, scolded myself, told myself I was great, told myself I wasn't so great, thought about Grandma, thought about if I had another child, if I was lucky to even live a long life, it still wouldn't be enough time to see my child with his or her children... basically buggin out this morning. And then I thought about my back pain and rolled myself - literally - out of the bed. Did a little cleaning, whipped out the Jasmin essential oil, lit up the diffuser, dusted off the yoga mat, dimmed the lights, threw on a sports bra and popped in the Yoga for Stress Relief and Flexibility DVD - on the surround sound system so I would feel like the heifer was in the room with me. I did 73 minutes of yoga (there are 2 programs, one for flexibility - ouch - and the other for stress relief), and I have to say that mojo woke my spirit up. I feel like parts of me that haven't gotten air for a long time, took a deep breath. It doesn't mean I'm out of the woods yet, physically or emotionally, but I did remind myself not just that I lived, but that I'm alive. There is still a lot of pain here, but some relief, and a bit of fire as well as these words hit me in the middle of a stretch that used to be easy to me: Success is the best revenge.

It's what I got for now. Sure 'do it for yourself' is a great one to, but to the thieves, the witches, peek-a-boo, haters and spiritual vampires out there, I just keep thinking 'get ready to hear 'check mate bitch' because SUCCESS IS THE BEST REVENGE.

Honorable mention for any back pain suffers out there: check out the book Treat Your Back Without Surgery: The Best Nonsurgical Alternatives for Eliminating Back and Neck Pain - I picked that little diddy up from one of Barnes and Nobles discount book racks a couple of years ago. It was a great purchase and the info is very helpful.

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