January 2, 2007. Yes it was really that long ago. I can hardly believe it myself. My husband and I were taking down the Christmas decorations while our new baby of 3 months old was taking a nap. We had taken down these same decorations for the past 3 years and so I wasn’t really thinking that this tradition may change my life completely. But in that moment, when I was not thinking about my life changing, my life did change. Bending down to pick up an ornament that had rolled off the coffee table and onto the floor, everything became different.
Pain exploded through my body. I didn’t know where it came from, I didn’t know what caused it, all I knew was that I was going down. And down I went. My husband was in a panic, he got me up and onto the couch and called my mom. My mom was always the one he called when he was scared for me. She rushed over and gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine and some ice packs and said I was just going to have to wait until the spasm went away and I could move again. Well that didn’t seem like very much to go on! After a week of laying or sitting on the couch turned into a month, finally it was suggested I should see a doctor.
From what I could gather, there were two types of back doctors. There were the ones that treated you with physical therapy and medications called physiatrists (no, not psychiatrist, that is the head doctor), and there were the ones that were scalpel happy and just wanted to cut you open. In case you don’t know, those are called surgeons. Well since I wasn’t about to have anyone cutting me open, I saw a physiatrist. He gave me a prescription of medications and physical therapy which I took happily and started to notice a difference. I was getting stronger. I could take short walks with my mom. I could pick my daughter up easier. I was making progress. I was feeling better. Things were going to be normal again! There were some setbacks here and there, but I did get better. It took a long time, but by the time my daughter was 2 1/2 I was pretty much back to my normal self. I even did the P90X program for the entire three months and it made a huge difference in my body and the way I felt. I was so happy. My husband and I decided it was time for another baby!
Well…the first week of my pregnancy, my back went out. It went out through the entire nine months. But things were also different. The pain was never a giant spasm that wouldn’t let me move at all like before I got pregnant. I think it was at this point that I decided my problems were muscular, but I will go into more details about that in a later blog.
After giving birth to my son, things were really bad. I couldn’t walk across the room without my whole core going into a spasm. My abdominal muscles would fatigue so quickly, that I would have to lay down on the floor where ever I was in the house and rest for 10 minutes before getting up again and moving farther across the room. Can you imagine doing this with a 3 year old running around and a new baby that needed you all the time?
My daughter was in preschool which meant taking her and picking her up from school 2 days a week. Since I couldn’t carry my son all the way into my daughter’s school, I had to have someone come to my house every Tuesday and Thursday to stay with him.
Things were horrible in my life at this point. I was depressed, I was irritable. How was I supposed to be a good mom if I couldn’t move? I couldn’t even pick my 3 year old up anymore…and she was still so little. The only way I could cuddle with her was sitting or laying down. If she fell, I couldn’t pick her up to comfort her. To this day, I still feel guilty that I could not give my daughter everything that a mother should be able to give their child when they are that young.
I continually tried to do my therapy from after giving birth to my first child, but it was impossible. It usually just made things worse. So my doctor sent me to do aqua therapy. The way aqua therapy works is by allowing you to move and exercise your muscles without the total weight of you body and gravity weighing you down. This therapy was a God send for me. Just by walking laps in the pool and doing the few exercises they had given me, I was able to start walking in to get my daughter at school easier. By the end of the school year, I was actually able to carry my son with me. I was starting to get my hope back. But I also realized that the road to recovery this time was going to be much longer than the road from the first time.
I was so much weaker this time around. I couldn’t figure out why or how that had happened, but it had, so I had to deal with it. I continued doing the water therapy until they discharged me and gave me different exercises but not in the water. But this was just the beginning of my journey. Like I said, this road was much longer than the first time. I hope you stay tuned to find out more about my recovery and I hope you can use this blog to find some hope for yourself or someone you know.